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Mt. Major

Length: 3.0 miles out-and-back

Difficulty (click for info): Moderate

Elevation Gain: 1150 feet

Rating (click for info): 7/10

Elevation: 1786'

Prominence: 196'

Best Time to Visit:
Hike on a calm, clear day and avoid any time when the trail may be icy.

Driving Directions:
Trailhead and parking area are located on Rt. 11 in Alton, NH, 5.4 miles north of Rt. 140.

About the Hike:
Mt. Major is the easternmost peak in the Belknap Range, and also the closest to Lake Winnipesaukee. Its panoramic view of Lake Winnipesaukee is one of the best, and it is accessible via a very short, though steep and rocky, hike.

The Mt. Major Trail begins in the northwest corner of the parking area; it is to the right of Brook Trail. The trail starts as a wide dirt path running along the base of the mountain. It begins climbing initially, but flattens out after awhile, reaching a junction in 0.7 miles. Turn left, uphill, onto Mt. Major Trail as Brook Trail continues ahead on the wide road. The trail quickly becomes steep and rocky. After a steep, ledgy, half-mile climb, the trail forks. The right fork (the main trail) negotiates several steep rock scrambles, while the left fork (Ledge Detour) avoids them. Both paths rejoin after 0.1 miles. The trail soon emerges from the forest and onto open rock, where views appear. The summit is reached in 0.1 miles. From the summit, there are very wide and close-up views of Lake Winnipesaukee. To the east are Copple Crown Mountain and the Moose Mountains. To the north are is the Ossipee Range. The White Mountains are seen to the left of the Ossipees. There are also a few mountains visible behind the lake to the north and east, most prominently, the Osippee Range. To the west, the distant view is blocked by nearby Straightback Mountain and Quarry Mountain. Belknap Mountain, the highpoint of the range, pokes out between these two. The area around the summit itself is fairly large and provides many places to sit and enjoy the view. The remains of an old fire lookout stands at the highest point.

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