This is a four-season recreation area on New Hampshire Route 11 and is operated by Belknap County. It includes a major downhill ski area located on Mount Rowe and Gunstock Mountain, a 420 site campground, and a cross-country skiing area. A map of hiking and mountain biking trails is available at the base lodge.
To reach Mt Belknap, which provides access to all the trails on the west side of the Belknap Range, leave New Hampshire Route 11A at Gilford Village and follow Belknap Mountain Road south, bearing left at 0.8 miles and right at 1.4 miles. At 2.4 miles, the Belknap Carriage Road forks left and leads to a parking area. Various relatively easy loop hikes may be made from this trailhead. For the Green, Red, and Blue Dot trails, follow the road up to the fire warden’s garage (signs on wall). The Piper Cutoff is a short distance down the road.
Blue Dot Trail This trail runs from Belknap Carriage Road to the Belknap Gunstock intersection, from which either peak may be ascended via the Ridge Trail. It follows the road past the Red and Green trails, descends slightly to cross a brook, then diverges right and climbs the Ridge Trail.
Green Trail This trail from the Belknap Carriage Road is the shortest route to Belknap Mountain but is rather rough. It leaves the road behind the garage and crosses a service road and telephone line. There are several alternate paths (including the road) any of which may be followed to the warden’s cabin, where there is a well, and to the tower at the summit.
View from Mt Belknap looking towards Lake Winnisquam
Red Trail This less steep, more scenic route from Belknap Carriage Road to the summit of Belknap Mountain leaves the road just beyond the Green Trail and climbs past a good outlook (west) to the summit.
Ridge Trail From the summit of Mount Rowe, this blue-blazed trail follows the ridge south, crossing ledges and blueberry fields through the saddle, ascends to a ski trail, and soon joins the Flintlock Trail at 0.7 miles. (Descending, turn left on the ski trail at Ridge Trail sign, then shortly follow the arrow left into the woods). The Ridge and Flintlock Trails coincide to the summit of Gunstock Mountain along the right edge of the ski trails. From the summit, at 1.6 miles, the Ridge Trail continues south on the right edge of the ski trails, then turns right into the woods (watch carefully for the arrow) and descends to the col, where the Blue Dot Trail enters right at 2.0 miles. It then ascends Belknap Mountain and ends at the Red Trail just before the summit.
Flintlock Trail To reach this road, which provides access to all the trails on the west side of the Belknap Range, leave New Hampshire Route 11A at Gilford Village and follow Belknap Mountain Road south, bearing left at 0.8 miles and right at 1.4 miles. At 2.4 miles, the Belknap Carriage Road forks left and leads to a parking area. Various relatively easy loop hikes may be made from this trailhead. For the Green, Red, and Blue Dot trails, follow the road up to the fire warden’s garage (signs on wall). The Piper Cutoff is a short distance down the road.
East Gilford Trail To reach this trail - perhaps the most attractive on the range - turn right off New Hampshire Route 11A on Bickford Road, 1.7 miles south of the gunstock Recreation Area road. Turn left onto Wood Road and park near the junction. The trail (sign) follows a cart track at the left of the house at the end of the road, circles around to the right, and bears right at a fork. Halfway up, near a brook on the right, the trail turns sharply left and climbs more steeply to the first outlook over Lake Winnipesaukee. It then continues at a moderate grade, mostly on ledges, and joins the Piper Trail. The two trails coincide for the final 0.2 miles to the Belknap Mountain summit.
Piper Trail A continuation of the Ridge Trail, this white-blazed trail leaves the summit of Belknap Mountain together with the East Gilford Trail, then diverges right and drops to the Belknap Piper col. This part of the trail must be followed with care. At the col at 0.8 miles, the Piper Cutoff comes in right from Belknap Carriage Road. The Piper Cutoff ascends along the ridge of Piper Mountain and ends at a large cairn. The true summit is 0.2 miles south across open blueberry fields.
Piper Cutoff This well-beaten but unsigned trail (yellow blazed at present) leaves Belknap Carriage Road below the last bridge at a yellow blazed birch, then climbs to meet the Piper Trail in the Belknap-Piper col. Either peak may be ascended via the Piper Trail.
Lake Winnipesaukee Island Hikes
Squam Lake area Hikes