Beginner Guide to Hiking in New Hampshire

Is it time for you to hit the trails for some of the most spectacular hikes in New Hampshire? Here are a few ideas to consider. This New England state was given the nickname "Granite State" for a good reason: there are a lot of rocky terrains and unusual topography to explore in this part of the nation.

People who set out to climb every one of New Hampshire's 48 peaks that rise over 4,000 feet are known as "peak baggers" because of their efforts and ability levels. The White Mountains Region contains the bulk of the state's 48 summits that rise above 4,000 feet. However, to experience your particular peak moments in this appealing section of the form, you do not need to take even a single uphill step. 

The White Mountains Region is also a shelter for people who prefer a slower pace of life than the rest of the country. The Mountain View Grand Resort in Whitefield, a historic hotel that has been beautifully refurbished, offers various spa treatments. And, just a hop and a skip away in Littleton, you may be able to discover some of your favorite childhood treats among the sweets on display at Chutters, which, according to Guinness World Records, has the world's most extended candy counter.

Even though summer is often the most pleasant time to visit New Hampshire, you may go hiking at any time of year. As the leaves grow once again in the spring, hiking in New Hampshire is a sight to see; fall colors in New Hampshire are spectacular, but experienced hikers may have stunning views of them all!

Before you journey north to the White Mountains, consider the following hiking advice. They will assist travelers in taking advantage of this location's great outdoor experiences while also ensuring their safety and preserving this essential natural resource.

#1. Start with the Fundamentals-

Start with the Fundamentals

Starting with a shorter hike, first-time visitors and novice hikers should gradually progress to longer and more arduous adventures, such as trying to summit a peak above 4,000 feet of elevation or doing a multi-day backpacking expedition into the wilderness. 

Even though the mountains in New Hampshire seem to be less in height when compared to the mountains in the western United States, the roads leading to each summit are often steep and rocky in their natural environment. 

Switchbacks are absent from most pathways, which may make climbing a mountain and descending challenging terrain on already-tired legs at the end of the day a physically and technically tricky undertaking. Become self-sufficient by learning all you can about the geography, trail distance, trail map weather conditions, local weather, and your equipment before you go out into the wilderness.

#2. What Should You Bring -

What Should You Bring

What matters is that you be fully prepared before you go on your journey, regardless of whether it is a beginner hike or a long-distance trail. You never know when the weather may change or whether you will get injured or become lost by accident due to it. 

When hiking, always remember to include lots of water, a few extra layers, navigational devices, food, a knife or multi-tool, and first-aid supplies to keep yourself safe. Keep in mind to carry sunscreen and bug repellent with you! Depending on the duration and difficulty of your walk, you should make the required modifications.

#3. Footwear


In general, hiking boots are preferable to shoes while trekking since they provide more stability. Trails may become rough or treacherous at times; boots can prevent twisted ankles or knees from developing while hiking. It's a good idea to break into your hiking shoes before heading out on the path. Do not forget to use a trekking pole, which saves you from falling.

#4. Leave No evidence

Leave No evidence

Keep the Leave No Trace principles in mind during the entire trail, whether you're hiking or backpacking, regardless of the season. Even though all seven conditions must be met, we have witnessed an increase in challenges in recent years, which we attribute to visitors who do not properly dispose of their rubbish. 

Remember to pack away any wrappers, food crumbs, and other trash you may have acquired throughout your travel. Environmental contamination caused by these objects may damage the surrounding ecology and may attract animals such as bears to a particular area. 

#5. Food and Water Are Essential

Food and Water Are Essential

Don't forget to bring plenty of water with you on your vacation. In scorching weather, you may need up to three quarts of water per person. If you are hiking with your pet, ensure enough water for the two of you to last the whole hike. 

Water taken directly from streams or pools should be avoided unless it has been treated before consumption. Parasites and micro microorganisms can live and increase in natural water sources. Make sure to have lots of food with you.

