Trip report

Mts.Gunstock, Belknap & Piper Hike

Hiking/Walk DATE: 05/18/2014 - 05/18/2014

Trip/Event Location: Gilford, NH

Trip Leader(s): Gandalf , JDNnh

Max # People: 15

Trip Guiding / Event Fee: No, I will not be asking participants for money

Difficulty Level: Moderate

This moderate hike and invigorating climb will bring us to magnificent views of Lake Winnipesaukee. On a clear day, the Ossipee Mountain Range rises from the shores of Winnipesauke and Mount

Driving directions to the location and spot to meet at:

From the West

  • From I-93 take Exit 20 and from the exit ramp turn easterly onto Rt. 3 North
  • Follow Rt. 3 for approximately 9.7 miles and at the intersection wih Rt. 11A, turn right onto Rt. 11A
  • Follow Rt. 11A for 2.2 miles, then, in Gilford village, turn right onto Belknap Mountain Road. Follow Belknap Mountain Road, bearing left after 0.8 mile,and right at 1.4 mile. After another 1.0 mile you will reach a fork.
  • Bear left at the fork onto Belknap Carriage Road and follow the road for 1.5 miles. Park in the lot at the end of road.
  • We will be driving a blue Toyota FJ Cruiser.

From the Southeast

  • From Rt. 16 in Rochester, follow Rt. 11 north to the junction with Rt. 11A in West Alton. Then turn onto Rt. 11A and follow the road for approximately 7.7 miles. In Gilford village, turn onto Belknap Mountain Road.
  • Pick up the remaining directions from above.

Trip Report/Photos
Featured Photo

On a sunny spring day with temperatures soaring to the sixties we met at the upper parking lot of the Carriage Road in Gilford for a leisurely ramble on the Belknap Range. These little mountains on the SW side of Lake Winnipesaukee top out at only 2384 ft. but are blessed with many open ledges and an extensive network of well-maintained trails, with several options for rewarding loop hikes. The Belknaps are one of the best hiking areas in the state, especially in early spring when the high peaks are still plagued with rotten snow, monorails and ice.

Jon and I drove to the bottom of the Carriage Road at the gate and wondered where everybody was. Our plan was to start here and use the Gunstock Mountain Trail for the ascent. After looking at the directions we posted we realized with the gate open [we expected the gate to be closed] everyone drove near the top!

So we drove up to the road and found our group! It was great to see a few new members on their first GO trip. Starting from this unexpected location I had to change our route but still accomplish our objective of visiting both Belknap and North Piper summits. As Jon said during the hike, there is reason one should always carry a map…for the unexpected.

Starting on the Blue Trail, we had snow-free hiking for the ascent. When we reached the saddle between Gunstock and Belknap Mountain we turned right toward Belknap Mountain. We climbed up the fire tower for the high point of this area. The views from the summit fire tower were amazing including southern NH peaks Pack Monadnock, Crotched and Monadnock. We saw nearly a dozen 4,000 footers including the Presidentials and Franconia Range.

Our final stop for the day was North Piper Mountain. The ridge between Belknap and North Piper was easily the best views of the day; one of the best in all of the Belknaps with a bunch of exposed rock. Where the Yellow Trail and White Trail splits we saw marked on the rock ‘views’ with an arrow pointing to the Yellow Trail. So we headed off on that direction and found a great spot for lunch with views of Lake Winnipesauke.

There are multiple ledge viewpoints along the way. We then broke away from White Trail and took the Old Piper Trail [orange] to the top of North Piper. I liked the top. It was mostly exposed with random trees sprouting everywhere, cairns and even stone chairs. We ate some snacks and drank some water as we enjoyed the final views of the day. We were the only ones on the summit.

We retraced our steps on the Old Piper Trail and once we reached the junction of the White Trail followed it back to the Carriage Road. Once we reached the Carriage Road we had a short climb to finish the day. Thanks everyone for joining us on this hike to stretch our legs and get ready for the summer hiking ahead!

~ Mike Boisvert

  There are 32 photos in Album (Note: Move mouse pointer over larger pic and click on NEXT for better viewing)

Members That Participated


Outdoor Fitness Level: Very Strenuous

Thornton, NH

United States


Outdoor Fitness Level: Very Strenuous

Thornton, NH

United States


Outdoor Fitness Level: Moderate to Strenuous

Londonderry, NH

United States


Outdoor Fitness Level: Moderate to Strenuous

Somersworth, NH

United States


Outdoor Fitness Level: Moderate to Strenuous

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United States

sustaining member

Outdoor Fitness Level: Moderate to Strenuous

boston, MA

United States

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