As mentioned in the previous post on North Conway, the tourist hub in New Hampshire, there are several excellent places to go hiking in the White Mountains. The Moat Mountains are one of those places.
My wife and I hiked to the summits of two of them, South Moat and Middle Moat, when we were spending a weekend in the area.
Hiking the Moat Mountain Trail
The Moat Mountain Trail starts at a parking lot off Passaconaway Road, where there’s plenty of space to leave your rental car, and runs across a logging site for a couple hundred yards (meters) before entering a dense wood of deciduous trees.
After approximately a mile (1.6 kilometers), it starts to ascend the mountain’s flank. After about a mile and a half (2.4 kilometers), the first views start to appear through the trees.
The trail keeps leading up until the trees disappear and show a magnificent view of the Swift River Valley. We enjoyed this amazing panoramic view while eating a few snacks.
The trail entered the woods again and continued on climbing. After 2.7 miles (4.3 kilometers), we arrived at the summit. It’s a bare rocky summit with spectacular views in every direction.
At 2,749 feet (838 meters), South Moat Mountain is not the tallest mountain, but it does offer some of the most incredible panoramic views I’ve ever seen. Due to the steep grade of most of the trail, this 2.7-mile hike took us more about two hours, including rest breaks.
After a long and necessary break, we continued on toward Middle Moat Mountain, located only 0.6 miles (1 kilometers) away. Middle Moat Mountain’s 2,805-foot (855-meter) summit was less impressive than the first one, although the views weren’t bad in any case.
The way down was steep, long and tiring. We got back to our car after a five-hour and 6.6-mile (10.6-kilometer) roundtrip.
Hiking to South Moat Mountain and Middle Moat Mountain is definitely suggested you’re ever in the area and looking for an exciting afternoon activity.