These notes are written to help you compare the various routes that are commonly used to hike to the peaks. They are written on the assumption that you have a guidebook and a set of maps, so no directions are given to trailheads, and the trails are not described in any detail. I have omitted hikes that are substantially longer or more difficult than the standard ones, or that are simply less often used. The fact that a trail is not mentioned here does not imply that it is unsuitable.
- Mountain Weather Forecast
- Online Map
- Mt. Moosilauke in Winter
- Coordinates of Trailheads for GPS users
Mt. Moosilauke is the most westerly of the New Hampshire Fours. In good weather you get great views to the west into Vermont and New York from its bare summit.
The Recreation Report for New Hampshire and Western Maine gives a two day forecast for higher elevations (separate forecasts for elevations of 2,500 to 4,000 feet and for above 4,000 feet). There is also a point forecast for Mount Moosilauke.
The map below is a fully interactive Google map, you can zoom in or out and click on any feature. Specifically clicking on the P symbols will allow you to get driving directions to the trailheads.
View Mount Moosilauke in a larger map
The Beaver Brook trail, though equally short (rt: 7.6 miles, 3,100 feet, 5:20), has an extremely steep and rough section along the beautiful cascades. This section can be slippery when wet or icy.
The Glencliff trail joins the Carriage Road at the base of the South Peak (which has attractive views) and uses the last 0.9 mile of that trail to reach the summit (rt: 7.8 miles, 3,300 feet, 5:30), it has good footing and only one steep section.
The Moosilauke Carriage Road is wide and has good footing most of the way, it also has the gentlest grades of any trail on this mountain (rt: 10.2 miles, 3100 feet, 6:40).
Finally the Benton Trail (rt: 7.2 miles, 3,100 feet, 5:10) has moderate grades and good footing, but a stream crossing near the start may be difficult at high water.
With all these trails a variety of loops are possible. With one car there are two possible loops starting and ending at the Ravine lodge. Go up Gorge Brook trail, and descend by either the Carriage Road and Snapper trail (lp: 7.5 miles, 2,450 feet, 5:00) or by the Beaver Brook and Asquam Ridge trails (lp: 9.6 miles, 2,450 feet, 6:00). A long loop recommended in the White Mountain Guide uses the Benton, Glencliff and Tunnel Brook trails (lp: 13.3 miles, 3,100 feet, 8:10). With two cars it is possible to go up by the very steep Beaver Brook trail and return by either the Gorge Brook (lp: 7.5 miles, 3,100 feet, 5:20) or Glencliff (lp: 7.7 miles, 3,100 feet, 5;25).
To summarize, here are the distances, elevation gains and book times of the various possible routes up Mt. Moosilauke:
|Route||Distance||Elevation Gain||Book Time|
|Round trip by Gorge Brook||7.4||2,400||4:55|
|Round trip by Gorge Brook (winter)||10.6||2,800||6:40|
|Round trip by Beaver Brook||7.6||3,100||5:20|
|Round trip by Glencliff||7.8||3,300||5:30|
|Round trip by Carriage Road||10.2||3,100||6:40|
|Round trip by Benton||7.2||3,100||5:10|
|Loop, Gorge Brook, Carriage Road and Snapper||7.5||2,450||5:00|
|Loop, Gorge Brook, Beaver Brook and Asquam Ridge||9.6||2,450||6:00|
|Loop, Benton, Glencliff and Tunnel Brook||13.3||3,100||8:10|
|Loop, Beaver Brook, Gorge Brook||7.5||3,100||5:20|
|Loop, Beaver Brook, Glencliff||7.7||3,100||5:25|
Mount Moosilauke is the "other" above treeline peak. There is less exposure than in the Presidentials and Franconia Ridge, but all trails have somewhere between ¼ and ½ mile above treeline. It should only be attempted under good conditions.
The Gorge Brook Trail is the easiest, and in winter has the additional advantage of being sheltered from the wind most of the way. On the other hand the Ravine Lodge Road is not plowed, adding 1.6 miles (each way) and 400 feet of elevation gain. It also has the shortest exposed section, about ¼ mile. The Ravine Lodge Road is plowed up to the gate, with parking space for several cars.
The Glencliff Trail is another popular approach. The trail is on west (windward) side of the mountain, with no big mountains shielding it, and is exposed to the wind even below treeline. The final climb to the junction with the Carriage Road is steep, and can be moderately challenging if it has been packed hard by glissaders. The last ½ mile or so of the Carriage Road is fully exposed to the wind. The South Peak can easily be added to this hike, it offers different views than the main peak.
The Beaver Brook Trail is the third possibility. The section beside the brook is very steep and may be icy.