Cairn at Mount Major

Hiking Mount Major in Alton, NH

Mount Major is an easy to moderate hike of 3.9 miles if you do the loop. This is a great hike for kids. My family including a five year old, and an entire cub scout troop, made the trek this weekend. There is a fair amount of climbing and some steep and rocky inclines, but any novice can make the trip with a bit of sweat. The top is fairly bald with fantastic views of Alton Bay and Lake Winnipesaukee.

Mount Major Trails

Suggested route: Within the parking lot area of the Mount Major trail head off Rt. 11 in Alton, there are two available paths. Take the Mt. Major Main Trail (blue) to the right and at the fork, stay on blue by veering left. This will bring you to the summit quickly with some steep sections. Taking the Mount Major Brook Trail (yellow) for the return trip is easier for the downward path as it gently slopes down and around the mountain. This will be a 3.9 mile loop.

Note: Taking the Mt. Major Main Trail down from the summit is NOT suggested if this is a family trip with young children. Steep places are easy to climb up, but not so easy to climb down.

Pack bug spray in the spring and summer because the black flies are ferocious in some areas. And make sure to pack plenty of water for the kids. Better yet, have them wear water packs.

At the top, grab a ledge and enjoy the views. Don’t forget to bring snacks! The kids will be famished by the time you arrive.

You’ll notice a few signs that urge you not to bother the cairns as some have been there for many years. Although it is obvious that some cairns are new – made in jest – it is not obvious which ones are authentic. You’ll also find the remnants of Mr. Phippen’s Hut. This stone hut was built in 1925 as open shelter for all hikers, but the roof kept blowing off in the winters due to extreme mountaintop winter winds. It was a good thought, but all that remains are parts of the stone walls.

Check out these views:

Mount Major View 1

Mount Major View 2

Mount Major View 3

Mount Major View 4

Mount Major View 5

Mount Major View 6

Mount Major View 7

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Rebecca Skane is the editor-in-chief for the Portsmouth Review. She holds a Bachelor of the Arts degree from Lawrence University in Wisconsin and resides in Portsmouth, NH with her husband and two children. She is the founder of The Portsmouth Book Club which boasts over 1,000 members. She also doubles as a professional escapist. Her genres are scifi and fantasy, both adult and young adult - but she often reads outside of her preferred genres. You can follow her on GoodReads. Aside from her love of good books, she is a professional website developer, content editor, and SEO expert. You can visit her web design and development site at

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