Hiking with Dogs: Mount Major – Alton, NH

Us humans fret over everything, don’t we? We have to know all the details, figure out the best approach, develop itineraries, analyze the weather forecasts, and so much more. It makes me purely envious of my dogs. In their minds (which are not simple at all, let me tell you) seeing their hiking backpacks come off the wall and get loaded up with goodies (in this case, all the Merrick Backcountry one could need for a hike) can only mean two things…

CAR RIDE!

MountMajor (1 of 12)

Please pardon my back seats. They’ve seen far too much dog drool, spit, puke, and everything else. I don’t know what a clean car is anymore.

HIKING!

MountMajor (5 of 12)

So, after much annoying human behavior and bad weather (New England is the new Amazon rain forest) we finally decided to just pack up the dogs and hit a local mountain we had never done. Despite an intimidatingly packed parking lot and pouring rain, it actually kind of rocked. So folks, let me tell you all about Mount Major.

Mount Major is located in Alton, NH – right on Lake Winnipesaukee. Seeing as it’s on NH-11, there’s a bunch of ways to get here. Rob and I decided to go with the more scenic route since we hadn’t had a chance to drive the southern part of the lake yet. It was lovely… even in rain. The trail head is easy to find with a nice big sign, but parking can be difficult. We went on July 4th and parking was well out on to the road, yet we still managed to snag a spot right near the trail head as someone left – and then ran into hardly anyone on the trail. And for you detail oriented humans, cell phone reception is great but there are no public restrooms.

Rob helping Yuri and Kina up a more difficult section of Boulder Loop Trail. Can I just say how proud I am of these two furry children of mine for knowing hiking commands better than anything else?

Rob helping Yuri and Kina up a more difficult section of Boulder Loop Trail. Can I just say how proud I am of these two furry children of mine for knowing hiking commands better than anything else?

Despite being what most of us hikers would consider a little mountain (1786′), the trails are surprisingly diverse. We chose to head up Boulder Loop Trail and back down Brook Trail for a grand total of about 4 miles. Boulder Loop was a great choice for going up as the pups loved jumping up the rocks and we found a nice spot just short of the top to take a lunch break amidst blueberry bushes and birches.

Kina chowing away on Merrick Backcountry in the laziest pose ever. Despite what she'd like you to believe, her backpack was not weight down with bricks, our gear, or tons of Merrick!

Kina chowing away on Merrick Backcountry in the laziest pose ever. Despite what she’d like you to believe, her backpack was not weighed down with bricks, our gear, or 22-lb bags of Merrick!

As for the summit, I don’t know why we haven’t done this mountain before. Even in pouring rain and wind, the view of Lake Winnipesaukee were incredible and totally unobstructed. If you’re trying to get someone hooked on hiking, this might do it. We’ve already discussed returning for some sunrise or sunset hikes or perhaps during a meteor shower. We’ll definitely be hiking it in the winter!

Brook Trail was perfect going down. There weren’t any of the slippery boulders and tight squeezes we encountered on the way up, which was appreciated since the rain had picked up. Yuri and Kina also really enjoyed the chance to prance through some mud puddles and hang out in some well-deserved cool brooks. It’s tough being a big furry canine in the summer!

MountMajor (11 of 12)

That is the look of two very satisfied canines and a mischievous human.

All in all, it was a perfect hike. Yuri and Kina definitely had a blast and the hike wore them out (that was the humans’ evil plot the entire time). We can’t wait to return and hike the hardest trail!

An exhausted Yuri who later slept through ALL the fireworks. Mission accomplished.

An exhausted Yuri who later slept through ALL the fireworks. Mission accomplished.

For more great information on Mount Major and Belknap Trail Range, please check out the links below:

Remember that post we did on Kina and Yuri’s participation in the Merrick Pet Care ambassador program? Well, this trip was fueled by those lovely folks as we set out to prove we have the best dogs ever. We were provided product and compensation by Merrick Pet Care for this article, but as always we wouldn’t endorse, support, or write about anything we don’t love.

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About Jillian Bejtlich

Hey! I'm Jillian Bejtlich. I’m a lifelong New Englander with a serious love of the outdoors, adventure, and a pretty serious inability to sit still. I’m plagued by the travel bug, and it seems I’ll try any relatively sane and safe thing once. My big goal in life: Get people outside!