A Comprehensive Guide to Gunstock Mountain in Gilford, New Hampshire
Gunstock Mountain, nestled in the heart of Gilford, New Hampshire, is a true outdoor lover's paradise. The area has been a popular destination for hikers, bikers, and climbers for generations. With a rich history dating back to its construction by the Works Progress Administration in 1937, this recreational complex offers a wide range of activities for visitors to enjoy all year round.
One of the main draws of Gunstock Mountain Resort is its diverse array of winter sports. From alpine skiing to snowshoeing, cross-country skiing to snow tubing, and ski jumping, there is something for everyone. But winter is not the only time to visit; the summer months offer equally exciting opportunities for outdoor adventure. Take a hike, go fishing, go mountain biking, or simply lounge by the pool. And if you want to extend your stay, the resort offers full hook-up electric sites for campers and RVs, as well as cabins for those who want to "glamp" out in style.
But what truly sets Gunstock Mountain Resort apart is its breathtaking natural beauty. Surrounded by the stunning Lakes Region of New Hampshire, visitors are treated to breathtaking panoramic views of the surrounding mountains, forests, and streams. Whether you're a seasoned outdoor enthusiast or a first-time visitor, you will be awed by the breathtaking scenery that surrounds you. So, if you are curious to find out what all the fuss is about, continue reading and find out why Gunstock Mountain Resort is a must-see destination for outdoor adventurers from around the world.
The History of Gunstock Mountain Resort in Gilford, New Hampshire
Nestled in the picturesque Belknap Mountain range, Gunstock Mountain Resort has a rich and storied history. What began as a simple recreation project during the Great Depression, the Belknap Mountain Recreation Area quickly grew into one of New England's premier ski destinations.
The Works Progress Administration, conceived by President Franklin D. Roosevelt, was the driving force behind the development of the area. With local support and federal funds, the Belknap Mountain Project took shape, featuring a chairlift, rope tows, hiking trails, camping facilities, and an impressive main lodge. It quickly became a hub for skiing events and attracted legendary names such as Torger Tokle and Mezzy Barber.
As skiing and camping became more popular in the 1950s, the Belknap County Legislative Delegation established the Gunstock Area Commission to oversee the growing complex. Afterward, an ambitious expansion program began with the addition of a new summit chairlift and a 75-acre snowmaking system.
In 1986, Gunstock underwent a 10 million-dollar expansion, replacing lifts, expanding the base complex, and modernizing the trail system. Despite financial difficulties in the 1980s, Gunstock refocused its mission to return to financial independence. In 2003, the commission approved a 4 million dollar expansion, including a high-speed detachable quad to the summit and snowmaking capabilities on Pistol and Blundersmoke.
In recent years, Gunstock has expanded its offerings, becoming a four-season resort with winter activities such as skiing, snowboarding, tubing, and snowshoeing and summer activities such as mountain biking, aerial adventures, lift-serviced hiking trails, kayaking, and paddle boarding. As a result of its commitment to quality and a diverse range of recreational experiences, Gunstock Mountain Resort has become a destination relied upon by thousands of visitors year-round.
Things to do in Gunstock Mountain in Winter
Winter is definitely a magical time of year to visit Gunstock Mountain Resort, as the mountain comes alive with its snow-covered trails and crisp, cold air, providing a picturesque setting for an array of thrilling winter activities. Let's explore some of the winter activities Gunstock Mountain Resort has to offer.
Night skiing is a must-do experience at Gunstock Mountain. With 22 trails lit up and 5 lifts operating, you can hit the slopes under the stars and enjoy the stunning night sky overhead. Whether you're a veteran skier or a beginner, the well-groomed trails and terrain parks make it the perfect place for you to practice your skills and take in the beauty of a winter night. And after spending a long day on the slopes, head to the Powder Keg Restaurant for a warm cup of hot cocoa.
Tubing is also a popular winter activity at Gunstock Mountain. With a specialized PistenBully Tube Shaper groomer attachment, the multi-lane tubing hill is smoother, faster, and more enjoyable. Plus, the magic carpet makes the ride up a breeze, so you can get in more runs during your 2-hour tubing session. Tubes are provided, so all you have to do is enjoy the thrill of sledding down the hill.