#6. In the Event of an Emergency:

Accidents, bad weather, or even going in the wrong way might put your life at risk, even if you are only planning to be out for an hour. Please don't make the mistake of assuming that they will rescue you; instead, educate yourself on how to save yourself.  Be prepared in your planning and the essential emergency items you pack.

Some of the Best Hikes in New Hampshire

#1. Mount Jackson

It is possible to hike up Mount Jackson, which is 4,000 feet of elevation, even for the tiniest of persons. The 4.5-mile round trip, which starts near the town of Twin Mountain and ends there, has an elevation gain of more than 2,000 feet, but it is relatively uncomplicated. From this vantage point, you can take in beautiful and spectacular views of the rest of the Presidential Range!

#2. South Mountain, Pawtuckaway State Park

South Mountain has earned a spot on our list because it is (A) near to campus, (B) mild, and (C) features a fire tower at the peak. (After all, who doesn't love the convenience of fire towers and not having to walk far to obtain help?) A half-hour ride from downtown Durham gets you to Pawtuckaway State Park, where you may camp for a night. Mountain Route is the name of the route that travels to South Mountain, and it is roughly 2.5 kilometers in length each way.

#3. Mount Washington: Ammonoosuc Ravine Trail

Known as one of the most rewarding climbs in New England's Presidential Range, this ascent of the Northeast's highest peak along the Ammonoosuc River presents tourists with a succession of waterfalls, cascades, and panoramas that match those experienced on any other way up the mountain.

A full day hike from the trailhead, situated right below the Base Station of the Mt. Washington Cog Railway, will take you to the summit, which is roughly nine miles round trip.

#4. Artists Bluff & Bald Mountain

It's 1.5 miles round trip in Franconia Notch, but it's worth it for the gorgeous views of the Notch, Echo Lake, and Cannon Mountain ski resort with Arethusa falls. This short loop is suitable for both beginner hikers and families with children. Parking is offered at the Peabody Base Area, accessible via Route 18.

#5. Lonesome Lake Hut

Lonesome Lake Hut

Camping, lakes, and mountains are among your favorite recreational activities. All of this is available at Lonesome Lake and fishing chances for those who are interested. Located only a few miles from Lonesome Lake and the Lonesome Lake AMC Hut, Lafayette Campground is a great place to spend the night close to nature due to its incredible views. Lonesome Lake is situated on the path up the Kinsman Mountains, which you can read more about in our post-North and South Kinsman Hiking Trails. Lonesome Lake is a popular destination for backpackers and hikers both.

#6. Mount Willard

The Mt. Willard path, a 3.2-mile out-and-back track, may prove to be a challenging climb for new hikers due to its steep ascent and descent. However, the hike will allow you to see a cascade, and when you reach the summit, you will be rewarded with beautiful panoramic views of Crawford Notch and the surrounding region. Bringing your camera is highly recommended for this occasion.

It's also a good idea to take lunch; however, you could grab a tasty sandwich and eat it at one of the AMC Highland Center's outdoor tables, conveniently positioned at the foot of the mountain. After your hike, you may want to go down to Diana's Baths, a series of waterfalls and natural bathing holes where you can cool down.

#7. Franconia Notch Ridge Trail

Even though it's a moderate hike, only eight miles along the crest of the Franconia Ridge, the promenade provides a similar multi-peak experience to the walk to the summit of Presidential Range, with the additional thrill of hiking along a knife-edge trail with mountainsides dropping away dramatically on either side of the course.

#8. Mount Tecumseh

Mt. Tecumseh is most known for its Waterville Valley ski resort in the Lincoln area. However, the mountain also offers a magnificent year-round hiking trail that covers the length of the hill. Because the trail loop runs along a river, it is straightforward for the whole family to accomplish the five-mile round trip. In addition, the next time you ski Waterville, you'll have a newfound respect for the mountain on your shoulders!


Taking a trek in White Mountain National Forest provides practically endless options for enjoyment and beautiful views. Still, as is true in many other elements of life, adequate preparation, fitness level, and common sense are essential to guarantee that we may do so safely and with the least amount of effect.

Kevin Macey
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