Up Down and Around the Moose : Mount Moosilauke

Date of Hike: 7/13/15

Moosilauke Carriage Road: 5.3 miles  /  Benton Trail: 3.6 miles  /  Tunnel Brook Road:  0.8 miles  /  Tunnel Brook Trail: 4.4 miles  /  Long Pond Road:  0.4 miles
Total Miles: 14.5 miles (3,845 feet elevation gained)

Trip Report:
- On Monday Whitney and I headed to Mount Moosilauke to check out some trails we had never been on.  Joining us on the hike was Mike Cherim, who we both had not hiked with in almost two years.  Mike volunteers for the Adroscoggin Search and Rescue, and he is a guide for Northeast Mountaineering, guiding hikers up the Presidential Range in all weeks of the year, in the winter he takes clients up Mount Washington a few times a week weather permitting.  Click here to visit his website
-  Both Mike and Whitney are currently working on 'Red-Lining,' which is hiking every trail listed in the A.M.C. White Mountain Guide.  Mike is around 75% complete and Whitney is at 50%.  While red-lining isn't on my to-do list I always enjoy checking out trails I've never been on before, especially if they head up a 4,000 footer!  As an added bonus about this hike was that I had not hiked Moosilauke in July so it would count towards my 'Grid,' (Hiking all the 48 - 4,000 footers in every month).
- We started out early in the morning on Moosilauke Carriage Road.  It is a beautiful trail that travels over an old carriage road with good footing and easy grades.  There were a lot of clearings and what looked like roads crisscrossing along the way every so often.  There is a lot of history on Mount Moosilauke so I'll have to go back and read up to see what those clearings and side roads were at one point in the past.
-  After about a mile and a half Mike branched off and headed right on the Hurricane Trail and up the Snapper Trail.  Whitney and I kept heading up the Carriage Road and met him at the junction of the Snapper and Carriage on our way to south peak.  South peak is up a little spur about a mile before the main summit.  I have been on Moosialuke a dozen times before and past this spur probably about a half dozen times but never went up it.  It became kind of a running joke and I actually though about never going up it for sh!ts and giggles but I'm glad I finally made it to the top as it has a spectacular view from its open summit.
- From south peak to the main summit is a nice easy hike that heads above treeline to the bald summit of Moosialuke.  Usually it's very windy but today there was barely any wind and there were several hikers on the summit enjoying the views, including a group of A.T. thru-hikers.
-  Moosilauke is one of the best summits in the White Mountains for views, you can see the Franconia Ridge to the Presidential Range as they rise high above the notches to the east and north.  Unfortunately on this day it was really hazy, so hazy that the Franconia Ridge could not be seen.
- From the summit we headed down the Benton Trail, and while it's a nice trail with moderate grades and good footing it's not that exciting.  There is a great outlook into Tunnel Brook Ravine (I think it's called that) but other than that it's just a ho-hum walk in the woods.
- At the bottom of the Benton Trail we came out onto Tunnel Brook Road which sustained some series damage from Tropical Storm Irene in 2011 and can only be driven part of the way up before reaching the trailhead for the Benton Trail.  We headed up the road to the Tunnel Brook Trail, just under a mile up the road.  The section of the road we walked was in great shape but it was starting to get overtaken by grass and overhanging tree branches since it has not been maintained in almost four years.
- The start of the Tunnel Brook Trail was a little weird, there was no trail info sign and it was really overgrown.  Luckily there was a small path and one of those hikers with a walking stick signs so we knew we were on the trail.
- The Tunnel Brook Trail is a pretty easy hike from Tunnel Brook Road out to Long Pond Road.  It travels over easy grades and has a very secluded far-off feeling to it.  The highlight of the trail is when it passes by Mud Pond and some beaver ponds where there are good views up to Mount Clough.  The beavers have been pretty busy as they have flooded a few short sections of the trail.  We got thrown off track for about fifty feet or so but Whitney found the trail after Mike and I looked around in the wrong spots.  This trail is definitely easier to follow coming from the other direction (south to north) through these couple of flooded spots.
- After passing by Mud Pond we skirted along an old logging road near Slide Brook until popping out a few tenths of a mile from Mike's car that we spotted on Long Pond Road.  There is extensive logging activity going on through here so the gate near High Street is down and you have to park there or at the Glencliff trailhead a few tenths of a mile up the road.  It's an easy road walk and only adds a few minutes to the hike.
-  At the car Mike got changed and drove us back to Breezy Point Road where Whitney's car was at the Moosilauke Carriage Road trailhead.
- It was a great hike up, down, and around Moosilauke and the weather held out as the chance of showers never happened, e got some hazy but decent views, and it was a rare no wind day on the Moose...making for another successful outing in the White Mountains of New Hampshire!

The Moosilauke Carriage Road ascends easily over an old well defined road

Camp Misery Bridge, oh no!

Whitney heads up the Birch section of the Moosilauke Carriage Road

Some nice easy hiking when the trail has superb footing!

Mike and Whitney lead the way up past an old alpine information sign that is being taken over by the woods

Heading to South Peak

Great view of the main summit from South Peak

Heading up the final half mile to Mount Moosilauke and looking back down from the summit 

Lots of people and dogs on the Moose!

Whitney and Mike on the summit, a pretty impressive rock arch, and a geocache

 Descending the Tunnel Brook Trail, and a nice view into the Tunnel Brook Ravine

 A nice 0.8 miles road walk along the Tunnel Brook Road

 The Tunnel Brook Trail starts out over a very overgrown path, then travels along the brook and past a series of nicely built cairns in the middle of the woods

 Heading to the northern end of Mud Pond

 Mount Clough from Mud Pond

 A tentsite by the water, very nice spot to fall asleep under the stars in the middle of nowhere!

 The Tunnel Brook Trail passes by reservoir water supply.

 The last section of the Tunnel Brook Trail descends through open hardwoods and passes by a mini cascade

 Signs spotted from Moosilauke Carriage Road to the summit

 Signs spotted from the summit through Tunnel Brook Trail

Route for the day, click here for more info

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