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Thread: North Moat Loop Direction

  1. #1
    Senior Member Grey J's Avatar
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    North Moat Loop Direction

    Is there a preferred direction for doing the North Moat loop using the Red Ridge and Moat Mountain Trails? My initial thought is to ascend via Red Ridge Trail. I have the Moats on my radar for my upcoming visit and while I'd prefer to do the whole traverse and get all 3 peaks on one hike, I'll be solo on that one so I will probably do North Moat this time and come back and do South and Middle Moat as a separate hike. If I do North Moat, it will be a weekday which I hope will make parking easier at Diana's Baths.
    "I am a pilgrim and a stranger"

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    Having hiked that loop once and traversed the Moats several times, my vote is to climb North Moat first then descend Red Ridge. Its extended open terrain affords continuous views in the direction you're travelling.

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    IMHO CCW is the way to go. (Up North Moat then down Red Ridge). Dianna's baths are busy pretty much any nice day. They have parking attendants on weekends and holidays. Best idea is head out early.

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    Senior Member DayTrip's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Grey J View Post
    while I'd prefer to do the whole traverse and get all 3 peaks on one hike.
    Why not do an out and back from Passaconaway Rd (South)? I've done that before and it is not too bad. Lot of open ledges on way up South Moat and then most of ridge is pretty comfortable with a few dull/awkward sections near North Moat. And you get all the great views twice heading back. Really awesome hike actually.
    NH 48 4k: 48/48; NH W48k: 46/48; NY 46: 6/46

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    Senior Member JustJoe's Avatar
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    I just did that loop CW Friday. This was the 3rd time for the loop and I always do it CW. I almost decided to change it up and go CCW but Friday was going to be pretty hot and didn't want to be in the exposed to the sun that long. Plus, once you get the intersection with the Attitash Trail, you've got Luzy Brook to play in. And although not as open, you do get views descending off N. Moat via the MMT.



    If you want a quick dunk before you finish, this is a great spot and mile before the insanity.


    I'm an early to the hike kinda person so I was in the lot at 7AM, first one. I was out by 1PM and people were doing circles waiting for a spot. With locals, kids out school, and family vacations, probably not going to make a whole of difference going on a weekday right now. I'm not sure what the draw is. Pretty obnoxious crowd there as I passed by....as quickly as possible.

    I might add this is one of my favorite loops in the Whites. Prime blueberry pickin as well.
    Last edited by JustJoe; 07-23-2019 at 08:05 AM.
    Joe

  6. #6
    Senior Member skiguy's Avatar
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    Descending via Red Ridge is the best view in the entire range IMO.
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    I like to get the steep climb up North Moat done early and then take my time coming down Red Ridge. Its dry hike from where you start heading up North Moat to the base of Red Ridge so I am looking forward to the stream crossing and the long shady walk out with two additional stream crossings.

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    Senior Member Grey J's Avatar
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    I appreciate the feedback from all parties and especially Joe for the photos. Day Trip, I had not considered the out and back option from the south but thank you for placing it in consideration. While the distance is comparable to the loop, 10.6 miles vs 10.2, the elevation gain is nearly 1000 additional feet with the all the extra ups and downs (3850 vs 2900). As you point out, the benefit is extra ridge time and a different set of views in the opposite direction. I must admit that I am partial to loop hikes. If I like this hike as much as I suspect I will, I might try to talk my buddy into doing the traverse with a car spot next year. I'm usually out at the crack of dawn, so if I do start at the north end, I'll make sure I beat the Diana's Baths plungers to a parking spot.

    One more Q: Is that fee or free parking off West Side Rd? Local or state land? Not WMNF is it?
    "I am a pilgrim and a stranger"

  9. #9
    Senior Member skiguy's Avatar
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    "I'm getting up and going to work everyday and I am stoked. That does not suck!"__Shane McConkey

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    Senior Member Bob Kittredge's Avatar
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    I've always done it clockwise. Red Ridge is a great place for blueberries, so you can stop, catch your breath, take in the views, and nom some berries at frequent intervals.
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  11. #11
    Senior Member Grey J's Avatar
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    Thanks skiguy. For some reason I thought that was outside the WMNF. That's great. I have my Senior National Park pass.
    Mmm, blueberries are another bonus if they are still on the bushes in mid-August.
    "I am a pilgrim and a stranger"

  12. #12
    Senior Member DayTrip's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Grey J View Post
    . Day Trip, I had not considered the out and back option from the south but thank you for placing it in consideration. While the distance is comparable to the loop, 10.6 miles vs 10.2, the elevation gain is nearly 1000 additional feet with the all the extra ups and downs (3850 vs 2900).
    The bulk of that vertical is ascending to South Moat, which is pretty steep. It's not too bad after that. I believe the pitch coming down from Middle heading to North and the shoulder just before North are the other steep areas but they don't last long. Whatever way you go and whatever peaks you do or don't do you'll enjoy it. It's a great ridge.
    NH 48 4k: 48/48; NH W48k: 46/48; NY 46: 6/46

  13. #13
    Senior Member iAmKrzys's Avatar
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    If you would like to avoid the crowds at Diana's Baths another idea is to enter the loop via Bryce Path / Whitehorse Ledge / Red Ridge Trail Link. See attached map link that I just drew to show you the route: https://www.alltrails.com/explore/map/map--18166. AllTrails clams it is 11 miles & 3900 ft of elevation gain. There is parking fee box at the base of Cathedral Ledge, but my reading of the instructions was that it was more like a donation to the state of New Hampshire rather than a parking fee - perhaps someone local would have a better idea of exact parking rules at that spot.

  14. #14
    Senior Member Grey J's Avatar
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    So I finally did this hike last Monday but I stayed intentionally disconnected for most of the week except to look at weather forecasts. I went counter-clockwise up Moat Mt Trail and down Red Ridge. This worked out well and the best views of the day other than North Moat summit were indeed descending Red Ridge on those open tiered rock slabs with continual views to the north and east. It was hot coming down in the early pm as one is very exposed to the sun until you get below tree line on Red Ridge but I liked my position better than those I passed who were ascending Red Ridge in the same conditions. I was sweating like crazy and guzzling water. There are some interesting scrambles between North Moat summit and Red Ridge junction including 2 that classify as chimneys in my book. It was a real nice loop, and surprisingly challenging for a peak that's not even 3200 feet. The slabs ascending Moat Mt Trail were slick and slippery and required focus. Click image for larger version. 

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ID:	6256 North Moat from Red Ridge junction. Thanks for the suggestions including those whose advice I chose not to follow.

    No problem parking since I got there first at 6:45 am. Crowded as you'd expect when I finished.
    Last edited by Grey J; 08-26-2019 at 04:40 PM.
    "I am a pilgrim and a stranger"

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