Belknap Gunstock Loop Trail is a 6 mile moderately trafficked loop trail located near Gilford, NH that features a river and is rated as difficult. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.
dogs on leash
cross country skiing
This was an amazing hike but getting to the top and seeing it so commercialized took away from it's natural beauty.
We chose not to do the entire 6 mile loop. We did the Belknap fire tower at a different time. We started out on the Ridge Trail (white) it was straight up hill on an off road, All gravel until you see the tower. Then the actual trail starts and its awesome. The hike itself is very easy and the views are amazing. We took the yellow trail down. There were great streams toward the end. Highly recommend.
This was a great trail with beautiful views of Winnipesaukee!
We extended our hike by starting up Piper Mountain Trail (red blazes from bottom of Carriage Rd). The view from Piper was well worth the extra hiking and the stone chairs were pretty cool to see. From there we hiked orange and white blazes to Belknap Fire Tower where the attendant had spotted a fire off in the distance. It was cool to listen to the activity from the lower deck of the tower while taking in the 360 views. Snow-capped Mount Washington was visible. From there we hiked blue blazes to the Saddle Trail up Gunstock and back down orange to where we had parked. We only saw one other person on all of Gunstock. On our way home we drove past Mount Major where there were literally hundreds of cars parked along the highway. We were grateful that we chose the lesser-traveled Belknap Ridge for our hike because the views were just as good and much more peaceful. There is great variety between the three peaks with various views, making for a great hike!
A comprehensive map of the trails can be downloaded here:
The map is georeferenced so you can open it in an app on your phone and see what trail you are on when you're hiking. Thank you to the makers of this fantastic map!
Note: I'd rate this trail as moderate rather than hard. Kids and first-time hikers were making their way up Piper and Belknap without too much trouble.
Note: The gate was closed all day on 4/30 even though a sign says it will be opened at 9am. You couldn't reach the parking further up the road for the Red, Green and Blue blazed trails up Belknap although you could reach them by walking up the Carriage Road to the trailheads.
Check out our review & Photos on our hiking site!
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Kristy Albano & Matt Pickering
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