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Bald Knob

The best views-to-effort ratio in the entire Ossipee Range hands down.

Trail Running Moderate

6.2 km
358 m
359 m
1-2 hrs
Low Point
214 m
High Point
545 m
Bald Knob Map

Bald Knob is one of the most visited spots in the Ossipee Mountain Range and with good reason. While it is a steep ascent, it is not very long and the view at the top is well worth the effort. I strongly encourage this directionality as running down from Bald Knob to the car is not as enjoyable as heading down the Shannon Brook Trail.


Start by parking on the side of the road right near the Tuftonboro/Moultonboro town line (right where the Moultonboro welcome sign is). Keep in mind that this area is small and you might need to find another place to park if it is busy. From here, the trail is pretty straightforward and well-marked. Make the ascent all the way up to Bald Knob. There is one major viewpoint just below the final climb that is worth checking out as well (pictured). From that viewpoint up to Bald Knob, the climb is actually quite steep and has some loose rock so be careful here. However, it is pretty short and only about a 25m vertical push.

You have now arrived at Bald Knob! Enjoy the incredible views of Lake Winnipesaukee from here. The view has a massive field-of-view and looks almost directly south. If you have hiked/lived around the lake, you might see some distinct landmarks. Directly across is Gunstock Mountain and just left of that is Mount Major. Also, on the lake, you will be able to spot Rattlesnake Island with its recognizable shape. This is probably the spot I would recommend the most for sunsets as it is easy to get to and come down from.

From here, we will start to make our way out towards the Castle In the Clouds and Shannon Brooke. If you choose, you can always go back down the way we came if you do not wish to do the loop.

From Bald Knob, head down the carriage road that approaches the viewpoint from the opposite way we came - this is the Bald Knob Trail and it is accessed from the Castle parking area a few different ways. The descent from here is nice and smooth. Take the left onto the Shannon Brook Trail when you come to it. Make sure not to miss this fork as you will start to head over to the other side of the watershed and much further from your car.

The Shannon Brooke Trail will be mostly downhill but does have a few small climbs as it meanders around the ridge and eventually down towards the Shannon Brooke. Once you are next to the river, follow the trail all the way out to the road. Some road running is required here to do a loop and get back to the car but maybe you have a friend who can pick you up here.

This is one of the shorter loops to do in the Ossipees but the views certainly rival any of the larger runs as well. This is a great introduction to running in the Ossipee Range as you do not get too deep into the wilderness and off the beaten path which is very easy to do here. This route keeps you pretty close to help should you need it. Most other routes in the Ossipees quickly become remote.



Medium Exposure

2 out of 4

The trail contains some obstacles such as outcroppings and rock which could cause injury.


2 out of 4

Away from help but easily accessed.

Best time to visit

between May and September

Similar routes nearby

Guidebooks in this area