You may have just begun your journey through New Hampshire’s 4000 footers, or you may be coming up to your last few peaks, but where should you finish? That’s a tough question, but hopefully I can help guide you through your decision.
Before diving in, you may find our complete guide to the NH 48 helpful. We have a chart with all of the peaks, and we have written a full trail guide for every single one. Read our NH 48 Guide here.
The Most Common Finishers
Mount Carrigain – A gorgeous option with a great trail to have friends and family join.
Mount Pierce, Mount Moosilauke, or Cannon Mountain – Each of the easier 4,000 footers with incredible views. This makes it great to invite friends or family! Cannon has a lift in which friends or family can take to meet close to the summit as well.
Mount Washington – Save the biggest and baddest for last? Also, friends and family can drive to the top or take the Cog Railway to meet you.
South Twin – All around gorgeous, definitely underrated.
Mount Lafayette – A common hike, so close to the highway, but very rewarding to leave for last.
Bondcliff – Arguably the best views in NH
Before you go ahead and choose one of the above options, you should probably ask yourself a few questions before you make your decision.
What have you already done?
This one is the most obvious, but if your one of the many that have hiked a bunch of 4000ers and may not even know how many you have left, this is a good starting point. Print off a list, determine what you have left, and then you probably have your decision half made already! (If you hiked half of them). If you’ve crossed off all of the smallest peaks already, maybe you’ll consider finishing on one of the highest? If you’ve hit all of the easy access peaks…I suggest you start doing some of those far out ones (Isolation, Owl’s Head, etc.), mostly because it can be tough getting near the end and realizing you have some of the hardest to get to hikes left. Though I wouldn’t have minded finishing my journey on one of those aforementioned peaks…
Who do you want with you?
Now this may not be important to everyone, but I am sure some of the you hikers out there really want to have certain people with you when you finish. Other’s may really want to be alone. If you want friends or family with you, it may be best to pick a final peak where you can bring everyone together. For some, this may only be possible with peaks where family can get rides (Washington (road or Cog), Cannon (ski lift), Wildcat (ski lift), etc). Others may really want to be alone, in which case I would suggest getting way way way out there, then most are going to want to leave you alone! (Isolation, Owl’s Head, Bond Cliff, South Twin, maybe even Zealand).
What time of year are you finishing?
Certain peaks are just awesome in winter, certain one’s in summer, most in both! Some of you may be avid winter hikers, fall lovers, or strictly summer trekkers. Whatever you are, this can help you decide where to finish. If you don’t like to hike in the winter, or you can’t handle some serious whether, but your finishing time is likely to be in late fall, winter, or early spring, your best bet is to lay off some of those brutal weathered peaks (Washington, Moosilauke, Lafayette, or any of the presidential peaks).
If your a summer lover, your in luck, not for deciding, but for knowing every peak is pretty accessible in the summer. Also keep in mind many road closing in winter that make a lot of hikes longer distance. Fall lovers? Quite frankly, there are some peaks with incredible foliage, and some with only just sub-incredible foliage. Pick one of the best foliage hikes! I love foliage in Franconia Notch (Lafayette, Liberty, Flume, Cannon, the Kinsmans, etc.), and the Twin Range (Zealand, Galehead, The Bonds, etc.)
Don’t forget, no matter what you choose, you can always go for round two.
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