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Mt. Major – Central New Hampshire

Mt Major overlooking Lake Winnipausaukee in New Hampshire

I got out Sunday for a hike up Mt. Major (~2,100) in Southern New Hampshire about 90 miles north of my house. We had a pleasant 3 hour, 5 mile hike up to the summit and down on a snow-packed treadway with patches of ice near the rocky summit. Our hike included a few minor stream crossings and an encounter with a herd of snowmobiles, but was otherwise pleasant and quiet.

The weather today was overcast with temperatures in the mid-twenties, but visibility was good and we could see Mt. Washington, about 50 miles to the north, from Mt Major's exposed summit.

People climb this mountain because it has the best view overlooking Lake Winnipesaukee, the 6th largest lake in the United States. Winnipesaukee is huge: it is 28 miles long, 15 miles wide, and has a circumference of 63 miles. I've sea kayaked here a few times in summer and I whitewater kayak frequently on the Class 3/4 section of Winnipesaukee River, about 30 miles to the south in Tilton, NH.

Lake Winnipesaukee is an impressive site any time of year, but particularly so in winter, when it's frozen completely over and home to hundreds of ice fishing huts. Plus, if you look closely, you can see snow mobiles zipping over its surface like water bugs.

This was my second hike with the NE Hiker's and Adventurer's meetup group and I met some more kindred spirits who I hope to hike with in the coming weeks. Since my last hike up Welsh-Dickey, I've become an assistant organizer for the group and will be leading a few overnight backpacking trips for them on the Appalachian Trail in April, June, July and Augist.

To get to Mt. Major, drive to Alton Bay, NH and follow Rt 11 north past the scenic overlook on the shore of Lake Winnipesaukee. Shortly after that, there is a large parking lot on your left with trail heads that lead to several loop hikes.


  1. Well, this brings back memories. Mt. Major was my first New Hampshire hike back in 1987. I was a newly transferred UNH student and had joined the outing club to meet people. I'd hiked before, but only sporadically, and this trip was the beginning of what turned out to be a (healthy) addiction. Also made some good friends who I hiked, backpacked, canoed and skied with throughout college and beyond.

  2. That looks a great place. Sounds like you have a big year ahead of you with all those trips. I will look forward to the trip reports.

  3. I'm excited. I'll be hiking the more challenging parts of the AT.

    But my eye has been wandering over to Scotland and I'm thinking about a trip there in the next year or two. Maybe West Highland Way or the Cape Wrath Trail. I also want a rematch with An Teallach, where I messed up my knee about 15 year ago coming down (repetitive pounding). That was a great hike despite the fact that I had to nearly crawl back to the van.

  4. Awesome. Would love to get some advice on doing the hike safely in late Feb. Send me an email if you have time, would really really apprieciate it!

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