A few Saturdays ago, Sarah and I found ourselves once again in New Hampshire. We wanted to go for a hike but didn’t want it to be an all-day affair. With this in mind, we decided on Belknap Mountain. Located in Gilford in Belknap County, which is south of Lake Winnipesaukee, Belknap Mountain has an elevation of 2,382 feet.
While it's not the highest or most difficult mountain that I've hiked, it was perfect for what we were looking for. It was about a two-hour ride from Boston to Belknap, which is a relatively short drive compared to some of the other New Hampshire hikes that I've driven to over the years. The ride to it was actually enjoyable as it was very scenic with us passing by a few farm stores that had cattle and other animals.
When we arrived at Belknap, we parked at the Upper Carriage Road Parking area as it provides the most direct access to the Belknap Mountain Loop, consisting of the Red Trail and Blue Trail. At first, we were confused and thought we missed the Upper Carriage Road Parking area, however, it's quite a bit of way up from the entrance
We took the Red Trail up. It was 0.8 miles long and led directly to the summit of the mountain. Several sections of the trail were steep, but for the most part, it wasn't too strenuous. There were also a few lookout stops, but the best view of the entire hike comes from the fire tower at the summit. As one of only 15 standing fire towers in New Hampshire, the fire tower offers a 360-degree view of the surrounding mountains and lakes. We hung up here for a bit and then headed back down the Blue Trail, bringing us back to Upper Carriage Road Parking area after trekking down 1.1 miles or so.
We finished the hike in about an hour and a half, giving us plenty of time to get back to Boston and enjoy the rest of the day.