Belknap Mountain Loop

Mountain:  Belknap Mtn. (2382')
Trails:  Red Trail, Blue Trail, Belknap Range Trail
Region:  NH - Central East  
Lakes Region, Belknap Range
Location:  Gilford, NH
Rating:  Moderate/Difficult  
Features:  Summit, views, fire tower, loop hike
Distance:  1.9 miles  
Elevation Gain:  720 feet (cumulative)  
Hiking Time:  Typical: 1:20  
Outing Duration:  Typical: 2:15  
Season:  Summer
Hike Date:  09/07/2009 (Monday)  
Last Updated:  09/17/2009  
Author:  Mary

Route Summary   

Belknap Mountain offers views of surrounding lakes and mountains from its fire tower. This hike follows Red Trail up and takes Blue Trail for the descent.

  • From the carriage road parking area, pick up Red Trail which starts in between Blue Trail and Green Trail.
  • Follow the steep Red Trail for 0.8 mile all the way up to the summit.
  • After enjoying the views, return via Blue Trail which leaves the summit in a northerly direction and is less steep than Red Trail. The first 0.5 mile of Blue Trail is also part of the Belknap Range Trail.
  • Descend on Blue Trail for 0.3 mile which will bring you to an outlook with views of Lake Winnipesaukee and the Sandwich Range.
  • Continue down Blue Trail for another 0.2 mile which will bring you to a junction with Saddle Trail and Overlook Trail.
  • Turn left to stay on Blue Trail and hike for another 0.6 mile to return to the carriage road parking lot.

Place         Split
Miles
     Total
Miles
Belknap Carriage Road parking area (1670') 0.0 0.0
Belknap Mtn. summit (2382') 0.8 0.8
Jct. Blue Trail / Saddle Trail / Overlook Trail (2000') 0.5 1.3
Belknap Carriage Road parking area (1670') 0.6 1.9


 




 

Trail map of hike route to Belknap Mountain in the Lakes Region of NH (map by Webmaster)


Trail Guide   

For this hike to Belknap Mountain, we made use of the carriage road and a car to give us a head start. We drove through the first gate (be watchful of gate hours) on the carriage road and parked at the second parking area farther up the mountain. We parked under an apple tree and walked up the stairs off the parking area and took a right to look for trailheads.

Our group followed Red Trail up. It was a clearly marked trail and a steady climb up. There weren't any ledges to deal with – just the usual roots and rocks you would expect to find on a trail. It was a breeze for my son of fourteen, and nephew, age ten. The hike up took about one hour without the rest in between us adults needed.

Once at the top you will need to climb up the fire-watch tower to get a view. There's a nice view all around you once you're up. We didn't run into other hikers on Red Trail; we had it all to ourselves. There were other families at the top when we arrived.

We left following Blue Trail. It was a bit longer and still had the woodsy feel with rocks and roots to navigate around, though not as many. We did see some families with small children using this trail to head up the mountain.

View from Belknap Mountain's fire tower (photo by Mary)
View from Belknap Mountain's fire tower (photo by Mary)
 

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NH - Central East


  Driving Directions   

The trailheads for Red and Blue Trails are located in Gilford, New Hampshire at the end of Belknap Carriage Road.

From the West:
  • From I-93, take Exit 20 (Rt. 3).
  • From the exit ramp, turn easterly on Rt. 3 North.
  • Follow Rt. 3 North for approximately 9.7 miles.
  • At the intersection with Rt. 11A, turn right onto Rt. 11A.
  • Follow Rt. 11A for 2.2 miles, then, in Gilford village, turn right onto Belknap Mountain Road.
  • Follow Belknap Mountain Road, bearing left after 0.8 mile, and right at 1.4 miles. After another 1.0 mile you will reach a fork.
  • Bear left at the fork onto Belknap Carriage Road.
  • Follow the road for 1.5 miles then park in the lot at the end of the road.
  • To find the trailhead for Red Trail (and Blue and Green Trails), walk up the road to the fire warden's garage.

From the Southeast:
  • From Rt. 16 in Rochester, follow Rt. 11 north to the junction with Rt. 11A in West Alton.
  • Turn left onto Rt. 11A and follow the road for approximately 7.7 miles, then, in Gilford village, turn left onto Belknap Mountain Road.
  • Follow Belknap Mountain Road, bearing left after 0.8 mile, and right at 1.4 miles. After another 1.0 mile you will reach a fork.
  • Bear left at the fork onto Belknap Carriage Road.
  • Follow the road for 1.5 miles then park in the lot at the end of the road.
  • To find the trailhead for Red Trail (and Blue and Green Trails), walk up the road to the fire warden's garage.

Access Restrictions:
  • The gate on Belknap Carriage Road (0.3 mile in from Belknap Mountain Road) is locked from 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 a.m. in the summer and fall; and always locked in the winter.
  • There is a small parking area before the gate. Parking here and walking up the remainder of the carriage road would add 1.2 miles, each way, to your hike.
  • Parking overnight is not allowed.

More Belknap Mtn. Trail Reports   

 


 

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