South Moat Mtn. from Dugway Road

Mountain:  South Moat Mtn. (2770')
Trail:  Moat Mountain Trail
Region:  NH - Central East  
White Mountain National Forest, Moat Region
Location:  Albany, NH
Rating:  Moderate/Difficult  
Features:  Summit, views
Distance:  5.4 miles  
Elevation Gain:  2200 feet (cumulative)  
Hiking Time:  Actual: 3:45   Typical: 3:50  
Outing Duration:  Typical: 5:15  
Season:  Winter
Hike Date:  02/28/2009 (Saturday)  
Weather:  Clear, 30 degrees
Author:  Sabru

On the summit of South Moat Mountain (photo by Sabru)


Route Summary   

South Moat Mountain provides 360-degree views from its ledgy summit. This hike approaches the peak from the south via Moat Mountain Trail and returns by the same route.

  • Start at the Moat Mountain Trailhead on Dugway Road in Albany.
  • Follow Moat Mountain Trail for 2.7 miles to the summit of South Moat.
  • If you wish to extend this hike, continue on Moat Mountain Trail for another 0.6 mile to reach Middle Moat Mountain.
  • Retrace your footsteps to return, heading off the summit(s) in a southerly direction.

Place         Split
Miles
     Total
Miles
     Split
Time
     Total
Time
    
Moat Mountain Trailhead on Dugway Rd. (650') 0.0 0.0 0:00 0:00
South Moat Mtn. summit (2770') 2.7 2.7 2:30 2:30
Moat Mountain Trailhead on Dugway Rd. (650') 2.7 5.4 1:15 3:45

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Trail map of hike route to South Moat Mountain (map by Webmaster)


Trail Guide   

Well, it was time for me and the boys to get out for a quick getaway and winter hike in the wonderful White Mountains. It was the last weekend of February and the weather was picture perfect; 30 degrees and clear blue skies with only a subtle breeze.

View from Moat Mountain Trail (photo by Sabru) I recommended South and Middle Moat Mountain for our snowshoe hike. After I described the trail and showed my buddies the map, we were all hands in. This should be a great half-day hike at any time of the year, but in the winter it is a real winner.

The southern end of the Moat Mountain Trailhead was easy to find off Dugway road, just about 15 minutes northwest of Conway, New Hampshire. The parking area is on the north side of Dugway road.

The trail winds naturally through pine and hardwood forests with easy grades for the first mile. The snow was deep, but the trail was lightly packed down, well marked and perfect for snowshoes with yellow blazes to help guide the way. The trail begins to climb more moderately about 1.5 miles in and the views come with each new turnout.

The blazes do become fewer and far between, but the tracks from previous hikers, a good map and a scent for the trail will keep you going in the right direction, which is north towards the summits. The trail becomes more steep and open with spectacular views east and west as you get within striking distance of the summit. There is a small false summit about 0.3 mile from South Moat that is mostly bald with views in many directions. Once you get over this hump, the summit of South Moat is straight ahead. It's a bit steep with maximum exposure directly to the east, so watch your step and footing. There were a few icy patches to keep it interesting, but snowshoes with toe and heel cleats worked very well.

The summit was very impressive with rock and ledge and 360-degree views. The best being southwest to Chocorua and northeast towards Washington. It took us about 2.5 hours to get to South Moat and we decided not to continue on to Middle Moat. This was due to the fact that South Moat was just too cool and we wanted to hang there as long as we could.

Going down in snowshoes took us about half the time, as we had gravity on our side. This is now one of my favorite half-day hikes in the Whites and I look forward to doing this in the spring, summer or fall.

Sabru and views on the summit of South Moat Mountain (photo by Sabru)

 
 


NH - Central East

  Driving Directions   

The southern terminus of the Moat Mountain Trailhead is located in Albany, New Hampshire, about 15 minutes northwest of Conway village.

From Rt. 16 in Conway:
  • In Conway village, turn north onto Washington Street which is directly opposite the junction for Rt. 153 (a left-hand turn following Rt. 16 North; a right-hand turn when traveling south).
  • After 0.2 mile, bear left onto West Side Road.
  • Follow West Side Road for 0.7 mile, then bear left again (onto Still Road).
  • When that road ends after 0.6 mile, turn left onto Passaconaway Road which becomes Dugway Road.
  • Travel 2.2 miles on Passaconaway/Dugway Road, and then turn right into the Moat Mountain parking lot.

Heading east on Rt. 112:
  • Note that the western end of Dugway Road is closed from November to May so the directions from Rt. 16 (see above) must be used for winter access.
  • Travel on Rt. 112 East (Kancamagus Highway) for about 6 miles past the intersection with Bear Notch Road which will be on your left. Or for about 2.8 miles past Rocky Gorge Scenic Area which will also be on your left.
  • Following a sign for Covered Bridge Campground, turn left onto Dugway Road.
  • Travel on Dugway Road for 3.7 miles and, then turn left into the Moat Mountain parking lot.

Heading west on Rt. 112:
  • Note that the western end of Dugway Road is closed from November to May so the directions from Rt. 16 (see above) must be used for winter access.
  • Travel on Rt. 112 West (Kancamagus Highway) for about 6 miles from the junction of Routes 112 and 16 in Conway.
  • Following a sign for Covered Bridge Campground, turn right onto Dugway Road.
  • Travel on Dugway Road for 3.7 miles and, then turn left into the Moat Mountain parking lot.

Other Notes   

A parking permit is required to park at White Mountain National Forest trailheads and parking areas. You can purchase a WMNF permit from the forest service and other vendors and can also pay-by-the-day using self-service kiosks located in many parking areas.

For more information on parking passes please refer to the White Mountain National Forest website.

Rates:
  • $3 per day
  • $5 for a week-long pass
  • $20 for a year-long pass
  • $25 for two year-long passes (one household/two cars)

More Moat Mountain Trail Reports   

 
 

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