Some my Favorite Local Hiking Trails
( take a compass - dress properly - leave an itinerary with family - visit the Fish and Game site for a hike safe card )
Castle In the Clouds in Moultonborough
Parking for hikers is located off Route 171 just a few yards from the park entrance. You will find access to Mt. Shaw, the highest at 2,975 feet, with its panoramic view of the White Mountains to the north and Bald Knob, with its spectacular view of Lake Winnipesaukee to the southwest. Another option drive up to the Castle and view the historic castle, enjoy a hike along the ridgeline and prior to leaving enjoy a great lunch at the restaurant.The property is owned and protected by the Lakes Region Conservation Trust since 2002.
Belknap Mountain in Gilford
This hiking trail is well marked and located just past the High School in Gilford Village. The hike is about 1.5 hours with moderate difficulty. The summit is 740 feet from the trailhead to the summits peak elevation of 2400 feet. Enjoy views of Lake Winnipesaukee and Mount Washington.
Mount Major in Alton
Mount Major has just surpassed Mt Monadnock as the most popular trail in NH. The trail is located just off Rt 11 just north of Alton Bay. The parking lot fills quickly but parking along Rt 11 takes up the overflow. From the summit, you’ll see Alton Bay to the south and Wolfeboro. Rattlesnake Island just below you on Lake Winnipesaukee. There are 3 trails going to the top going up the right side is the easiest with the center trail offering steep ledges. Excellent views from the ridgeline and great blueberry picking in July. The hike estimate is 2 to 2.5 hours. My wife and I used to race up and down this great mountain hike up to twice a week.
Stinson Mountain in Rumney
Just a short drive from Plymouth up Stinson Lake Road bear right onto Cross Road. Take a sharp left-hand turn and you’re in the parking lot. An old road is the start of this trail and should be followed for about 1⁄4 mil mile where the trail turns left into the woods and borders stone walls. About a 4-mile hike with an estimated time of 2.5 hours and you will be rewarded with spectacular views of the Baker River Valley, Franconia, and Sandwich Ranges.
Continue past Cross Road and you will find a variety of hiking trails along Stinson Lake Road.
Mount Cardigan in Canaan
The trails from the Canaan side are moderate trails, 3 miles with a round trip time of 2.5 hours. Enter Cardigan State Park to the trailhead. The West Ridge trail starts just past the picnic area.
Mount Cardigan in Alexandria
Take West Shore Rd in Bristol, go straight where the road takes a sharp right, go through Alexandria Village and a right onto Cardigan Mountain Rd to Shem Valley Road which will take you into the Cardigan Lodge trailhead. Round trip 4.4 miles/time 4 hours. Elevation 3100 feet with exceptional views. Moderate to difficult and stop for blueberries and views of Newfound Lake. June / July.
Rattlesnake Mountain in Holderness / Sandwich
The trailhead is located on Route 113 north from Little Squam in Holderness. The trail entrance is across from the Mount Morgan Trail. Use the same parking. Look for signs to the “Old Bridle Path” as there is a privately owned trail nearby. Don’t spread the word but if you want to avoid the crowd on the trail continue down the road to Metcalf Road and follow to where the lake meets the mountain. The trail moderate to difficult with a round trip of 1.8 miles / 1.5 hours. The Squam Lake views are spectacular. This has been a favorite family hike for us always rounding out the day with an additional hike around Squam Lakes Science Center viewing NH wildlife in natural settings.
Red Hill in Center Harbor
I have to admit this is my new favorite hike. From Rt 25 in Center Harbor take Bean Road to Sibley Road left onto Red Hill Road look for parking lot on the right. The elevation is 2000 feet with a fire tower at the top offering additional view opportunities that provide stunning panoramic views of both Lake Winnipesaukee, Squam Lake plus Belknap, Ossipee, and Squam Ranges! The trail is 1.7 mile / 2 hours moderate difficulty. The Red Hill Area is owned and stewarded by the Lakes Region Conservation Trust.
If you are looking for family hikes most of the local ski areas are open to hiking with the trails marked green for easy to black for difficult. This also offers you a great introduction to the local ski opportunities in the area.
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