Mt. Major via Brook Trail

Mountain:  Mt. Major (1786')
Trails:  Brook Trail, Mount Major Trail, Major-Straightback Link
Region:  NH - Central East  
Lakes Region, Belknap Range
Location:  Alton, NH
Rating:  Moderate  
Features:  Summit, views, brook, ledges
Distance:  4.8 miles  
Elevation Gain:  1150 feet (cumulative)  
Hiking Time:  Actual: 3:33   Typical: 3:00  
Outing Duration:  Typical: 4:30  
Season:  Spring
Hike Date:  03/28/2009 (Saturday)  
Last Updated:  09/06/2009  
Weather:  Snow, ice, high 30s, clear day with blue skies
Author:  Tom Hudson
Companions:  12 people, 3 dogs

Views of Lake Winnipesaukee from the summit of Mt. Major (photo by Tom Hudson)

Route Summary   

This is an out-and-back hike up to Mount Major where there are fantastic views of Lake Winnipesaukee. The ascent is via Mount Major Trail, Brook Trail, and Major-Straightback Link.

  • Start on Mount Major Trail which is at the back of the parking lot to the right (as opposed to the trailhead for Boulder Loop Trail which is at the left).
  • Follow the trail which will split and rejoin and after 0.7 mile, you will reach a junction where Mount Major Trail (blazed in blue) goes sharply left while Brook Trail (blazed in yellow) continues straight ahead.
  • At this junction, go straight to follow Brook Trail.
  • Follow Brook Trail for 1.2 miles where it will end upong meeting Major-Straightback Link.
  • To reach the summit, bear left/straight at this junction onto the blue-blazed Major-Straightback Link and continue for 0.5 mile, passing a junction with Beaver Pond Trail on the right en route.
  • After enjoying the views, retrace your steps following the same route. From the summit, pick up the trail to the west (there are trails that descend off the mountain in three different directions). Remember on the way down to bear right at the two junctions reached in the first 0.5 mile; and then go straight downhill when you reach the junction with Mount Major Trail.

Place         Split
Parking lot (650') 0.0 0.0 0:00
Mt. Major summit (1786') 2.4 2.4
Parking lot (650') 2.4 4.8 3:33



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

Trail Guide   

This was a great hike to Mount Major and was accompanied by great weather and excellent company. I did this hike with a total of 12 people (and 3 dogs). Three of the folks were children all under 10 years of age and they loved it!

Trail conditions were not bad, however there was a great amount of mud, snow up to our knees at times and several brooks of running water. A good pair of waterproof boots kept my feet dry and warm. It would have been helpful to have a good traction system for my boots at times due to the ice on some of the steeper slopes.

Regardless, it was a safe trip and we all made it to the summit. The views were spectacular overlooking the frozen Lake Winnipesaukee and surrounding areas.

Trail markers were highly visible on the way up and on the way down, which provided many opportunities to improve our map reading skills by confirming our current location. This was the first hike of spring and for most of us the first hike in a very long time. It was definitely worth it and I'm looking forward to the next trip out.

Views from the summit of Mt. Major (photo by Tom Hudson)

I'm always looking for ways to improve my experience for the next adventure. Therefore here are the lessons we walked away with from this hike:

  • Purchase some gaiters. While waterproof boots worked, there were times that the mud was deep and the snow came up to our knees.
  • On a short hike like this, it would have been nice to have some dried fruit or something to munch on rather than just the Cliff bars.
  • The base layer was great–need to purchase that for the entire family for future hikes.
  • Trekking poles might have been nice with the deep snow and ice as we came down the mountain.
  • A traction system for our boots to assist on the ice-covered slopes would have been a big help.

Views of Lake Winnipesaukee from the summit of Mt. Major (photo by Tom Hudson)



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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