QUICK TRAIL FACTS
- Preserve Size: 15,000 acres
- Trail Mileage: ~14 miles in network
- Pets: yes
- Difficulty: moderate
- Sights: views, remote ponds, waterfall
There are several ways to tackle the stretched-out ridge of Little Moose Mountain, which extends more than five miles. The best hike bypasses the viewless, wooded summit (2,113 feet) and brings you to a fabulous rock outcrop with views of the Little Moose Public Reserved Land’s 15,000 acres, its ponds, Big Moose Mountain, and beyond.
I recommend you start your walk from the trailhead off Mountain Road, and follow the Loop Trail counter-clockwise along Big Moose Pond and around Little Moose Pond. There is a small beach on Big Moose Pond that could be good for swimming. This route will bring you up — rather steeply but quickly — to the ridge of Little Moose. You’ll come to a side trail with a sign for a “scenic outlook.” Take this to the best views of the trail! But if you continue along the loop, there are more views to check out before you descend again to complete the loop.
If you do this loop walk, it’s roughly 3.7 miles, according to the AMC.
If you want to start your walk at the trailhead closest to Greenville, you can park at a large lot off Route 15, eliminating a long drive on dirt/gravel roads. Little Moose Mountain Trail brings you up gradually along the spine of Little Moose, with frequent nice views. On your descent on the other side of the summit, you’ll pass Papoose Pond (and maybe some waterfowl). At 3.8 miles, the path intersects the Loop trail. Take a left to climb up a short, steep section for views and to the final lovely scenic outlook, off the side trail, at 5 miles. (Distances according to my GPS).
Other trails in the vicinity include the Mountain Link Trail, which connects the ponds and the Little Moose Mountain trails to the Big Moose Mountain trailhead. (The trail comes out on North Road, about 500 feet north of the parking lot and trailhead.) You can also hike up Little Moose the long back way, along Notch Ponds Trail, which departs from the farthest trailhead in the Public Lands by Big Indian Pond. This trail includes a fabulous waterfallclose to its start. Then it proceeds more or less evenly to the very pretty Big Notch Pond, which has a campsite and a sweet beach for great pond access and swimming.
From here, the path gets rougher and more overgrown, but it is still passable. The trail climbs steeply from the pond before emerging on an old road (that was completely overcome with prickly raspberries when we visited). Take a left here and continue for 100 or so yards. You’ll see the trail (which is marked) on your right. After a short while, you will start descending to a stream before climbing again. At 4.6 miles, you’ll intersect with the Loop Trail. The scenic overlook is just about a quarter mile on the right.
Directions: There are three main trailheads for Little Moose Mountain. The easiest to access is 0.3 miles off Route 15, about 2 miles west of downtown Greenville. The second easiest is off Mountain Road. From downtown Greenville, drive 5 mils to North Road. Turn left into the Little Moose Public Lands, and drive 1.7 miles (past the trailhead for Big Moose Mountain). Bear left at the fork and go another 1 mile to the trailhead and small parking area on the left. The farthest trailhead is close to Big Indian Pond. Drive past the Big Moose Mountain trailhead and continue straight when the road forks (Mountain Road is on the left). Drive another 2.1 miles, and go left at the intersection (for Eagle Rock’s trailhead, continue straight here). It’s another 3.3 miles or so from this intersection to the trailhead. In 1.7 miles, you’ll come to the road to Trout Pond on your right. Continue straight. In 2.61 miles, take a left at the four-way intersection. You’ll pass a road on your left in 3.07 miles, keep going straight here. A short distance farther, drive past a rutted road on your left (if you have a good car, you can turn up here for one of the trailheads, but then you’ll miss the waterfall). So, I recommend going straight here and parking in the small lot. You’ll see the trailhead kiosk and a blocked road, which is the start of the Notch Ponds Trail.