I did suggest to my wife that we start this season with a different mountain. Maybe something we've not yet hiked in the Belknap Range. If eyes could kill...
Whether you are looking for an easy warm-up hike or simply want beautiful views of Lake Winnipesaukee, sans the crowds found on Mt. Major, this is it.
Trailhead: From Rte 171 in Moultonborough, NH (just down the road a piece from the entrance to Castle in the Clouds) turn onto Emerson Path. There will be a sign at this intersection for the Crystal Geyser water bottling plant. At the top of this long hill there will be a usually adequate parking area for hikers on the right. Be cautious driving up this road as it is steep in sections, the road is reasonably narrow and there is truck traffic for the bottling plant.
Once parked, look for the horse barn across the field which is surrounded by white fencing. Walk along the road towards the barn. Once the barn is immediately on your left keep walking ahead a short distance and you will see a sign for the actual trailhead just behind the barn. It is nearly 1/4 mile from where you parked your car to the actual trailhead.
Here are a few photos from this year's hike:
There are still some snow covered slopes on Gunstock Mountain which can be seen in the distance.
The last remnants of the monorail caused by all the winter hikers.
One of my favorite things about this hike is the fact that near the very end you typically get to enjoy all the horses from Castle in the Clouds mulling about. What a way to end a hike...