Castle in the Clouds is always a good choice for hiking, especially if you want to just spend a couple hours in the woods. We did the brook walk which follows along a brook with several waterfalls. The falls were partly frozen but still flowing which is always the best time to catch them in the winter months.
After enjoying this very picturesque trail we followed the auto road up towards the castle grounds. Along the way we came upon a barred owl just above our heads. He flew down into the woods where I was able to walk down and get some good pictures of him. Always exciting to see an owl up close!
Once up at the Castle we were treated to the sun breaking through the clouds over Lake Winnipesaukee with the Belknap mountains in the background. It was so beautiful!
Trails were mostly hard packed, we used micro spikes and poles and had some minor post-holing here-and-there. Good to have the traction and poles on some of the steep bankings that have steep drop offs that you don't want to fall down!