While New Hampshire is known for skiing and fall foliage splendor, it also has some of the best hiking trails around – literally dozens. Here are the 10 best hiking trails in New Hampshire according to AllTrails.
1. Mount Lafayette and Franconia Ridge Trail Loop - This is one of the most popular day hikes. The 9.3-mile loop starts near the Lafayette Campground in Franconia Notch State Park and takes you along the Falling Waters Trails and past the Stairs Falls and the cloudland Falls. You’ll ascend three peaks; the final being Mount Lafayette where you’ll have awesome views of the Presidential Range including Mount Washington.
2. Presidential Traverse Trail – This nearly 20.5-mile trail is not for the faint of heart and should not be attempted as a day hike. Most enjoy this trail as a multi-day backpacker. It will take you over the Presidential Range that has the highest peaks in New Hampshire. The trail offers several Appalachian Mountain Club (AMC) huts including the Lakes of the Clouds hut, where you can stop for a water/snack break.
3. Champney Brook Trail to Mount Chocorua – This easy trail has a few steep ascents through brooks and the woods, but children and even your dog should have no problem traversing. This trail features a tall, cascading waterfall with several small pools. The hike is best in early spring and summer where the waterfall is at its best. It’s also a good winter hike.
4. Mount Osceola and East Osceola – This 8.3-mile route near Waterville Valley is considered challenging and takes about 5-1/2 hours to complete. The best time to visit is April through October.
5. Mount Whiteface and Passaconaway Loop – A fun, but challenging route, the 11.3-mile trail takes you deep into the White Mountains to two wooded summits: Mount Whiteface and Mount Passaconaway. Climb Mount Whiteface through the Blueberry Ledges Trail where you’ll pass small waterfalls and. The last half mile up to the summit is steep but you’ll be rewarded with great views. Continue on Rollis Trail to Mount Passaconaway.
6. Mount Washington via Ammonoosuc Ravine Trail – The 8.2-mile out-and-back trail begins near Bretton Woods and is considered challenging. The trail leads to the Lake of the Clouds Hut and to the Mount Washington summit. The hut is open to the public and is a fun stop to enjoy a snack and water break. It is suggested during the winter months to check conditions before going and have proper gear and clothing including an ice axe and crampons.
7. Mount Tom, Mount Field, Mount Willey, and Mount Avalon Trail – Visit three 4,000-foot summits on the nearly 10-mile-long long trail. Begin your journey at the AMC Highland Center and head west on the A-Z Trail that takes you to Mount Tom. Then head southwest on the Willey Range Trail to the summits of Mount Field and Mount Willey.
8. North Kinsman and South Kinsman Trail via Appalachian Trail – The nearly 9.5-mile trail takes you to the two Kinsman peaks. Park at Lafayette Place Campground and take the Lonesome Lake Trail north and turn left to the Cascade Brook Trail that leads to the AMC Lonesome Lake Hut. You can stop there for a break or stay overnight. From there, continue up to the summits. The trail takes you past Lonesome Lake, an old glacial cirque, and Kinsman Pond. If you want to extend your hike, take the Mount Kinsman Trail to Cannon Mountain. You can stay overnight at the Kinsman Shelter.
9. Mount Washington via Jewell Trail, Gulfside Trail, and Crawford Path – Another popular hike making the 10 best hiking trails in New Hampshire list is this challenging, nearly 10-mile loop trail takes you to the summit of Mount Washington. At more than 6,200-feet, it’s the highest peak east of the Mississippi River. The summit has awesome views and offers a gift shop, and of course, the famous weather observatory.
10. Bridal Veil Falls Trail – Kids will enjoy this hike. Although some areas are rocky, the majority of the 5-mile trail has a fairly consistent grade leading to the waterfall.
Check Your Gear
Before going on any hike, make sure you have the proper gear and attire. One of the most overlooked things is hiking socks. Most people think any sock will do and find out the hard way that is not so. Hiking socks are designed to keep feet dry and comfortable. One of the best hiking socks is FlipSockz. It’s ingenious design not only offers cushioning and wicking, but a flap attached to the ankle portion that flips over the top of your hiking boot to keep out dirt and debris. Check out FlipSockz.