Mt. Major via Boulder Loop and Brook Trails

Mountain:  Mt. Major (1786')
Trails:  Boulder Loop Trail, Major-Straightback Link, Brook Trail, Mount Major Trail
Region:  NH - Central East  
Lakes Region, Belknap Range
Location:  Alton, NH
Rating:  Moderate  
Features:  Summit, views, night hike, fireworks, brook, ledges, loop hike
Distance:  4.0 miles  
Elevation Gain:  1150 feet (cumulative)  
Hiking Time:  Actual: 2:00   Typical: 2:40  
Outing Duration:  Typical: 4:00  
Season:  Summer
Hike Date:  07/01/2000 (Saturday)  
Last Updated:  09/06/2009  
Weather:  Clear
Author:  Webmaster
Companions:  SDHrs: Diane, Randall, Alice, Rachel B., Greg C., Greg B., Roger A., Teddy (a dog), Ed T., Dennis M., Maureen, Anne H., Richard S., Susan and her 3 daughters

Route Summary   

This is a loop hike up to Mount Major where there are fantastic views of Lake Winnipesaukee. The hike ascends via Boulder Loop Trail and descends on Major-Straightback Link, Brook Trail, and Mount Major Trail.

  • From the back, left-hand corner of the parking lot, get onto Boulder Loop Trail which is also a snowmobile trail at the beginning and is signed as "Trail E" at the parking lot. The trail will almost immediately cross two wooden bridges and then turn right where a woods road continues straight.
  • After 0.4 mile, turn right to stay on Boulder Loop Trail while Beaver Pond Trail diverges to the left.
  • Boulder Loop Trail climbs easily at first then gets steeper as it winds amongst ledge and boulders. After a final steep pitch, you will reach semi-open ledges (where the trail curves to the left) with views and much easier inclines.
  • After a total of 1.6 miles on Boulder Loop Trail, you will reach the summit of Mount Major.

  • After enjoying the open summit, descend by walking away from the view in a westerly direction, at first across open rock, to pick up Major-Straightback Link which is blazed in blue (there are trails that descend off the mountain in three different directions).
  • Walk for 0.5 mile, first passing by a junction on the left with Beaver Pond Trail, and then arriving at the junction with Brook Trail. Bear right/straight here to pick up Brook Trail which is blazed in yellow while Major-Straightback Link continues to the left.
  • Descend for 1.2 miles at which point Brook Trail ends upon meeting Mount Major Trail which goes both straight and right. Keep going straight to take Mount Major Trail downhill.
  • After 0.7 mile on Mount Major Trail, you will reach the parking lot that you started from. This lower section of Mount Major Trail splits but you can take either branch down as they will later rejoin.

Place         Split
Parking lot (650') 0.0 0.0 0:00 0:00
Mt. Major summit (1786') 1.6 1.6 1:00 1:00
Parking lot (650') 2.4 4.0 1:00 2:00



Trail map of hike route to Mount Major (map by Webmaster)

Trail Guide   

Champagne, chocolate, fireworks, and pleasant, cool breezes were the rewards for the seventeen SDHrs who climbed Mount Major Saturday night. We ascended Boulder Loop Trail at dusk and managed to make it to the top without having to rely too much on flashlights. The views were an entirely different flavor from when we enjoyed them in the daylight a couple months ago–but they were still breathtaking. Lake Winnipesaukee was inky black with lights dotting the shoreline. We saw the Mount Washington cruise boat gliding across the surface along with smaller boats that looked to be no larger than fireflies.

Dennis started passing around the champagne almost as soon as we reached the top, Rachel was handing out chocolate, and Greg C. was sharing his red lights so we wouldn't ruin our night vision by exposing ourselves to the harsh white glare of regular flashlights. Best of all, we weren't bothered by bugs all night long!

There were fireworks in all directions, some fairly close and others waaaay out on the horizon, just barely visible. Some in the group were perched atop the remains of the stone hut walls to get a better vantage point so that they could watch several fireworks displays at once. Greg B. discovered the roof to the hut a couple of months ago in the woods–it lies a short distance below the summit. This is the second roof to blow off the structure, despite attempts to securely bolt it to the walls.

We hiked down via the Brook Trail beneath a dark sky with endless, brilliant stars. The descent definitely required the use of flashlights. We saw a luna moth hanging out on the trail. This nocturnal creature is larger than a typical butterfly and is a neat, pale green color. Our leader, Rachel, did a great job of keeping track of everybody so we made it back to the parking area with the same number of people we started with.


NH - Central East

  Driving Directions   

The parking lot and trailheads for Mount Major are located in Alton, New Hampshire on Rt. 11, 4.2 miles north of Alton Bay.

Heading north, the parking lot turn-off is located shortly after a scenic vista and is on the left-hand side of the road.

Heading south, the parking lot turn-off is located a couple miles after passing the junction with Rt. 11A on the right-hand side of the road.

More Mt. Major Trail Reports   



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