New Hampshire is a hiker’s paradise, offering some of the best trails and hikes in the country. With its picturesque landscapes, rugged terrain, and scenic views, New Hampshire has something to offer every hiker, from beginners to experienced trekkers. Whether you’re looking for a leisurely stroll or a challenging ascent, New Hampshire has it all.
From the White Mountains to the Lakes Region, there are countless hiking trails to explore in New Hampshire. Some of the most popular hikes include Mount Monadnock, Mount Washington, and Franconia Ridge Loop.
Mount Monadnock is known for its stunning summit views, while Mount Washington is famous for its challenging Ammonoosuc Ravine Trail. Franconia Ridge Loop offers a challenging hike with breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains.
Whether you’re a local or a visitor, exploring New Hampshire’s hiking trails is a must-do activity. With so many options to choose from, it can be overwhelming to decide which trails to tackle.
In this article, we’ll explore the top-rated hiking trails in New Hampshire, ranging from easy hikes to challenging treks. So, grab your hiking boots and get ready to explore the best hikes in New Hampshire!
Top 10 Hikes in New Hampshire
New Hampshire is a paradise for hikers, with its rugged mountains, verdant forests, and sparkling lakes. Here are the top 10 hikes in New Hampshire that every hiker should experience at least once.
|Mount Washington||8.2 miles||4,239 feet||Difficult|
|Franconia Ridge Loop||8.9 miles||3,780 feet||Difficult|
|Mount Monadnock||4 miles||1,800 feet||Moderate|
|Arethusa Falls||3.2 miles||950 feet||Moderate|
|Mount Chocorua||8.4 miles||2,700 feet||Difficult|
|Mount Lafayette and Franconia Ridge Trail Loop||8.9 miles||3,780 feet||Difficult|
|Welch-Dickey Loop||4.4 miles||1,800 feet||Moderate|
|Kinsman Ridge Trail to Cannon Mountain||4.4 miles||2,000 feet||Moderate|
|Mount Osceola and East Osceola||7.4 miles||2,600 feet||Difficult|
|Mount Cardigan||5.9 miles||1,800 feet||Moderate|
Mount Washington is the highest peak in New Hampshire and a must-do for any serious hiker.
The Franconia Ridge Loop is another challenging hike that rewards hikers with stunning views of the White Mountains. Mount Monadnock is a popular destination for day hikers, with its well-maintained trails and panoramic views.
Arethusa Falls is a gorgeous waterfall that can be reached via a moderate hike through the forest. Mount Chocorua is another challenging hike that offers breathtaking views of the surrounding landscape. The Mount Lafayette and Franconia Ridge Trail Loop is a strenuous hike that takes hikers along the ridgeline of the Franconia Range.
The Welch-Dickey Loop is a moderate hike that offers stunning views of the White Mountains. The Kinsman Ridge Trail to Cannon Mountain is another moderate hike that takes hikers through the forest and up to the summit of Cannon Mountain. Mount Osceola and East Osceola is a challenging hike that rewards hikers with panoramic views of the White Mountains.
Finally, Mount Cardigan is a moderate hike that offers stunning views of the surrounding landscape. These top 10 hikes in New Hampshire are just a few of the many incredible hikes that this state has to offer. Whether you’re a seasoned hiker or a beginner, there’s a trail in New Hampshire that’s perfect for you.
Mount Monadnock is one of the most popular hiking destinations in New Hampshire. It is located in Monadnock State Park and is known for its stunning views and challenging trails. The mountain is 3,165 feet tall and is the most climbed mountain in North America.
There are several trails that lead to the summit of Mount Monadnock, each with its own unique features and difficulty level. The White Dot Trail is the most popular and direct route to the summit, but it is also the steepest and most challenging. The White Cross Trail is a slightly less steep alternative that offers stunning views of the surrounding landscape.
If you’re looking for a longer hike, the Dublin Trail is a great option. This trail is 4.2 miles long and offers a more gradual incline than the White Dot Trail. Another popular trail is the Pumpelly Trail, which offers a more rugged and challenging hike.
It’s important to note that hiking Mount Monadnock can be strenuous and requires proper preparation. Be sure to bring plenty of water, snacks, and appropriate clothing and footwear. Additionally, it’s important to be aware of the weather conditions and trail closures before embarking on your hike.
