Thursday, February 13, 2014


On a gorgeous winter day with abundant sunshine, I headed down to the scenic Breezy Point trailhead for a climb up the Moosilauke Carriage Road to the open South Peak (4523 ft.) of Mount Moosilauke. South Peak is a great spot that offers a different perspective than the main summit, especially looking down into Tunnel Brook Notch.

The temperature was in the teens by the time I started late morning from the end of plowing on Breezy Point Rd. From here I had a good view up to my objective. There were no other cars here - surprising on such a fine day.

I strapped on my snowshoes and walked the short distance to the trail sign. The Carriage Road was originally built in 1858 as a bridle path. In 1870 the Moosilauke Mountain Road Co. was formed and the path was upgraded to a carriage road. In 1881 the toll for use of the road was two cents for pedestrians, three cents for horseback riders, and five cents for carriage passengers.

This foundation, most likely part of Merrill's Mountain House, is tucked into the woods beyond the bridge over Merrill Brook. Merrill's was one of two inns that welcomed guests to Breezy Point in the late 1800s and early 1900s.

Bright sun in the hardwoods along the lower Carriage Road.

Bridge over Big Brook, named for a DOC shelter once located here.

The brook was midwinter-buried.

The upper junction with the Hurricane Trail.

Hurricane doesn't see much use in winter. An old ski track headed off towards Ravine Lodge.

The hardwood forest is expansive in the section above the Hurricane junction.

Birch and conifer forest leading up to the Snapper Trail junction. The only tracks in the couple inches of new snow were made by critters.

No recent human-made tracks coming up from Snapper, either.

Typical snowy scene along the Carriage Road.

Early views looking back to the SE.

At a sharp corner at about 4000 ft., I found the roof of the collapsed Wadchu Shelter a short distance off in the woods. It was built in 1935 at the top of the legendary Hell's Highway ski trail and was flattened by the 1938 hurricane. Its name is an Abenaki word for "mountain." (Thanks to Allen Koop for the tip on where to look for the shelter remains.)

As the Carriage Road winds up the SE slope of South Peak, various views are revealed, including this one of Sandwich Dome and the distant Ossipee Range.

It appeared that snowboarders and skiers had carved out a wide trough along this section before the last small snowfall. Carr Mountain in the distance.

A vista opened up to the lower Franconia Range, the Bonds and Mt. Washington. Great visibility today - 130 miles reported by the Mt. Wash Observatory.

Nice snowy corridor.

Dartmouth sign about the Moosilauke alpine zone.

Deep winter up here.

Sign at junction with the Glencliff Trail at the top of the ridge.

DOC sign for South Peak side trail. Distance is actually closer to 0.2 mile.

A snowy tunnel through the firs.

There were a few drifts to bust through.

Looking back at the main summit of Moosilauke.

Peakbagging critter - bobcat?

The Adirondacks were visible on the horizon (over Lincoln Gap in the center of the photo).

Moosilauke and "Middle Peak."

Slide in Slide Brook Ravine.

Looking SW from South Peak. The Killington Range can be seen between Mt. Cube (L) and Piermont Mountain (R).

More of the Green Mountains seen beyond clearcut-scarred Blueberry Mountain.

Unique to South Peak is the view down into Tunnel Brook Notch, including Mud Pond and the slides on Mt. Clough.

Zoom on Mud Pond.

The Moose, looking quite wintry.

To the SE, part of Lake Winnipesaukee beyond Mts. Cushman and Kineo.

Wind-sculpted snow.

South Peak cairn with Camel's Hump and Signal Range in distance.

Eastern view including the Hancocks and Mt. Carrigain.

Osceola, Tripyramid, Tecumseh etc.

Heading back down the Carriage Road. Just below here I was passed by two whizzing skiers - the only people I saw on the entire hike.

Looked like it was a fun ride down for the skiers.

Close-up of the Dartmouth meteorological tower on Sayre Peak.

Late afternoon sun below the Snapper Trail junction.

Nice light in the hardwoods.

Retracing my upbound snowshoe tracks.

Sunset at Breezy Point.


  1. Wow, Steve, what a beautiful trip. Looks like you were breaking trail most or all of the way, but your pain was our gain! Thanks for the fabulous photos and report.

    1. Thanks, Steve - it was a beautiful day. The breaking was just an inch or two most of the way, maybe 3 inches near the top. It was great snowshoeing!


  2. Great pictures on a great day, Steve. I've been enjoying hiking around the Moose vicariously through your recent reports.

  3. Thanks, BC - I've had some great days up there this winter.


  4. Man, beautiful pics, Steve. Always a pleasure to read and see your reports.