North Moat Mountain, September 20, 2008Preview
This is a "crossover" hike as three popular and fun New England hiking groups are crossing invitations to join this hike: www.seacoastdayhikers.com (that's us), www.gonewengland.org, and The New England Hiking and Adventurer's Group Meetup. Dogs are welcome. Refreshments after somewhere in North Conway.
From Diana's Baths parking lot hike up Red Ridge Trail and down Moat Mountain Trail.
From the parking lot take Moat Mountain Trail 1.2 miles to the junction of Red Ridge Trail. Take the (left) Red Ridge Trail up (skipping the Red Ridge Link) 3.6 miles to the junction of Moat Mountain Trail and follow that 1.1 miles to the steep/ledgey peak of North Moat Mountain (3,196') with scenic views. Then follow Moat Mountain Trail down 1.9 miles to the junction with Attitash Trail. At another 1.2 miles Moat Mountain Trail with join with Red Ridge Trail and you will follow Moat Mountain Trail an additional 1.2 miles back to Diana's Baths parking lot.
2700' elevation gain, 10.2 miles round trip, 7 hours
Moderate difficulty at a moderate pace
NEXT HIKE: September 20, North Moat Mountain
Target, Woburn MA at 6:15 a.m.
Walmart, Newington NH at 7:00 a.m.
Exit 14 off of Rt. 93, LL Bean/Hannaford side, Concord at 7:00 a.m.
Moat Mountain Trailhead at 8:45 a.m
TRAILHEAD: From Rt. 16 in North Conway, NH turn left (west) at the traffic lights in front of Eastern Slope Inn onto River Road. Continue 2.2 miles to the parking area on the left for Diana's Baths.
You can avoid traffic in North Conway, if you prefer, by taking a left onto Washington Street which is at the junction of Routes 16 and 153 in Conway. Washington Street is at the very first set of lights after you pass the junction of Routes 16 and 112 (the Kanc). Next bear left at the fork onto West Side Road but do not go over the covered bridge. Continue north to a T-intersection of West Side Road and River Street and take a left and stay on West Side Road. You will then pass Cathedral Ledge Drive and pass over Lucy Brook over a narrow bridge. Go two tenths of a mile to a small dirt drive on the left which is Diana's Baths with ample parking and restroom facility.
Parking requires a WMNF annual pass or pay $3 at the kiosk.
HIKE LEADER: Diane King
From Diana's Baths parking lot, three hikers and two dogs departed at the scheduled 8:45 meeting time. The remaining nine departed to the baths and then up Red Ridge Trail around 9:10 due to a late arrival.
The air was crisp and cool and the skies were sunny as we strolled a couple miles through hardwoods. We then came to a junction with a logging road and turned left in error. We walked 10 minutes or so and brilliantly assessed that the flat terrain/horizon ahead would not be taking us up the advertised "steep side" of the mountain. We turned back and found our path had an arrow pointing back into the hardwoods from across the logging road where we met up with Green Mountain Club doing the same loop.
We began to climb a little and then came to rocks and ledges and rested at an awesome lookout area where we could see North Conway and the firetower on North Kearsarge. We journeyed longer and met upon more hikers. We inquired about and found our group to be quite on track. It was past noon and we were ready for lunch. We stopped at the junction of Red Ridge and Moat Mountain Tails.
Afterwards, we headed over the beautiful wooded ridge and up some long and steep rocks the next 1.1 miles and met up with our people on top. We enjoyed a 360-degree view with clear skies and limited wind. We all started back together a bit gingerly down the steep ledges of Moat Mountain Trail with a little skidding -- okay, maybe an actual fall or two.
Those in front waited up at brook crossings and/or junctions until those behind caught up and piggybacked our way to the bottom. When we got to the parking lot, the two furthest behind had lost track of the last. Given that it was around 4:30 and limited daylight hours ahead, they kindly volunteered to head back with a flashlight in case the last hiker didn't have one. The others held a vote of whether to wait there or to go get refreshments. We got a great suggestion to head over to Moat Mountain Micro Brewery in North Conway and a couple of us turned our cell phones on. We got a call shortly that everyone was out and safe and another then joined us to celebrate another fine day in the mountains.
Everyone was appreciative of the trails, the peak and the views. I think somewhere slipping down the side of the North Moat ledges we decided perhaps it is a "moderate/strenuous" rather than a moderate hike, especially factoring in the 10+ miles/7.5+ hours we were putting in. Oh, and as for our "crossover" hike with two other New England hiking groups? Well, they didn't attend. However, we crossed over with the fabulous Green Mountain Club at regular intervals. They hike in NH and Vermont one to three times per week all year long primarily in Vermont and New Hampshire and have outdoor activities such as biking, snowshoeing, paddling and skiing.
Members may see more photos in our online photo album.