New England has some incredible hiking. Whether it is the highest peaks of the White Mountains, the cold waters of mountain streams, or the seacoast of Maine and New Hampshire, there is a hike for just about everyone to enjoy. To see some of the most beautiful views in all of New England, you are likely going to have to work hard for it, but certain places like Mount Washington, or Cadillac Mountain are accessible to everyone. Here is a list of the best hikes in New England.
Below, we have a list of the best hikes, and here we have some quick navigation to the best hikes in New England based on categories:
If after reading this article, and you still don’t know where you should go, check out our hike finder tool to help you pick the right hike!
How Did We Choose These Hikes?
I grew up in New England and was lucky enough to explore most of the hikes and mountains in the region. Of the thousands of amazing hikes, I have been able to hike hundreds of them, and narrow down favorites into this list. In addition to my own personal experience, I have consulted my friends, local hiking guides in New Hampshire, reviews on hiking applications, and compiled these opinions into this list.
Tips for Hiking in New England
New England has highly variable terrain, so there are great hikes for beginners and great hikes for experts alike. There are a few things you need to keep in mind when you’re hiking in New England that may be a little different from other parts of the country.
- Crowds: During summer and especially during the fall leaf-changing period, popular New England hikes may be very crowded. Consider a trail that’s a little more off the beaten path if you want to go during peak times– for example, Mount Washington, Franconia Notch, and the Kancamagus highway can get very congested.
- Tick Season: New England has several species of ticks that are active longer in the year than you might think. Make sure to wear long socks and check yourself thoroughly after hiking.
- Wildlife Awareness: New England is home to several species of potentially dangerous wildlife, including black bears and moose. The best way to avoid conflicts with these animals is to avoid them in general; pay attention to your surroundings and look for signs that wildlife is present. Carry bear spray and ensure that you keep your food in animal-proof containers like bear canisters or bear-proof bags that you can anchor to a stationary object.
- Weather: New England’s weather can change abruptly. Pack rain gear, especially if you’re hiking in early spring or late fall. You should also check your trail conditions before you go; New England Trail Conditions is a comprehensive resource for trail conditions and safety.
Map Of The Best Hikes In New England
We took the time to pin everyone of the best hikes listed in this article. This will help you identify the best hikes near where you may be staying so you can incorporate them into your trip or your travel plans!
As the highest peak in the northeast, Mount Washington doesn’t disappoint. With incredible views in all directions, incredible hiking trails, a road to the summit, and even a cog railroad up to the summit, it is one of those New England gems that is accessible to many, often filled with tourists, but still allows hikers to feel isolated in the wilderness.
Height: 6,288 feet
Distance: 8.2 Miles
Elevation Gain: 4,186 feet
Duration: 5-10 hours (dependent on hiker’s ability)
Read about Hiking Mount Washington
Mount Katahdin is Maine’s highest peak. The legendary knifes edge trail is spectacular, and stands out as extremely unique for the northeast. The hiking is difficult, but extremely rewarding. The summit of Katahdin is also the northern terminus of the Appalachian Trail.
Elevation: 5,269 feet
Elevation Gain: Around 4,000 feet depending on the trail.
Distance: 8.6 miles
Read About Hiking Mount Katahdin
Cadillac Mountain is one of those rare hiking gems where you don’t have to put in crazy amounts of effort to be rewarded with absolutely incredible views. With some of the first views of Sunrise in the U.S. each morning, the 360 degree views of the oceans and surrounding lakes are fantastic. Drivable, this mountain is accessible to all.
Height: 1,530 Feet (466 Meters)
Distance: 4.4 miles
Elevation Gain: 1,150 feet
Duration: 2-5 hours
Read about Hiking Mount Cadillac
Franconia Ridge is one of New Hampshire’s classic hikes. The views from the ridge into Franconia Notch and the Pemi Wilderness are some of the best in the country. This is a popular hike even though it is considered strenuous.
Mileage: 8.5 miles (3,700 feet of elevation gain)
Duration: 4-6 hours
Read about Hiking Franconia Ridge
Moosilauke rises seemingly by itself on the West side of New Hampshire’s White Mountains. The views are incredible at the top, but the waterfalls on the way up are just as incredible.
Height: 4,802 Feet
Distance: 7.6 miles
Duration: 4-7 hours
Elevation Gain: 2,506 feet
Read about Hiking Mount Moosilauke
Bondcliff takes a lot to get to (9 miles one way), but the views are arguable some of the best in all of the northeast. The large cliffs are a perfect spot to make you feel small above the vast Pemi Wilderness. This hike is a long day hike, but also wonderful to combine with overnight camping. Especially when combined with nearby peaks of Mount Bond and West Bond.
Height: 4,265 feet
Distance: 18.4 miles
Elevation Gain: 3,100 feet
Duration: 6-10 hours (trail running: 3-6)
Read about Hiking Bondcliff
North & South Baldface
These mountains aren’t hiked that often when compared to the others on this list. They are tough, but this loop trail is one of the best loops in New England. These mountains may be the best on the NH 52 WAV list.
Height: 3,566 feet
Distance: 9.5 miles
Elevation Gain: 3,569 feet
Duration: 5-7 hours
Read about Hiking North & South Baldface
This frequently trafficked mountain has one of the most unique summit profiles in New Hampshire. With numerous trails up containing waterfalls, cliffs, blueberries, lakes, and more, this is a must hike for anyone that loves visiting the White Mountains.
Height: 3,478 feet
Distance: 7.8-9 miles
Elevation Gain: 2,500 feet
Duration: 5-7 hours
Read about Hiking Mount Chocorua
Mount Carrigain (4,682 feet) is one of the most popular of the NH 48 due to its outstanding 360 degree views, and gorgeous ridge line trail. The summit features a fire tower with amazing views.
Height: 4,700 feet
Distance: 10 miles
Elevation Gain: 3,250 feet
Duration: 5-8 hours
Read about Hiking Mount Carrigain
Camel’s Hump Vermont
Camel’s Hump is located in the Green Mountains of Vermont. It is the third highest peak in the entire state, standing at 4,083 feet in elevation. A must do Vermont hike.
Read about Hiking Camel’s Hump
The Best Easy Hikes in New England
Read our full guide on the best easy hikes in New Hampshire for some amazing options.
The Best New England Hikes for Beginners
These three hikes aren’t just relatively easy, they’re also easy to get to and can be completed relatively quickly. These New England hikes are the perfect way to get acquainted with the terrain and trails that this region has to offer. Each one can be completed as an easy day hike, so you won’t need to worry about heavy backpacking gear or figuring out a place to camp.
Best Hard Hikes in New England
New Hampshire Hikes
North & South Baldface
The Presidential Traverse
Arethusa & Ripley Falls
Max DesMarais is the founder of hikingandfishing.com. He has a passion for the outdoors and making outdoor education and adventure more accessible. Max is a published author for various outdoor adventure, travel, and marketing websites. He is an experienced hiker, backpacker, fly fisherman, trail runner, and spends his free time in the outdoors. These adventures allow him to test gear, learn new skills, and experience new places so that he can educate others. Max grew up hiking all around New Hampshire and New England. He became obsessed with the New Hampshire mountains, and the NH 48, where he guided hikes and trail runs in the White Mountains. Since moving out west, Max has continued his frequent adventures in the mountains, always testing gear, learning skills, gaining experience, and building his endurance for outdoor sports. You can read more about his experience here: hikingandfishing/about