Trip Report: The Belknap Range – Mt. Piper, Mt. Belknap, and Mt. Gunstock

On Saturday I joined a group for a hike in the Belknap Range of New Hampshire. I have been to Mt. Belknap once before, but this trip brought me to two new peaks, Mt. Piper (North peak) and Mt Gunstock. Our hike started at the gate on Belknap Mountain Road in Gilford. From here we ascended the red trail up to the summit of Piper. On a clear day there are some nice views here, but it was cloudy when we got up there. An interesting feature of the Piper summit is all the random rock furniture that people have built there:

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From here we took the orange trail to the white trail toward Mt Belknap. We had noticed the trail was a bit of a mess here from people bare booting when they should have worn snowshoes. At the junction of Orange and White trails we put ours on to flatten things out, they remained on the rest of the way.

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WE reached Mt Belknap in short time and sat down under the fire tower to have some lunch, and were soon off on the Blue trail towards Mt Gunstock. On this stretch we met our only other hiker of the day, a gentleman and his dog. They must of had some difficulty that day without snowshoes and seemed excited to see our group of 6 with them on. There was lots of people out enjoying the skiing atop Mt. Gunstock, I always find it fun to ascend a ski mountain in winter. Avoiding the temptation to visit the pub on the summit, we followed the white trai which goes to the left of the safety services building. This is not obvious at all and I was glad someone in our group knew it, as there are not any markings at all. The White trail drops steeply and then levels out to from very nice woods, the snow was falling here but there was no wind and it was very pleasant. Before we knew it we were back at the cars and off to find some dinner, a great day of winter hiking!

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For a map of the area see the this post

GPS/GPX Link

Distance: 4.76 mi
Time: 4:32:25
Avg Pace: 57:16 min/mi
Elevation Gain: 1,740 ft
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Trip Report – Mount Belknap, NH 1/13/2012

Today I went and took a short hike in the Belknap range to finish off the New Hampshire Fire Tower Quest program. The Overlook trail (orange blazed) follows some cross-country ski trails for a bit before entering the woods and ascending to the col between Belknap Mountain and Gunstock Mountain. It would normally have some really nice views on the way up and from the fire tower on the summit, but it was extremely foggy today.  The Belknap rage is quite enjoyable, and the Belknap Sportsman clubs offers a patch to anyone that hikes to the summit of all 12 peaks on the range. Someday I hope to try this a single day. While plotting out the route, I decided to send a few geocaches to my GPSr in hopes the trail may bring us by some. The one geocache we found was just near the summit, about 1/4 mile off trail. I hadn’t read the description beforehand, so I was quite surprised when after a few minutes of bushwhacking I came across the wreckage of a small passenger plane. More info on the plane crash cane be found here: NTSB information

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GPS/GPX link

Distance: 7.17 mi
Time: 5:22:03
Avg Pace: 44:54 min/mi
Elevation Gain: 1,710 ft

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Here is a map I am working on, I combined as many GPS tracks as I could.

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Here is a map with the trail blazing colors – very helpful. Thanks MBP!

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