In preparation for the upcoming only-in-New-England Moose Festival this August 27-28, we have put together a list of the top places to go moose-watching in the North Country. Break out your binoculars and your wide-angle cameras, and plan to check out these moose hangout spots on your trip up to the Moose Festival!
Moose Alley: Pittsburg, NH
The famed “Moose Alley” is actually a 12-mile stretch of road and woods surrounding the Daniel Webster Highway (US Route 3) north of Pittsburg, NH to the US-Canada border.
Visitors are warned to drive carefully, as moose cross the road at all times of the day and can become confused when trying to find their ways back into the woods. Much of the woods along Moose Alley is extremely dense, making it difficult for these large and somewhat ungainly creatures to get through. It is not uncommon to see a moose circling along the road in attempt to find its way back home.
Right off the north shore of First Connecticut Lake, Moose Alley is definitely renowned as one of the best places in the country to see moose, but you might have to put some thought into it. Certain times of day (dawn and dusk) and of the year (early spring and late fall) are better than others for moose-sighting.
If you are planning a moose-watching excursion, you might want to brush up on your moose knowledge. Did you know…
- Moose are technically part of the deer family
- Moose can grow as tall as 6.5 feet from hoof to shoulder and weigh as much as 1,600 pounds!
- Moose ‘hoof it’ for the roads in early spring to lick the salt left behind by melting snows
- Moose can be very unpredictable, and at times aggressive (particularly when guarding their young)
- Moose can run at a speed of up to 35 miles per hour, 4 times the speed of a human!
- Sometimes moose watching can keep you out late into the night and just like fishing, it gets you out of bed bright and early. Luckily, there are several places to stay to make your home base for any North Country adventure.
Route 26, Dixville Notch, NH
The 11 miles along Route 26 between Errol, NH and Dixville Notch State Park is another stretch of road in wooded forestland that provide great odds at seeing moose. It is also part of the 90-mile Cultural Byway between Gorham, NH and Pittsburg, NH known as the “Moose Trail Path.”
Dixville Notch State Park is a beautiful northern section of the White Mountains with multiple pull-offs and hikes to rivers, waterfalls, gorges, and scenic overlooks.
If you don’t have much luck with Route 26 or if you want to extend your moose-watching excursion, try the 15-mile stretch along Route 16 between Errol, NH and the Pontook Reservoir. The road follows Bear Brook of the Androscoggin River. Swampy, marshy backwaters along the river provide some of the best spots for possible moose congregations. You can also head west on 26 to Colebrook, and the Connecticut River.
While moose-sighting is not a consistent or guaranteed endeavor (they are wild animals), there are a few tips and tricks that will help you increase your odds of catching a glimpse.
- Take a quiet drive just before dawn or for the hour around sunset
- Look for muddy, wet “wallows” on the side of the road. Often time, you can see tracks and paths created by the moose
- Lurk at a quiet wallow or roadside pull-off, preferably where other cars are not stationed. Noise will scare them away!
Take An Adventure Into The Wild – Go With The Pros
Family riding the trails
The moose are out there, even if you’re having trouble sighting them on your first few tries. There are miles and miles of wooded forest for them to tromp through (including some locals’ back yards) so your mileage may vary, especially if you are taking off on your own.
When you really want to see a moose though (and let’s face it, who doesn’t want to see the tallest animal in North America?) you might want to call the professionals. Consider renting some ATVs and hiring a guide, local guides can lead you and your family to all the best moose-sighting spots in the region!
Bear Rock Adventures is a family-oriented business in Pittsburgh, NH providing rentals and guides in ATV-country in the Great North Woods of New Hampshire. They have been riding along these trails for years, so you can rest assured that they are experts on the very best places to go for scenic views and wildlife spotting in the North Country.
The Moose Festival takes place the weekend before Labor Day in Colebrook, NH & Canaan, VT. It is the place to be for horse-drawn wagon rides, live music, moose chili, an outdoor crafts fair, classic car show, moose-calling competition, and – of course – everything moose!
Take a jaunt through classic New England Americana festivities, then hop aboard a moose-sighting express! After all, it’s not every day that you see either (or both) of these national treasures!