When you’re a relatively new hiker, finding places to test out and build on your hiking skills is easy.
However, as your climbing ability becomes more advanced, finding places to exercise your skills and athleticism simultaneously becomes more difficult.
You’re ready for the bigger challenge of hiking up taller mountains, but at the same time, you don’t want to push yourself too far.
Finding impressive hiking locations that don’t require you to be a professional athlete to scale them can be quite the challenge – unless, of course, you visit New Hampshire.
New Hampshire has some stunning and exhilarating 4,000-foot mountains that make the perfect stepping stone (excuse the pun) for more advanced hikers looking to apply for the AMC Four Thousand Footer Club.
Without further ado, let’s talk about the top 5 easiest 4,000 footers in New Hampshire, and how to prepare for the challenge.
4,000 Footers in New Hampshire: The 5 Easiest Mountains
If you’re eager to test your ability to scale 4,000-foot mountains, Mount Tecumseh is a good place to start.
Mount Tecumseh is actually the smallest mountain on our list, surpassing the 4,000-foot mark by just 3 feet. Because of this,
the relevant authorities have been putting careful consideration into whether or not this mountain should continue to be classified as a 4,000-footer.
Since Mount Tecumseh could technically be removed from the list of 4,000 footers in New Hampshire, if your only goal is to apply for membership with the AMC Four Thousand Footer Club,
you may want to consider other options. However, if your reason for attempting a 4,000-foot climb is purely for your own sense of accomplishment, this mountain is an ideal choice of location.
Located in Waterville Valley, Mount Tecumseh is home to the famous Mount Tecumseh Trail, which gradually elevates by a total of 2,000 feet.
The trail goes up in stairs, so it’s a real physical challenge, but one that’s well worth it when you get to the top.
Once you reach the summit of Mount Tecumseh, you’ll be greeted by a gorgeous wooded area and a stunning view looking over the White Mountains.
Alternatively, you could choose to hike up the Sosman Trail, which is only 0.6 miles long, for even more incredible views!
This trail will lead you up to the ski slopes at Waterville Valley, which some hikers even choose to go up instead of the designated trails.
The next easiest 4,000 footer in New Hampshire is Mount Waumbek, which is the second-shortest 4,000-foot mountain in the area.
Most hikers who take on the challenge of Mount Waumbek take the Starr King Trail, which is 7.2 miles long and a relatively easy hike given the height of the mountain.
The elevation of Mt. Waumbek is a little more challenging than Mount Tecumseh, rising by 2,500 feet. The trail is made of out steps, which further amplifies the challenge.
Getting to the top of the Starr King Trail is a reward in itself. Once you get to the summit, you’ll be able to enjoy the sight of the Presidentials.
Then, you can hike all the way up to the top of Mount Waumbek, where you’ll find a peaceful, wooded area, perfect for a post-hike rest.
Mount Jackson is the third-easiest 4,000-foot mountain in New Hampshire to hike up, although it’s more of a moderate hike than an easy one.
This is a Presidential mountain, and the trail most hikers choose to take is the Webster-Jackson Trail. This is because the elevation isn’t too demanding (2,000 feet).
Mount Jackson is a hike you might feel more comfortable undertaking if you have some climbing skills under your belt since there is a small,
rocky section near the top that you will need to scramble up. With that being said, even if you’ve never climbed or scrambled before, this part of the trail shouldn’t pose a problem.
You can also turn off the trail in a loop and head towards Mount Webster, which is just under 4,000 feet high.
The views from either of these mountains are incredible, and even if you incorporate Mount Webster into your hike, it should only be a 6-mile route in total.
Mount Hale is 4,055 feet high, meaning that it easily qualifies as a 4,000-footer without being an impossible challenge for new mountain hikers.
If you choose to hike up Mount Hale, we recommend taking the Hale Brook Trail. The elevation is roughly 2,200 feet, made more challenging by the fact that it is made up of steps.
Luckily, the total distance of this trail is only 4.4 miles, so even though you’ll definitely feel the effect of the stairs the next morning, you’ll be rewarded with a rest at the grassy, tree-surrounded area at the summit soon enough.
If you’re looking for a longer hike, we recommend Mount Osceola. This mountain is 4,340 feet tall, and the trail is 6.4 miles in total.
However, the good thing about this hike is the fact that the mountain isn’t actually very steep despite its impressive height.
The elevation is gentle and gradual, so you can enjoy a long hike that isn’t overly demanding. You can even see the White Mountains from the top.
For a bigger challenge, you can combine the hike with a trip up to East Osceola, which is 4,157 feet tall. You will need to climb up a rocky area called The Ladder,
however, and there are no views at the top – although you can follow the trail back to Mount Osceola fairly easily.
It’s all very well figuring out what gear you’ll need to bring with you on your hiking expedition, but if you don’t have a convenient place to store all of your necessities, you’re going to have quite a stressful time.
Before you embark on your hike, make sure that you have a backpack that is durable enough and large enough to handle all your gear, without being so large that it becomes cumbersome to carry.
Of course, if you’re going to be on your feet for most of the day on a demanding hike, you’ll need some hiking boots that are up to the task.
Find a pair of hiking boots that are durable, high-quality, and that fasten tightly and fit you perfectly. The last thing you want is your hiking boots shifting around on your feet, rubbing and causing painful blisters.
Even the best hiking boots can cause blisters and discomfort if not paired with the correct hiking socks. Hiking socks should be made from breathable, moisture-wicking material that is also thick enough to prevent excessive rubbing from your boots.
This can be a tricky combination of features to find in a pair of regular socks, which is why we recommend looking specifically for hiking socks since these will have been manufactured with hiking in mind.
If you’re hiking during the warmer months, you might not think that bringing a jacket is necessary. However, it’s important to remember that the weather in the mountains is extremely changeable and prone to fluctuations.
Therefore, even if the sun is shining when you set out, make sure to bring a warm, waterproof jacket, if for no other reason than mountain summits can be very cold due to high altitudes.
Make sure to bring plenty of water with you so that you can stay hydrated on your hike! Whether you bring it in a water bottle, hydration bladder,
or any other kind of water transportation system, it’s important to bring enough of it to ensure you don’t become dehydrated. Again, this is essential regardless of how warm or cold the weather is.
We’ve listed all the absolutely essential items that you will need if you’re planning to hike up any one of New Hampshire’s easiest 4,000 footers.
However, depending on what other activities you might have planned for your hike, you may need some additional equipment.
For example, if you’re planning to camp out in the mountains, you will need to bring with you the correct camping gear.
This might include a tent, a warm sleeping bag, and utensils with which to cook. You may choose to bring a portable grill, for example. Of course, if you’re going to be dining al fresco, you’ll also need to bring plates, bowls, and cutlery to eat with.
Some of our top 5 easiest 4,000 footers have bodies of water nearby that are safe for swimming. If you want to cool off from your hike with a refreshing swim, you’ll need to bring your bathing suit.
Finally, assuming that you’re not going to be hiking the entire time you’re up there on the mountain, it might be a good idea to bring a change of shoes.
Hiking boots and the thick hiking socks required to prevent blisters can result in some seriously sweaty feet, so we recommend packing a pair of sandals to air them out when you stop to rest.
The top 5 easiest 4,000 footers in New Hampshire are Mount Tecumseh, Mount Waumbek, Mount Jackson, Mount Hale, and Mount Osceola.
Before you set out on your next hiking adventure, make sure you have everything you need to make the hike as comfortable as possible, from high-quality hiking boots to plenty of water.
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