The Belknap Range Trail crosses a beautiful patch of forest in the Belknap Range of Southern New Hampshire. Its low elevation highpoints mean that much of the trail is accessible when the summits of the White Mountains are hemmed in with snow. This challenging and varied trail provides access to casual dayhikes, difficult peakbagging, and views for everyone.
Due to the efforts of local trail volunteers, this trail is well-marked and maintained for its entire length. The classic Belknap Range Trail links together a number of routes that cover just over 12 miles and rise over the tops of eight summits. A variation on the traverse includes a couple of more peaks in the same amount of miles.
Along the Belknap Trail, hikers will experience classic New Hampshire terrain. The route follows gravel access roads in places, but most of the route crosses bare bedrock, trails overgrown with roots, steep ups and downs, and the very occasional flat patch of ground. The peaks may not be very high, but the frequent ascents and descents can tire the legs and the lungs very quickly!
Since the trailheads on the north and south ends are located in areas that are popular with hikers and tourists, you'll see many people at the start and end of the hike. But if you choose to spot a car and do the complete traverse, you will experience long stretches of solitude in between. Going solo? There is an Uber service in this area. Park your car at the end of the hike and catch a ride to the start, then hike back to your vehicle!
For the adventurer, there are numerous options for loops and out-and-back hikes on and around this trail. Be mindful that sections of the trail cross private property, so don't venture off-trail unless you know whose land you're on.
Collect all 12 Belknap Range Summits to earn a patch from the Belknap County Sportsman's Association. While it can, and has, been done in a single long outing, consider taking several hikes in the area so you can take your time and enjoy each of these summits. The Belknap Range Trail will give you a great head start on earning the patch.