Mt. Moosilauke Hike on the Carriage Road

Sunday of this past weekend, my husband Jon, Mizpah, and I headed up to NH for a hike. Jon’s broken toe had healed just in time for our wedding, and we were ready to get back to hiking after almost 2 months away from our favorite mountains. We chose Mt. Moosilauke after reading through Saturday’s trip reports because Mt. Moosilauke had just some soft snow/ice on the Carriage Road trail where some of the mountains still require crampons. The Carriage Road trail is wide and gradual, it was a little over 10 miles and took us a little over 6 hours to do.

At the summit of Mt. Moosilauke, there are remains of the Prospect House built in 1860, later known as the Tip Top House, a hotel similar to the one on the summit of Mt. Washington. It burned down in 1942. The Carriage Road was built in 1870 to bring guests up to the summit.

Tip Top House, Moosilauke Breezy Point, NH
Tip Top House, Moosilauke Breezy Point, NH

Breezy Point Road leads to the Carriage Road trailhead. Nathaniel Merrill built a farmhouse there in 1834, and converted the farmhouse in 1860 to serve as an inn called the Merrill Mountain Home. Slightly downhill from there, the larger Breezy Point House was built in 1877. It was destroyed by a fire in 1884, and then the Moosilauke Inn was built there in 1886. In 1915, the Merril Mountain burned down, and in 1953, the Moosilauke Inn burned down.

A smaller motel was built at the inn site which closed in 1981. Crazy history. The spot where the inn was is just a big field. I guess there was even a 9 hole golf course there around 1900. We did find a cellar hole around where the Merrill house could have been.

Then on our way out, we found this cellar hole further downhill from where the inn would have been. Could have been outbuildings from the original Breezy Point House.

Here are some more pictures from our hike. We did Moosilauke back in November too, and in this post, I discuss the link between Moosilauke and Dartmouth College.

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Built in the 1990s by the Dartmouth Outing Club, just beyond this bridge there was a shelter called Camp Misery in the 1930s. I believe the bridge is made of pieces of the shelter.
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Soft snow and ice on the trail
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Mizpah and Jon on our way to the summit, South Peak in the background

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Up on the summit, windy as usual!

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View of Loon’s south peak
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Moosilauke’s summit is always windy, it is the first tall peak that gets wind from Vermont!

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Beautiful birches on the trail
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Mizpah relaxing when we got back to the car

So now I have done Moosilauke 3 times. Its great because there are so many different trails up and down it, I have never done it the same way twice. We are going to try to hike the next couple weekends and we have some big hiking plans for this summer. I still have 9 left to complete the 4000 footers in NH. Of course they are all tough, long, or far away hikes- save the craziest for last? I read this article this past week, and it really summed it all up for me. Where do you like to hike!? I love hearing other people’s hiking stories!!

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4 thoughts on “Mt. Moosilauke Hike on the Carriage Road

  1. Sharon Gillis

    I’ve been searching for info about the Moosilauke Inn and was happy to see your info about it. I recently received some old family photo albums, with some great photos of my grandmother and her sister working at the inn during the summers of 1922 & 1923. It was great to see your current photos of the area! How far a hike is it up to that location? ~Sharon

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    1. That’s amazing Sharon! I would love to see those pictures. I love the history in the White Mountains back in its hey day. So driving down Breezy Point Road in Warren NH, quite a ways down, there is a dirt parking area. From there its a short walk to the field where the inn was, and then the trailhead for the Carriage Road is past that. We saw cellar holes on the left before the field, and cellar holes right by the Merrill Brook after the field close to the trail. If you look at Breezy Point Road on google maps, you can see the field and the brook and you can pretty much see the carriage road too! From the primitive parking area to the trailhead is about a football field maybe? I think you can drive all the way in to the field but we were worries about the terrain and our car!

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      1. James smith

        I loved reading of your hike. Nathaniel Merrill was my great,great grandfather. I have often dreamed of hiking Mt.Moosilauke to try and find anything related to the Merrill mountain lodge. But they say its so grown over if you don’t know where it was you can pass it by very easily. I’ve watched ‘A Light On The Mountain’ a bunch. When at the end of the movie where the Smiths have moved to Vermont; and they tell of my grandfather Arthur Merrill Olin Smith, being killed in WWII. They then say he had two sons. Well my father was his oldest son. That’s why I love hearing anything Mt. Moosilauke. Especially hiking stories where I can picture the Birch trees, or the breeze at the tip top house. So thank you.
        Jim Smith S.C.

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      2. Well you are very welcome Jim! Thanks for reading! What an awesome connection to that area!? Mt. Moosilauke is probably one of my favorite 4000 footers. There is so much history there. We are actually planning to do it this week from the Ravine Lodge side because they just renovated the lodge. I am sure we will do it from the Carriage Road side again soon. We went and saw those cellar holes right by the Merrill Brook in the spring, so definitely going to the area before everything grows back in is helpful. I will try to get pics of the Tip Top House remains this hike!! Have a lovely day!

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