Franconia Ridge Loop
Franconia Ridge Loop is one of the most popular and challenging hikes in New Hampshire.
This loop hike offers some of the best views in New England, including breathtaking panoramic views of the White Mountains. The trail traverses three peaks – Mount Lafayette, Mount Lincoln, and Little Haystack, all of which are over 4,000 feet high. Hikers can expect steep, rocky terrain, but the views are well worth the effort.
The most common loop for a day hike is the Franconia Ridge Loop. This loop is approximately 8.9 miles long and can take anywhere from 6-9 hours to complete. The trailhead is located near the Lafayette Campground in Franconia Notch State Park. The hike is rated as difficult and is not recommended for beginners.
The Franconia Ridge Loop is a popular hike, so it’s important to arrive early to secure a parking spot. The trail can get crowded, especially during peak season, so it’s important to be prepared and bring enough water and food for the hike. Hikers should also wear sturdy hiking boots and dress in layers, as the weather can change quickly on the ridge.
Peakbaggers can take two 4,000 footers in only a few short miles, making this hike a favorite for those looking to add to their peakbagging list. The trail is well-marked and maintained, but hikers should still exercise caution and stay on the trail at all times.
Mount Washington is the highest peak in the Northeastern United States, located in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. It is a popular hiking destination due to its challenging trails and breathtaking views.
Here are some of the best hikes in Mount Washington State Park:
- Lake of the Clouds Trail: This 8.4-mile trail is rated as difficult and offers stunning views of the surrounding mountains. It starts at the Ammonoosuc Ravine Trailhead and leads to the Lakes of the Clouds Hut.
- Tuckerman Ravine Trail: This 4.2-mile trail is rated as moderate and is one of the most popular routes up Mount Washington. It offers spectacular views of Tuckerman Ravine and the summit.
- Lion Head Trail: This 4.5-mile trail is rated as difficult and offers some fantastic views of Tuckerman Ravine from the Lion Head rock formation.
If you are looking for an easier hike, consider the Mount Willard Trail. This 3.2-mile trail is rated as moderate and offers stunning views of Crawford Notch and the surrounding mountains.
The trailhead is located off Route 302 in Carroll, NH. It is important to note that hiking in Mount Washington can be dangerous, especially in winter. The weather can change rapidly and hikers should be prepared for extreme conditions.
It is recommended to check the weather forecast and trail conditions before embarking on any hike. The Mount Washington Observatory website provides up-to-date weather information and trail reports.
Read next – Best Hiking Washington State
Arethusa Falls is a popular hiking destination in New Hampshire. The trail is located in Crawford Notch and is known for its stunning natural beauty. The trail is 3.2 miles long and is rated as moderate, making it suitable for hikers of all levels.
The highlight of the trail is the 140-foot Arethusa Falls, which is the tallest waterfall in New Hampshire. The falls are a sight to behold, and many hikers stop to take pictures and enjoy the view. The trail to Arethusa Falls is well-maintained and easy to follow. Hikers will pass through a beautiful forest and cross several streams before reaching the falls.
The trail is also dog-friendly, so you can bring your furry friend along for the adventure. Overall, the Arethusa Falls hike is a must-do for anyone visiting New Hampshire. The trail is beautiful, and the falls are breathtaking. It’s a great way to spend a day in nature and experience the beauty of the White Mountains.
Mount Chocorua is one of the most frequently hiked and recognizable mountains in New Hampshire. Standing at 3,490 feet, it offers stunning panoramic views of the White Mountains and the surrounding area. The mountain is located in the eastern part of the White Mountains and is part of the Sandwich Range Wilderness.
The Mount Chocorua Loop Trail is a popular 10-mile route that offers a challenging hike for experienced hikers. This trail is a combination of the Liberty Trail and the Brook Trail. The Liberty Trail is a steep and rocky ascent to the summit, while the Brook Trail is a more gradual descent. This loop trail offers a variety of terrains, including rocky outcrops, forested areas, and open ledges. The trail is well-marked and maintained, making it accessible to hikers of all skill levels.
The Champney Falls Trail and the Piper Trail are two other popular routes that lead to the summit of Mount Chocorua. The Champney Falls Trail is known for its stunning waterfalls and is a great option for families with children. The Piper Trail is a more challenging route that offers stunning views of the surrounding area. Both of these trails offer a unique hiking experience and are well-worth the effort.
