Mount Major and Ellacoya State Park

The cliff behind the Alton Bay Overlook is hard to miss.

The cliff behind the Alton Bay Overlook is hard to miss.

Just beyond the Alton Bay Overlook is the parking area for Mount Major, a popular hiking area, whose summit offers even better views of Lake Winnipesaukee. Trixie prefers to ride in style, so she has yet to go up to the top.

This part of Route 11 is known as the Mount Major Highway, and numerous local roads branch off and dead end in the dense woods that line it, or reach in towards the lakefront. During the winter, many are unplowed or impassible unless you have a four wheel drive truck, but in the autumn they can be a colorful maze to explore and admire the views.

The main route is dotted with a collection of homes new and old, from well maintained farmhouses to tottering dwellings that suffer from benign neglect and seem to be standing out of habit.

Eventually you reach an odd fork in the road, where Ellacoya State Park is located. During the summer, this is an RV park with access to the lake, but during the off season it is locked up tight. It provides another place to take a walk, or if you opt to take the slow, narrow Scenic Drive, better views of the lake during your drive. Like many secondary road, it may not be well plowed in the winter, so use your best judgment! It rejoins Route 11 and we turn right to keep following the rough route around the lake.

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