Mount Major, Lake Winnipesaukee NH

• 5-star hike
• 2.7 to 7.4 mile options
• Medium difficulty | Gain 1,090 to 1,970 feet
• Alton, NH | Lakes Region
• Driving Directions: Trailhead

Three people taking a break on top of Mount Major, looking out over Lake Winnipesaukee

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Just off Alton Bay at the South end of Lake Winnipesaukee is the rightfully popular hike to the summit of Mount Major, providing spectacular views across the whole lake region eleven hundred feet below. We've traced several summit hikes of Mount Major for you to choose from in ascending length and difficulty.

The easiest routes still involve a thousand foot of elevation gain, but the views are the best bang-per-foot that you'll likely find in New Hampshire. The shortest route is a 2.7 mile out-and-back on the Main Trail, but instead we'd recommend a clockwise loop beginning at Boulder Loop Trail which begins on the left side of the parking lot.

Main Trail, Main & Boulder Loop, Mt Major & Quarry Mtn Expand Map

For those who want a longer journey, you can tackle the East and West peaks of Quarry Mountain too. We suggest hiking the Quarry Mountains first, enjoying some solitude and saving the Mount Major crowds and lake views for later, once you have the sun at your back.

The Mount Major trails area mercifully light on rocks and tree roots compared with the typical New Hampshire trail. The Quarry Mountain route in particular includes a surprising amount of flat easy-going trail, though this can get boggy at times.

Main Trail 5★
2.7 mi, Out & back, Medium, Gain 1,090ft
Trailspotting Map at AllTrails

This is the most direct route up to Mount Major's peak. The route begins easy but soon you're stepping over and around small rocks on the trail everywhere. For the last half mile expect to have to climb up a number of small rock scrambles and across some exposed granite angles. Though this is the quickest and shortest path, we actually recommend the Loop trail described below.

Main & Boulder Loop 5★
2.9 mi, Loop, Medium, Gain 1,100ft
Trailspotting Maps at AllTrails

Only marginally longer than the Main Trail's out and back route, the terrain ascending the Boulder Loop Trail is much more forgiving. Fewer rocks will trouble your path, at least until you arrive at the final scramble up the mountain. Return on the Main Trail which offers more views of the lake on your descent.

Mt Major & Quarry Mtn 5★
7.4 mi, Loop, Medium, Gain 1,970ft
Trailspotting Map at AllTrails

If you're searching for a longer adventure, then this route combines the summit of Mount Major with a further five additional peaks, a varied array of terrain and a greater number of scenic views in all directions. Despite the additional mileage, this route is only around two thousand feet in total elevation gain and without a leg-burning climb in sight. We also mapped the short trail to Mount Anna, but since it has no discernable summit or elevation difference this will probably only be of interest to peak baggers.

The smoother Boulder Loop Trail vs Main Trail, though both have rock scrambles.

Major lake sights from the top of the mountain.

• Trailspotting on YouTube: Lake Views From Mt Major
• External Links: Official Website
• Public Maps at AllTrails: Main Trail, Major Loop
• Show on Map: Nearby Trails

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