If you’re looking for a challenging and rewarding hike in New Hampshire, Mount Chocorua is definitely worth considering. With its stunning views, challenging terrain, and well-maintained trails, it’s no wonder why this mountain is so popular among hikers. Just make sure to come prepared with appropriate gear and plenty of water, as the hike can be strenuous.
Welch-Dickey Loop Trail
The Welch-Dickey Loop Trail is a spectacular hiking trail located in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. This 4.5-mile trail takes hikers on a journey to the summits of Welch Mountain and Dickey Mountain, providing breathtaking views along the way.
The trail is rated as moderate to difficult and is recommended for experienced hikers. The ascent to the summits is steep, but the views from the top are worth the effort. Hikers can expect to spend 3-4 hours on the trail.
The trailhead is located in Thornton/Waterville Valley and is easily accessible. The trail is well-marked and maintained, making it a popular destination for hiking enthusiasts.
Some of the highlights of the Welch-Dickey Loop Trail include:
- Stunning panoramic views of the White Mountains
- Open ledges that provide a unique perspective of the surrounding landscape
- A diverse range of flora and fauna, including alpine forests and wildflowers
If you’re looking for a challenging and rewarding hiking experience in New Hampshire, the Welch-Dickey Loop Trail is an excellent choice. Just be sure to bring plenty of water, snacks, and appropriate gear for the journey.
Located in Lincoln, New Hampshire, Mount Osceola is a popular hiking destination for outdoor enthusiasts. With a height of 4,315 feet, it is one of the seven mountains in the Sandwich Range. The hike to the summit is challenging, but the breathtaking views of the White Mountains make it worth the effort.
The most popular trail to the summit is the Mt. Osceola Trail, which is a 6.3-mile out-and-back trail near Waterville Valley. The trail features rock-hopping fun, trance-inducing views, and a steep chimney climb. It is generally considered a challenging route, so hikers should be prepared with proper gear and plenty of water.
For those looking for a longer hike, the Mount Osceola and East Osceola Loop Trail is a great option. This 8.4-mile loop trail features stunning views of the White Mountains and includes both Mount Osceola and East Osceola peaks.
Hikers can also access Mount Osceola from Tripoli Road, which offers a slightly less challenging route. The trailhead is located in Livermore, NH, and can be accessed from Route 49 in Waterville Valley.
Overall, Mount Osceola is a must-visit destination for hikers looking for a challenging but rewarding hike in the White Mountains. With stunning views and a variety of trails to choose from, it’s no wonder why it’s one of the most popular hikes in New Hampshire.
Located near Alton Bay, New Hampshire, Mount Major is a popular family-friendly hike that offers breathtaking panoramic views of the surrounding area. The hike takes an average of 2-3 hours to complete, covering a distance of 4.6 miles with an elevation gain of 1,178 feet. This moderately challenging hike is suitable for hikers of all skill levels, making it a great choice for families with children.
The summit of Mount Major offers stunning views of Lake Winnipesaukee and the surrounding forests. The hike up is a mix of rocky terrain and well-maintained trails, with several scenic overlooks along the way. Hikers can also take the Boulder Loop Trail, which provides an attractive route up the south side of the mountain from the trailhead parking area on NH 11.
It’s important to note that Mount Major can get crowded on weekends and holidays, so it’s best to arrive early to avoid the crowds. The trail is well-marked and maintained, but hikers should still bring plenty of water, snacks, and appropriate footwear. Dogs are allowed on the trail, but they must be kept on a leash at all times.
New Hampshire offers some of the best hiking trails in the United States. From easy hikes for families to challenging hikes for experienced hikers, there is something for everyone in the Granite State.
Some of the most popular hikes in New Hampshire include Franconia Ridge Loop, Mount Washington, and Arethusa Falls. These hikes offer stunning views and are well worth the effort.
However, there are also many lesser-known hikes in New Hampshire that are just as beautiful and rewarding. These hikes include Welch-Dickey Loop, Mount Chocorua, and Mount Monadnock.
Before embarking on any hike in New Hampshire, it is important to be prepared. Make sure to bring plenty of water, snacks, and appropriate clothing and footwear. Always check the weather forecast and trail conditions before heading out.
Remember to leave no trace and respect the natural environment. By following these guidelines, you can enjoy the beauty of New Hampshire’s hiking trails while preserving them for future generations to enjoy.