Want spectacular views of our
Take a hike!
Abenaki Tower Walk
in Wolfeboro. Easy, gradual, ideal for families with small children;
1/3 mile, 20 minutes. The climb up to the top is steep, but the views of Lake Winnipesaukee and the Ossipee Mountains make it worthwhile. Trailhead:from the center of Wolfeboro at the bridge, go 8 miles north on Rte. 109.
Castle in the Clouds-Moultonboro
Forty-five miles of trails traverse the 5,500 acres of the Castle in the Clouds property, which has been owned and protected since 2002 by the Lakes Region Conservation Trust. This landmark property is part of the Ossipee Mountain ring dike, a circular formation of volcanic origin nine miles in diameter whose impenetrable terrain has discouraged roads and settlement for hundreds of years and has preserved a true wilderness habitat for a wide range of wildlife and vegetation, including several rare and endangered species. Seven of the Ossipee Mountains’ most prominent peaks are on the Castle property, including two of the most popular hiking destinations in the region — Mt. Shaw, the highest at 2,975 feet, with its panoramic view of the White Mountains to the north, and Bald Knob, with its spectacular view of Lake Winnipesaukee to the southwest. The trails, many of which were originally built by Tom Plant as carriage roads, are well maintained, marked, and mapped, with options for every hiking ability.
Parking for hikers is available off Route 171 by the information kiosk, just east of the Castle entrance and Severance Road. A picnic area overlooks Shannon Pond, and nature programs are offered on selected afternoons. The Lakes Region Conservation Trust is committed to making the Castle in the Clouds property a resource for everyone’s education and enjoyment.
Red Hill-Center Harbor
Elevation: 2029 feet
Take Route 25 to Center Harbor. In the center of town, take Bean Road for about two miles. Turn right onto a marked dirt road and follow it to the base.
Photo: Lakes Region Conservation Trust
Round-trip distance: 1.8 miles / Round-trip time: 1.5 hrs / Elevation: 1260'
If you want the best view of the Squam Lakes, this is your hike. The Old Bridle Path is the easiest route to the rock covered summit and follows an old cart route. Bring your camera, one look won't be enough! To get to the trailhead, follow Route 113 N from Little Squam in Holderness Village. The parking area is between Center Sandwich and Holderness just after the Rockywold and Deephaven camps. The trail entrance is across from the Mount Morgan Trail. Use the same parking. Look for signs to the "Old Bridle Path" as there is a privately owned trail nearby
Squam Lake Science Center-Holderness
On Route 3 / Route 113 in Holderness. There is hiking up Mount Fayal and several wooded trails at the Science Center including the Gephart Trail, Ectone Trail, and Davison Trail. Great views of Squam Lakes
Elevation 740 feet
This easy and invigorating climb will bring the hiker to a magnificent view of Lake Winnipesaukee from the top of Belknap Mountain. On a clear day, the Ossipee Mountain range rises from the shores of Winnipesaukee and Mount Washington, often snow capped, can be spotted in the distance.
To reach Belknap Mountain, turn off Route 11A at Gilford and drive south through Gilford Village. Stay on this road past the high school (road makes a sharp left turn) and you’ll begin your climb up Belknap Mountain Road. Follow the road up until you see signs and a parking area on the left.
Follow the well-marked trails, which begin on the right a few yards along a wooded road. This challenging trail rises steadily and takes the hiker past spruce trees. Eventually, you’ll see the summit a short distance beyond.
This is a four-season recreation area on New Hampshire Route 11 and is operated by Belknap County. It includes a major downhill ski area located on Mount Rowe and Gunstock Mountain, a 420 site campground, and a cross-country skiing area. A map of hiking and mountain biking trails is available at the base lodge.
Try-Me Trail - Gilford
This trail ascends Mount Rowe from the Gunstock parking area. Go right under the single chair lift, ascend the novice slope, pass around a fence and follow a ski trail to the top of the lift just below the summit. The Ridge Trail begin at the summit. In descending, take the ski trail to the left from the lift summit station.
Round-trip time: 2.5hrs / Elevation: 1000 feet
With an easy-to-find trail beginning off Route 11 in Alton Bay, this hike is a bit more challenging than Belknap Mountain, and offers equally spectacular views at its summit.
Near scenic look-offs of Lake Winnipesaukee on Route 11, about five miles north of Alton Bay a highway sign marks the parking lot for Mount Major. This is a very popular spot, even on a cloudy day, and you’ll know you’ve arrived when you see the many cars spilling from the parking lot during th summer months. Don’t be deterred by the thought that the trails will be crowded. There is room for all.
