This is probably one of the most popular hikes in the Lakes Region, and for good reason. The route is reasonably short and takes hikers from within dense forest to panoramic views of the area in only a couple hours.
Mount Major is a very busy and popular hiking spot. On a busy weekend thousands of people ascend the mountain for incredible views of Lake Winnippesaukee.
But don't let the crowds fool you- this can be a challenging mountain to climb and even more challenging when you don't come prepared. Make sure to bring proper footwear as well as ample water, all of the trails going up Mount Major can be challenging and steep. People have been seriously injured on this mountain because they didn't take it seriously.
You may also want to bring an extra layer. Typically it's windy and colder at the summit. Finally, if the parking lot is full cars may spill out onto Route 11. Please park on the west side of the road. You may even consider trying out another trail in the area instead.
On hot summer days, there may be an Italian ice vendor at the parking lot.
From the parking lot, head due south and start your journey up the Boulder Loop Trail
. I would consider this to be one of the better trails in the area; it didn't seem as crowded as the rest, and it has some great rock features most able-bodied folks will enjoy hiking over.
From this rocky area, continue up the steep trail. Eventually, you'll crest the hard part of this trail and the grade will slacken. From this spot, you have only a few hundred feet to the summit of Mount Major.
From the summit, the views are incredible; especially on a clear summer day. To the north, you'll be able to see notable peaks like: Carter Dome, Carrigan, and Whiteface. To the south you may be able to see Monadnock and Kearsarge.
Once you've had your fill of White Mountain and lake views, head west on the Major - Straightback Link
. Shortly after descending slightly, turn right onto Brook Trail
. Brook Trail
is fine. It's a decent way to get up/down the mountain, but it is in dire need of repairs. The lower portion of this trail is incredibly washed out and can be very loose. Watch your footing.
eventually pops you out onto the eponymous Mt. Major Trail
. Take this to the parking lot and your car!