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South Moat Mountain, Conway NH

Updated: Oct 8, 2022

Here is a shorter day hike with 360 degree views above tree line. If you are seeking that wide open summit feeling, but don't have the capacity for an all day hike, try this one.

At 5.4 miles out and back, I finished this hike in about 3 hours. The drive from Portland is an hour and a half, so I left the house at 6:30am and was home by 1:00pm.

Sound like a whirlwind trip? It was and it wasn't. Enjoying a scenic drive along Route 113 with my favorite playlists and podcasts, followed by some physical exertion, time in the wild and gorgeous views - that is my kind of day off. That is the kind of day that refuels me so that I can be a good mom, teacher, partner, daughter...all the hats we wear. Hiking with a friend would have made it even better, but busy schedules don't always align. Luckily, I always have Romy to keep me company. And that girl belongs among the wild flowers.

My point, if fitting this trip into a half day feels too rushed, take it slower on a weekend. If a day of refueling looks more like a day of painting, eating good food, or having friends over, do that. But do this hike too. It's a great one.

Ok, enough with the chit chat, let's get down to the details of South Moat.

Here is the All Trails link for this hike:

They list the length as 5 miles out and back, but I think it's closer to 5.4. I was hiking quickly (to try and make it home before the boys), so it may take you a while longer than 3 hours...especially if you're hiking with kids.

The trail starts out gradually for the first mile or so with clear, wide paths. Once it starts to climb, oh baby, get ready for some cardio. There are lots of rock scrambles on the upper half of this hike and it does get steep at parts. The good news, no cliffs to fall off of and I feel like kids over the age of 7 could easily manage the trail. You know your kids, so you be the judge. If they like rock scrambling (most do) and they aren't afraid of a little effort, they will probably love this hike. They will also feel pretty accomplished once they reach the top and see the view.

There is a lot of water running through this trail, so good footwear is important. I did slip a few times on the descent. Hiking poles couldn't hurt either. The good news about all of the water, it's great for dog hydration. Plus, the sound of the water...silver linings.

There are some great overlooks before reaching the summit. Some are through the trees and there is also a wide section of rock ledge with views.

Views from the summit certainly take the cake though. We stopped for lunch and Romy found a nice puddle to soak herself in. I just sat on a large rock and took it all in. Still in disbelief that I could find these kind of views from such a short hike.

I would recommend doing this hike now or waiting for summer. I'd imagine it's pretty slippery during ice and snow season. The leaves are starting to change, so it's the perfect time to, or anywhere for that matter. Enjoy!


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