Beginning at a trail in the parking lot, follow the hiking path until it is joined by a logging road. Next you’ll see old stonewalls and an old cellar hole. Soon, t trail sign on a tree marks the way and the path grows steeper with ledges. You’ll be rewarded as views of Lake Winnipesaukee are spotted. The ledges, in places, will require some scrambling, so be sure to wear good hiking boots. At the top of Mount Major, a four-sided stone shelter cuts an unusual figure against the sky. The views are spectacular and certainly make the challenging hike worth the effort. You’ll see Alton Bay to the south and Wolfeboro to the north. Rattlesnake Island sits proudly in Lake Winnipesaukee.
This is the perfect place to be on a hot day. Due to its elevation, there are always refreshing cool breezes.
Round-trip distance: 3 miles / Round-trip time: 2.5 hrs / Elevation: 3121'
This hike is a moderate hike well worth the effort in summer or fall. The trails from the Canaan side are the easiest route to the summit. Reach this trail by traveling to Canaan on Route 4. Turn north on Route 118 and take a right on the road to Orange. Travel straight over a bridge, and then take a right at a fork in the road. This is Grafton Road and you’ll stay on this road for about a mile, when at another fork in the road, you’ll turn left to the entrance for Cardigan State Park. A mile road leads to the parking and picnic areas.
The marked West Ridge Trail starts just past the picnic table area and you’ll ascend at an easy pace. You’ll pass two springs, and after these, keep left past the South Ridge Trail to a side climb with outlooks to the right. Soon, you’ll rejoin the West Ridge Trail, and pass the Skyline Trail. Stay on the West Ridge Trail and pass a footbridge, two branch trails, and a shelter area. The route leads to beautiful views of the surrounding area
Round-trip distance: 4.4 miles / Round-trip time: 4 hours / Elevation: 3121'
This is an outstanding peak with excellent views. The trails leading from the Cardigan Mountain Lodge (AMC) in Alexandria range from moderate to difficult. The base area has a wonderful picnic spot, a pond, AMC lodge and camping. Bring a container for wild blueberrys in the late spring/summer! Most of the mountain is in a state reservation of over 5000 acres and is adjacent to the AMC's 1000 acre Cardigan Reservation occupying most of the "Shem Valley". To reach the trailhead: Follow Route 3A N out of Bristol. 2 miles from Bristol, turn left at the blinking light at the foot of Newfound Lake (West Shore Rd). Follow West Shore Rd a few miles and at the intersection where the "sign tree" is , go straight. (W Shore Rd turns right). Follow this road all the way into Alexandria Village, go through village and take right onto Cardigan Mountain Road. Cardigan Mountain Road is several miles long and intersects with Shem Valley Road which will take you into the Cardigan Lodge trail head.
: 4 miles / Round-trip time: 2.5 hours / Elevation: 1390 feet
Many people are unaware that they needn’t travel to the White Mountains for some spectacular hikes. The proof that moderate, enjoyable hikes are closer to the Lakes Region is personified by Stinson mountain.
To reach Stinson, drive west from Plymouth on Route 25 to Rumney. Turn north and drive through the village to Stinson Lake. Bear right near the outlet of the lake and drive uphill. Take a sharp left-hand turn and you’re in the parking lot.
An old road is the start of this trail, and should be followed for about 1⁄4 mil mile where the trail turns left into the woods and borders stone walls and an old cellar hole. If there has been enough rain, a tiny brook near the trail may be water-filled. This trail is winding, and you’ll be rewarded all at once when the trail curves right and suddenly you’re in the clearing with spectacular views of the Baker River Valley, and the Franconia and Sandwich Ranges.
Round-trip distance: 4 miles / Round-trip time: 3 hours
With breathtaking views of Newfound Lake, hiking the Sugarloaves is well worth the effort. To reach this hike, take Route 3A from Bristol towards Newfound Lake. Follow the signs to Wellington State Park, located on West Shore Road in Alexandria. Trailhead parking is just past Wellington State Park and is marked "Elwell Trail". You can also park at Wellington for a small fee. (A word of caution: Wellington, on a typical summer day, is an extremely popular park and beach so come early for good parking.)
The Sugarloaves trail begins directly across the road from the park entrance with a sign to the Elwell Trail. The trail is well marked and you’ll hike up hill through large hemlocks and then to a boulder with a yellow marker directing you to turn. After a short distance, you’ll see a sign at a junction marked Goose Pond. Continue straight on past some boulders. At this point, those pretty views of Newfound Lake begin. After climbing a bit more, you’ve reached Little Sugarloaf with wonderful views of Mount Cardigan, Newfound Lake and Big Sugarloaf.
Those who are tired can return on the same route to their car, and the hardier hiker can forge on ahead to Big Sugarloaf, with the promise of better views.
To reach Big Sugarloaf, follow the yellow markers at a steep downhill pace, pass under a granite rock shelf, past pines, birch, and hemlocks. Soon you’ll be climbing over more boulders and ledges, an then right at two yellow markers pointing the way up a narrow tunnel to the top of yet another ledge. After this climb, the trail turns right, then uphill and downhill, and finally reaches the end of the trail.