Thursday, September 13, 2012


On a crystal-clear day when the Mt. Washington Observatory was listing 130-mile visibility, Mt. Moosilauke was calling. This is the best kind of day for viewing from the Moose, since most of the vistas are fairly far away. It was likely it would be clear enough to see the Adirondacks.

After parking on the side of Ravine Lodge Rd., I dropped down to the front of the lodge for a look at the South Peak (L, my first destination) and East Peak (R) of Moosilauke.  

I hiked along the Gorge Brook Trail to where it splits off from the Snapper Trail on its new relocation, then continued ahead on the Snapper Trail, which ascends at mellow grades through attractive woods.

Not far from its upper end at the Carriage Road, the Snapper Trail crosses its former ski-trail route, which was much steeper.

 The rest of the climb towards South Peak would be on the historic Carriage Road, which was built in

The upper part of the Carriage Road is open to the sun and sky, with patches of goldenrod and other flowers in places. It's a long steady climb, and can be hot in the sun.

In this section there are occasional views to the east and south, if you look back.

Approaching the ridge.

This boulder wall is intended to prevent snowmobiles from accessing the alpine summit ridge.

The Carriage Road meets the Glencliff Trail at the ridgecrest. A few steps down Glencliff, a side trail leaves for the South Peak.

,It passes through a neat mossy col.

The bare top of South Peak is an excellent viewpoint, with a unique look at the main summit of Moosilauke. Well worth the short side trip.There was an invigorating breeze up there on this fall-like day. (Note: hikers should stay within the open rocky area at the top to protect alpine vegetation.)

The views to the south and west were expansive, to say the least. Here you see Webster Slide Mountain (with the cliff face) in front, then Lake Tarleton, Piermont Mtn., and the distant Killington Range in Vermont.

Looking into Slide Brook ravine on the west side of the mountain.

The view east from South Peak to the high peaks of the Whites.

My favorite view from South Peak - which you can't get from the main summit - looks down to the beaver ponds in Tunnel Brook Notch and the slides on Mt. Clough. Behind Clough are Jeffers, Sugarloaf and Black Mountains.

South Peak is a nice place to hang out for a while. I had it to myself for nearly all of my hour-plus stay.

The Carriage Road heading north to the main peak is mostly an easy stroll.

An outlook on the right gives a close-up of the summit...

...and a wide view over the Gorge Brook valley, with the Ravine Lodge visible on the floor.

The last quarter mile, marked by large cairns, is mostly in the open.

Looking back at South Peak, with the hump of "Middle Peak" on the R.

Early fall color on the summit "lawn." (Though it looks tempting to walk on the "lawn," hikers should stay on the marked and defined trails to protect the fragile alpine vegetation.)

Vast western horizons. It was clear enough today to see the Adirondack High Peaks: Giant (its slides visible through binoculars), Rocky Peak Ridge, Algonquin, Gothics, Marcy and Dix. On 9/11/01, with weather very similar to today, Carol and I climbed Giant and looked east to Moosilauke in the distance. We had heard some preliminary reports about a plane crash in NYC on the way to the trailhead, but not until we came down after our hike did we find out that the world had changed...

Summit signs with high peaks in the distance. It was late afternoon and pretty quiet at the top.

Looking down the broad, gentle east shoulder.

Moosilauke has a fine view of Franconia Ridge.

Hikers heading down the Benton Trail along the open north ridge.

Looking south to Mt. Kineo (L) and Carr Mtn. (R).

Summit benchmark placed by the U.S. Coast & Geodetic Survey, in a ledge a few yards south of the high point.

I had a chat with southbound thru-hiker "Teddy Bear," who was walking home to Georgia.

The next AT section southbound will seem easy after tramping through the Whites.

Heading down the Gorge Brook Trail along the east shoulder, with fine views NE across the sedgy lawn.

Looking back at the summit rocks.

South Peak and beyond.

A Black Hawk rises out of the valley.

Persistently rocky footing on the Gorge Brook Trail. We're in the mountains, after all.

Lower viewpoint on Gorge Brook Trail, with Carr Mtn. taking center stage.

Evenng sun on Ravine Lodge. What a neat place.

A collection of trail signs - some retired, some never used - inside the Lodge. I picked up a new Dartmouth-produced map of Moosilauke that I hadn't seen before, a great way to end a spectacular day on the Moose.


  1. Great story that wove photos and words into a flawless fabric. 'Twas almost as good as being on the hike itself. Classic. Thanks.

    I especially liked the Blackhawk rising!! I had missed that on my Moosilauke hike last month.

  2. Thank you for your comment - glad you enjoyed it. The Black Hawk rising was almost surreal, like a scene from a movie.


  3. Another great report, Steve. Moosilauke is one of my favorites, although I've only climbed it once, via the the Beaver Brook Trail. The rest of the hiking party didn't want to descend that difficult trail, so they went down Gorge Brook and I went back down BBT and drove around to Ravine Lodge to pick them up, and took a few minutes to check out the Lodge; it really is a cool place. I was tempted to descend Gorge Brook with them and hitch back to the car, but I was glad I didn't do that once I saw how far apart the two trailheads are. I need to go back and hike the route that you described in this report. It looks spectacular.

    1. Thanks, BC! The Moose is certainly one of my two or three favorite mountains. The loop that includes South Peak is great. Beaver Brook is definitely the toughest way up (and down). That probably would have been a tough hitch between those two trailheads!


  4. Wicked awesome blog and blog post. Moosilauke is one of my favorite peaks in the whites. Thanks for sharing.