Skinning and Snowshoeing
For those who love to explore the great outdoors, Gunstock offers uphill access for skinning, snowshoeing, and other non-motorized activities. During winter operations, an uphill access pass is required and must be visibly displayed while using uphill routes.
Gunstock also offers a variety of opportunities for adults, students, and kids to learn about and compete in alpine racing. Whether you're interested in joining a ski team, a program for children and teens to learn the fundamentals of racing, or just a chance to take part in exciting races, Gunstock has something for everyone.
For those who want to learn something new during ski season, Gunstock's Snowsports School offers intro to skiing, intermediate lessons, and even lessons in snowboarding and cross-country skiing.
Gunstock also offers a unique experience for you and your dog to enjoy skiing out on the trails with skijoring. Skijoring is a hands-free skiing experience, with Gunstock Nordic Center XC supplying you with the tools you need to have a great day with your furry friends.
Things to do in Gunstock Mountain in Summer
Gunstock Mountain is just as exciting in the summer months as it is in the winter. The area comes alive with adventure and fun, from thrilling zip-lining experiences to adrenaline-filled mountain biking trails. Take a look below to find out some of the most popular activities and attractions at Gunstock Mountain in the summer.
For thrill-seekers, Gunstock Mountain is home to one of the largest zip line tours in New England, where you can soar over the treetops and enjoy stunning views of Lake Winnipesaukee. There's also the Aerial Treetop Adventure Course, where you can test your balance and bravery as you navigate suspended bridges, ropes, and ladders high above the forest floor.
If you're looking for a more relaxed way to enjoy the outdoors, Gunstock Mountain offers hiking trails that take you through thick forests and past scenic vistas. The trails range from easy to challenging, so you can choose one that's right for your fitness level.
For those who love water activities, the nearby Weirs Beach area is perfect for swimming, sunbathing, and playing in the water. Or, if you prefer a more active water experience, you can rent a kayak or paddleboard and explore Lake Winnipesaukee.
For those who love to cycle, Gunstock Mountain has miles of scenic mountain biking trails that take you through the woods and offer challenging terrain for both beginners and experienced riders. Its spectacular views of the lake and the surrounding area make it the perfect place to spend a day exploring.
For golfers, Gunstock Mountain Resort has a public 18-hole golf course. The course is set amidst the mountain scenery and provides an exceptional golfing experience. Whether you're a hardened golfer or just starting out, you'll find challenging terrain, a variety of hazards, and picturesque views that make it an ideal course for all skill levels.
And let's not forget about camping! Gunstock Mountain Resort offers the perfect setting for a camping getaway. With scenic campsites nestled amongst the trees and close to the lakes, you'll have the best of both worlds—the peacefulness of the great outdoors and easy access to the resort's many activities.
Last but not least, Gunstock Mountain Resort offers great fishing opportunities. The area is dotted with several lakes and ponds that are stocked with fish, so you can cast your line and see what you can catch. Whether you prefer to fish in a quiet, peaceful setting or in a more action-packed environment, you'll find a spot that suits your style.
Wrap It Up!
With the spectacular views, diverse outdoor activities, and lush landscape of Gunstock Mountain Resort, it's no wonder that the area has become an iconic destination for hikers and adventurers around the world. Whatever your outdoor interests, there is something for everyone to explore and discover at Gunstock Mountain Resort. Whether you are new to the outdoors or have been doing it for years, Gunstock Mountain Resort is the best place to get out and explore the great outdoors while taking in the amazing views and unique animals that call this area home.
At Gunstock, you can wander along scenic trails, scaling the heights of majestic peaks and taking in the breathtaking views from the summit. Or you can spend your days fishing in sparkling streams, kayaking on tranquil lakes, or mountain biking along rugged paths. And for those who are looking for a true challenge, Gunstock offers exhilarating adventures like zip-lining, rock climbing, and even paragliding.
So why wait? Pack your backpacks, lace up your hiking boots, and head to Gunstock Mountain Resort for a once-in-a-lifetime outdoor experience. With its stunning scenery, rich wildlife, and endless opportunities for adventure, Gunstock is the ultimate destination for anyone who wishes to escape the hustle of everyday life and soak in the charm of the great outdoors. So come and explore all that Gunstock has to offer—you won't be disappointed!
Written by: Angelica Marsh
Photo by: Corrie H