North Straightback Link & Dave Roberts’ Quarry Trail

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Trail Name: North Straightback Link (aka Stealth Trail)
Alton, NH
Trail description by: Alan Sherwood
The North Straightback Link (blazed green) begins at a point where the Brook Trail (blazed yellow) turns left away from the brook. The start of the North Straightback Link Trail is not at all obvious to the casual Yellow Trail hiker, of which there are many. You have to know that it is there and take a careful look. This trail is the most direct path to North Straightback Mt and the Dave Robert’s Quarry trail from the Mt Major parking lot.The trail beginning follows old skidder tracks but only for about 150’ at which point the trail leaves at a slight angle to the right. Shortly, the trail drops down to cross the brook; under 0.1 mi. from the start. The trail then climbs steadily; initially west by southwest then at about 0.2 mi. to the southwest, then follows along a backbone of sorts with drop-offs to both sides to shallow ravines. So if you find yourself off the trail, center yourself on the backbone and head for the high ground ahead.

At about 0.4 mi. the trail crosses a shallow pass that once was used to skid logs across. Shortly thereafter reach a ledge for a short but steep climb. There are views along this steep section to Lake Winnipesaukee and down to Mt Major. Reach the wooded summit of North Straightback Mtn. at 0.5 mi.

Distances from intersection with Brook Trail:

  • to North Straightback Mtn. summit (1910’): 0.5 mi. (0.8 km), 600 ft., 35 min.

Trail Name: Dave Roberts’ Quarry Trail
Alton and Gilford, NH.
Trail Description: Southern New Hampshire Trail Guide. 3rd Edition. 2010. Compiled and Edited by Gene Daniell and Steven D. Smith. Appalachian Mountain Club Books. Boston MA. ________________________________________________________________________________________________
The Quarry Trail (blazed white) has been dedicated to Dave Roberts, a pioneer in creating, maintaining and mapping hiking trails in the Belknap Range. It provides an interesting ridge traverse from the south peak of Straightback Mtn. to Mt.Klem, passing several viewpoints and crossing over or near the summits of the north peak of Straightback Mm. (1,910 ft.) and the unofficially named summits of East Quarry Mtn., West Quarry Mtn., and Rand Mtn. It makes possible various loop hikes over the east-central section of the range. There are several short, steep, and rough stretches, and other sections may require care to follow, though the trail has been improved in recent years and is now well-blazed. Active logging has taken place along parts of the trail, especially along the Quarry Spur, around the north summit of StraightbackMtn., east of East Quarry Mtn., and between East Quarry and West Quarry Mtns. Particular care must be taken to follow markings in these areas; problem spots are often marked with yellow tape.

At its east end, the Quarry Trail (blazed white) diverges north from the Belknap Range Trail at an open ledgy area 0.1 mi. west of the south summit of StraightbackMtn. It descends into the woods, then ascends easily through the woods and across open areas where it must be followed with care. At 0.4 mi. an orange-blazed branch path, the Quarry Spur (sign), 0.3 mi. long, diverges right, descending and then climbing to the Belknap Range Trail at a point 0.3 mi. west of the Straightback-Major col. The main trail continues and shortly passes on the right of the N. Straightback link (blazed green that connects with the Brook trail to the wooded north summit of Straightback Mtn. (Sign), where it turns left and descends steeply to a saddle. It next ascends the south slope of the long low ridge northwest of Straightback, and at 0.9 mi. turns sharp left at a ledge with a view northeast. The trail soon passes a steep, rough side path that descends right to some boulder caves in a rockfall (use caution), and a short spur, also on the right, that descends to a ledge with a steep dropoff below and a fine view east.

The trail climbs through spruces, with one short scramble, to the partly wooded summit of East Quarry Mtn. (Sign) at 1.1 mi, then descends a short, steep pitch to a ferny sag. It ascends across a knob through several open, brushy areas where the blazes must be carefully followed, descends slightly, and swings left (south) across a plateau where the footing may be wet. At 1.6 mi. it swings left to a ledge overlooking a beaver pond at the base of Straightback Mtn., climbs over the wooded summit of West Quarry Mtn. (sign) at 1.7 mi., then descends and bears right (northwest) past an outlook on the left towards Mt. Mack and Mt. Klem. It continues down through old-growth spruces to an informational sign and left turn at 2.0 mi. Here a less steep bypass path, marked with flagging, continues ahead while the main trail descends a very steep pitch, soon swinging right across exposed sloping ledges with a view west; this spot is potentially dangerous if wet. It descends another steep pitch over mossy ledges, and the bypass path joins from the right at 2.1 mi. The trail now swings left and descends to an old quarry site on the left, and continues down to a saddle at 2.3 mi. It ascends, crossing a logging road, crosses the wooded summit of Rand Mtn. (sign) at 2.7 mi., then turns sharp left and winds down to a right turn and a fine outlook south at 2.8 mi. The trail descends and ascends briefly, then drops very steeply to a notch where there is a small, stagnant brook. It climbs steadily up the east slope of Mt.Klem, crossing a stone wall, then eases and runs through an open area to meet the MountKlem – Mt. Mack Loop Trail (blazed red) just east of the wooded summit of Mt.Klem. Turn left for Mt. Mack or right for the most direct descent to Round Pond (or continue straight ahead on a little used path  100 yards to the True summit of Mt. Klem).

Distances from Belknap Range Trail near south summit of StraightbackMtn. (1,830 ft.):

  • to  East Quarry Mtn. summit (1,890 ft.): 1.1 mi. (1.8 km), 250 ft. (rev. 200), 40 min.
  • to West Quarry Mtn. summit (1,894 ft.): 1.7 mi. (2.7 km.), 350 ft. (rev. 100 ft.), 1 hr. 5 min.
  • to Rand Mtn. summit (1,883 ft .): 2.7 mi. (4.3 km.), 650 ft. (rev. 300 ft), 1 hr. 40 min.
  • to Mount Klem Loop (1,970 ft.): 3.3 mi. (5.3 km.), 950 ft. (rev. 200 ft.): 2 hr. 10 min.