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Moose Mountain

Moose MountainEASY Dayhike: 4.1 miles (3 hours) — 8 miles from Hanover

The north peak of Moose Mountain, at 2,300 feet, is the highest point within Hanover’s town boundaries. Where cleared pastures once bordered the summit of this long ridge, now the forest has grown back and returned Moose to its wilder past. For those whose picture of Hanover is limited to the busy intersection of Main and Wheelock Streets, this hike is an opportunity to see another side of town and to experience the rural landscape of the Upper Valley.

How To Get There: 
From the Green, follow East Wheelock Street up and over Balch Hill and down to the village of Etna in 4.3 miles. (In the earliest days of Hanover, several mills located along the brook here in Etna made this the commercial, center of town unlike the sleepy corner by the river where the new College was located). At the T junction in Etna, turn left onto Two Mile Road. After 0.8 miles, turn right onto Rudsboro Road, follow it along the brook for 1.5 miles, and turn left onto the dirt Three Mile Road. Follow this road as it ascends uphill, crests, and descends again. At the top of the next hill, 1.3 miles from Rudsboro Road, the AT crosses the road. Park in the small dirt parking area on the left.

Trip Description

The Trail up Moose Mountain leaves the east side of Three Mile Road at a brown USFS sign. This is part of the Appalachian Trail (AT). After a short uphill section, the trail heads predominately downhill to where at 0.24 miles it crosses a tributary of the Mink Brook on a two-stringer bridge. The trail now passes a bootleg campsite on the left and heads up a short steep section. After passing through a wet area it crosses the Harris Trail, (a former route of the AT) at 0.42 miles. From here the grade increases and after yet another wet area with a two-puncheon bridge the General's Trail is reached at 0.62 miles. The AT now strikes uphill with earnest and at 0.78 miles swings left and becomes a serious uphill. At 0.90 miles the grade levels out to a moderate uphill. Now the AT passes the Logging Road on the right at 0.98 miles, a path at 1.09 miles on the left that leads downhill 75 yds. to the Nat Thompson Trail, and finally at 1.21 miles the Orange Diamond Ridge Trail on the right. At this point be sure to go slightly left at the arrow to stay on the AT. At 1.77 miles the orange and black sign is reached marking excellent views east towards Mount Cardigan and southeast towards Mount Kearsarge. The town of Canaan lies in the valley below, with Goose Pond in the foreground and Clark Pond in the distance. For peak baggers the true summit is reached in another one tenth of a mile on the AT. Here a small cairn marks the summit on the left. The Nat Thompson Trail leave the AT just before the summit.

There are three options to complete your hike:

1. The quickest route back to your car is to retrace your steps.

2. Leaving the view clearing proceed south on the AT for 0.02 miles and take the Nat Thompson Trail down. There is an unmarked path on the right at 0.24 miles leading back to the AT (a former route of the AT). At 0.6 miles you cross a small brook on a two-puncheon bridge and reach a path on the left that leads uphill to the AT. At 0.97 miles the Ski Loop is reached, and the Nat Thompson trail diverges steeply downhill right. The 1966 Lodge is reached at 1.15 miles. You stay to the right of the Lodge and left of the pond. Exiting the Lodge property over a small bridge and reaching the Harris Trail at 1.21 miles. You go left here. The route from here is described in the third option.

3. The third option heads again south on the AT this time going right at the Nat Thompson Trail. As mentioned in the opening trail description you will pass the true summit of South Moose Mountain and proceed downhill. At 0.52 miles you will reach the Wolfeboro Road; this is an old woods road that is notoriously wet. You head left on this road, level at first and then downhill. At 1.06 miles the Harris Trail will be reached. Head left around the gate and through the log yard. There is a wet area at 1.25 miles. At 1.42 miles it joins briefly with the supply road for the Lodge. Staying right at the split you will reach the side path for the 1966 Lodge at 1.65 miles. There will be another split at 1.71 miles. The right fork will take you to a parking area on Three Mile Road, but you will stay left on the Harris Trail. The Ski Loop will come in at 1.76 miles and a brook is crossed on steppingstones at 1.83 miles. Finally, you will meet the AT at 1.92 miles. Go right here 0.42 miles back to your car.

Distances:
Option #1 = 3.54 miles
Option #2 = 3.67 miles
Option #3 = 4.11 miles

Last Updated: 1/15/20