Mt. Major via Mount Major and Brook Trails

Mountain:  Mt. Major (1786')
Trails:  Mount Major Trail, Major-Straightback Link, Brook Trail
Region:  NH - Central East  
Lakes Region, Belknap Range
Location:  Alton, NH
Rating:  Moderate  
Features:  Summit, views, brook, ledges, loop hike
Distance:  4.1 miles  
Elevation Gain:  1150 feet (cumulative)  
Hiking Time:  Typical: 2:35  
Outing Duration:  Typical: 4:00  
Season:  Summer
Hike Date:  08/16/2009 (Sunday)  
Last Updated:  09/06/2009  
Weather:  90 degrees
Author:  Mary

Route Summary   

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

  • 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, take a sharp left to stay on Mount Major Trail (blazed in blue) while Brook Trail (blazed in yellow) continues straight ahead.
  • Hike for another 1.0 mile to reach the summit with the trail again splitting and rejoining along the way.

  • After enjoying the open summit, head off to the west (when coming up Mount Major Trail, you would turn right to pick up this route), at first across open rock, to pick up Major-Straightback Link which is blazed in blue.
  • 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 continue on Brook Trail which is blazed in yellow while Major-Straightback Link continues to the left.
  • Descend for 1.2 miles where Brook Trail ends upon meeting the junction with Mount Major Trail on the right that you encountered on the way up. Keep going straight to take Mount Major Trail downhill (Mount Major Trail goes both straight and right at this point).
  • 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
Mt. Major summit (1786') 1.7 1.7
Parking lot (650') 2.4 4.1



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

Trail Guide   

It was a beautiful 90-degree day for this loop hike up to Mount Major. We followed the blue trail (Mount Major Trail) which starts at the back of the parking lot to the right, opposite the entrance road. It was a rocky trail rising at a steady incline. The blue trail is well marked but be on the lookout for a junction (after 0.7 mile) where the blue-blazed Mount Major Trail turns left and the easier, yellow-blazed Brook Trail goes straight.

We turned left to tackle the steeper, but shorter, Mount Major Trail. There are some granite ledges to deal with as you near the top. There was a nice view after the first rocky ledge – it was a nice place to stop for a break... but we keep going to reach the summit.

It was well worth the hike as it was a clear day with great views at the top. We even saw the Mount Washington boat going by on Lake Winnipesaukee.

We took the yellow trail (Brook Trail) down, which was much more family friendly for the younger ones although there were still some rocks and roots to contend with and we had to cross a brook a couple times hopping on some rocks. But this was much easier even though it is a more roundabout route.

Lake Winnipesaukee as seen from the summit of Mt. Major (photo by Mary)
Lake Winnipesaukee as seen from the summit of Mt. Major (photo by Mary)


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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