Mount Moosilauke, located about 8 miles west of Lincoln, NH (just south of Franconia Notch State Park), is a popular White Mountain hiking and backcountry skiing peak. It is the farthest west of the NH 4000' peaks and it's summit is a large exposed area above treeline offering wide ranging views which many consider the best in the Whites. The summit and surrounding area to the south and east of the peak are owned by Dartmouth College which means less red tape but no backcountry camping opportunities. Being off of I-93, this peak is also a short distance from Boston. This peak is on the Appalachian Trail and is ranked 10th on the NH 4000' peak list.
There are a variety of routes to the summit of this peak including 4 major routes and their approach variations. The most popular summer route consists of a lollipop hike starting at the Moosilauke Ravine Lodge and linking the 3.7 mile class 2 George Brook Trail (SE Slope) with the 3.8 mile class 1 George Brook Trail / Snapper Trail / Moosilauke Carriage Road Route (SW Slope) that passes by the South Peak (4523'). Additionally, the 3.8 mile class 2 Beaver Brook Route (North Slope) is perhaps one of the most scenic routes up this mountain. For reference, use the trail map under the Getting There section
During icy conditions the Beaver Brook Trail can be tricky near the cascades, however, many backcountry skiers come up here to enjoy the exposed summit slopes during the winter. You may want to consider another route for the winter such as the 3.6 mile class 1 George Brook Trail starting at the Moosilauke Ravine Lodge just off of NH SR-118.
BEAVER BROOK TRAILHEAD: Take I-93 to exit 32, North Woodstock, connecting with NH SR-112 West heading towards Lost River Gorge. The parking area / trailhead is about 0.5 miles west of Lost River Gorge. You will need a WMNF Parking Pass to park here (see Red Tape section).
MOOSILAUKE RAVINE LODGE: Take I-93 to exit 32, North Woodstock, connecting with NH SR-112/118 West. In 3 miles turn on to SR-118 which you will follow for 7.2 miles before turning right on to Ravine Road. Ravine Road is just after the crest of a hill and the lodge is at the end of this road. During the winter Ravine Road is gated 1.5 miles from the lodge adding that distance to your climb. For more information see the White Mountains Info Server.
PARKING PASS (MANDATORY AT SOME LOCATIONS): Like many US National Forests, the White Mountain National Forest now requires a parking pass to park at many of its trailheads, including the the Beaver Brook Trailhead at Kinsman Notch and parking outside the gate on Ravine Road during the winter. There are a variety of options ranging from a $20 annual pass to a $3 daily pass as of 2001. The USFS White Mountain NF Parking Pass Program page has more information on how you can order these passes. You can pay for the $3 daily pass at many trailheads.
No red tape for DOC Moosilauke Ravine Lodge approaches unless you are parking outside the gate during winter.
When To Climb and Ski
Year round though be prepared for snow during the winter months. Fair weather hiking generally lasts from May to October while skiing is popular from January to March. As stated above, be careful on the Beaver Brook trail during icy conditions.
There is no camping allowed inside the Dartmouth College area however you can stay at the Beaver Brook Shelter or camp in the surrounding WMNF backcountry. If you do this make sure you check the USFS White Mountain Backcountry Camping Rules.
For current conditions information contact the Moosilauke Ravine Lodge or check the general White Mountains resources on the Mount Lafayette Page.