Mount Chocorua bears the name of Sokosis Chief Chocorua who lived in the early 1700’s. While all of the stories agree that he met his tragic death on the mountain, they differ as to how. Some have him falling from a high rock, while others have him being shot by white men after he uttered a curse on the valley below him.
The Champney Falls Trail is named for Benjamin Champney, pioneer White Mountain Artist (1817-1907). The Falls, though fantastic to view in the spring of the year, are meager in the dry seasons.
The Bee Line Trail was an old logging road which the locals continued to use as a means to get from the Bolles Trail to the summit after the loggers left the area. The Bolles Trail was a road that ran between Tamworth and the Albany Intervale, through the valley between Chocorua and Mt. Paugus. Tradition says that the first white person who ever passed through these mountains was Mother Head, who upon learning of sickness and distress in the Intervale, put on her Native American snow shoes and all alone made her way through the forest to offer her help. The road was destroyed by a hurricane and later re-blazed as a trail by Frank Bolles. Since the hurricane, the Bolles Trail is sometimes referred to as the Lost Trail.
The Chocorua Mountain Road (now the Liberty Trail) was the shortest and most popular road to the summit of Mt. Chocorua and the Peak House. In 1892, David Knowles and Newell Forrest bought the road/path and rights to the Halfway House, a former logging camp, from Jim (Dutch) Liberty, who had improved the path from the southwest in 1887 and incorporated it with the state of New Hampshire in 1889. They replaced Liberty’s Peak House—two tents surrounded by a stone wall—with a three story structure which served as a hotel, obtained a new charter from the state, and spent $400 to improve the route.
At the Halfway House pedestrians had to pay a toll of $.25 each (about $30 by today’s standards). Some evidence of the Halfway House may still be found. The views from the Peak House explain why it was so popular and why people were willing to pay $13.00 per week for lodging ($1300 at today’s dollar value). In 1915, the Peak House was blown off the mountain. A cabin was constructed on the Peak House site in 1924 by the Chocorua Mountain Club.
That cabin lasted until 1932 when winds blew the roof off. The Forest Service replaced it in 1934 with an enclosed cabin (Jim Liberty Cabin) with six bunk beds and large chains to hold the roof in place.
The Hammond Trail is perhaps the oldest trail on the mountain. It is said Native Americans used this trail prior to the coming of the white men. The trail takes its name from the Hammond Farm situated at the base of the trail.
Mt. Chocorua has a vast history with many more tribal names, legends, and lore. Writings such as “Albany’s Recollections” by A. Bernard Perry, “Passaconaway in the White Mountains” by Charles Edward Beals, Jr., and “Mount Chocorua, A Guide and History” by Steven D. Smith will sweep you into the past.