A Chilling Sunrise from Mt.Major

As my dad and I continue on our quest to achieve a sunrise every month, and my next choice was going to be somewhere in southern New Hampshire. I was able to widdle down the list of candidates until I chose Mt.Major in the Belknap Range, a beautiful, bald peak with a grand view looking over Lake Winnipesaukee toward the White Mountains. While the summit is loaded with people in the summer, it's a different story at seven o'clock in the morning.

The sunrise above Alton Bay.

We arrived at the trailhead at four, and got hiking about thirty minutes later. The Mt.Major Trail served as our route to the summit. It was wide for the first seven tenths, then morphed into a trail at the halfway point. Despite the fact that it had snowed a day or two prior, the trail was well worn, and packed down nicely. Snowshoes were unnecessary, but spikes were a must have.

This sign is about halfway up.

The trail is only a mile and a half, so we got to the summit early, and waited in the cover of the trees for a while. After witnessing the sky brighten through the trees, we continued up the final stretch of the trail, which winded steeply up some ledges. Spikes were needed here as well. Once we stepped foot on the summit, we could see lights illuminating the valleys below, along with the town of Alton around Alton Bay.

Mt.Shaw as viewed just before the sunrise.
A slightly blurry photo of Alton.

After taking shelter in the old foundation atop the mountain, we began to see the pink reflection of the sun off of the clouds, and the sky got brighter and brighter until the sun began to poke above the horizon.

The sun peeking over the horizon.
The sun rising in between some trees.

After enjoying the view of the sunrise for a good ten minutes, we rushed back to the other side of the summit to capture some photos of the White Mountains and Ossipee Range as they rise just beyond Lake Winnipesaukee. The wind was so frigid, and it was hard to even take photos.

The shelter on the summit, with the White Mountains behind it.
Mt.Shaw of the Ossipee Range. Mt.Whiteface and Mt.Passaconaway are to the left.

From the summit, peaks that can be seen include Smarts Mountain, the Squam Range, Sandwich Dome, Mt.Osceola, the Tripyramids, Mt.Whiteface, Mt.Passaconaway, Mt.Chocorua, and on a clear day, Mt.Washington can be seen just above the Ossipee Range.

The distant Sandwich Range from Mt.Major.
Sandwich Dome takes center stage, while the rest of the White Mountains gather around.
The same view, later in the day.

Of course, the Ossipee Range takes center stage, with peaks like Black Snout, Turtleback Mountain, and Mt.Shaw visible. To the east of this range Carter Dome, the Baldfaces, Kearsarge North, Black Cap, Green Mountain, and Cropple Crown Mountain are visible.

The Ossipee Range and Sandwich Range from the shelter.
Mt.Shaw in the middle. The most prominent peak to the right is Kearsarge North.
Lake Winnipesaukee, Green Mountain rising high on the horizon.
The rest of the Belknap Range. Mt.Belknap can be seen in the middle.
A closer look.

It got to the point where we couldn't handle the wind chill any longer, so we began to rush down the Boulder Loop Trail, which was worn, but had a good inch of powder on it. The trail wasn't slippery, but spikes are still needed. We enjoyed the heat of the sun through the trees as we trekked farther down the path, until we reached the trailhead.

Cropple Crown Mountain from Boulder Loop Trail.
The sunrise through the trees.
Bella enjoying the boulders.

Mt.Major was certainly an enjoyable experience. It's good to go to new regions of New England, on new adventures. If you're curious about why my dad and I are doing a sunrise every month, that's because my dad will be fifty in November, so I'm planning a sunrise hike every month until November. I hope you enjoyed this blog, I have a feeling this will be a great year for hiking.


  1. Nice 👍 hike and Documentary Evan! There are not that many people who witness a mountain top sunrise 🌅 in the Winter! Keep pushing your Dad to get out there, he loves it!

    1. Thanks for reading! Don't worry, I'm not stopping anytime soon, and I will always push my dad. It's fun!