Interested in hiking in the White Mountains of New Hampshire? There are options for all age levels, experience levels and interests. This post will go over some of the most popular hikes, tell you a little bit about what the White Mountains are, and show you some additional resources for what you may be looking for.
The NH 48
There are 48 New Hampshire 4,000 footers within the White Mountains, summiting all is a bucket list item for many New Englanders. Peaks range from 5,288 feet (Mount Washington), to 4,003 feet (Mount Tecumseh), many with incredible views, some with no views, short trails, long trails, river crossings, steep trails, and even the worst weather on the planet. In the summer time, trees flourish, the fall provides hikers with foliage paralleled only by few places on the planet, and the winter creates arctic like landscapes.
If you are interested in learning about the NH 48, downloading a list of them, or just reading some tips for finishing them, be sure to check out our post: The NH 48 4,000 Footers – And 8 Tips for Finishing Them
What are the White Mountains?
The Whites are a mountain range that spreads across about 25% of New Hampshire, and extend into western Maine. They are a northern piece of the Appalachian Mountains, which stretch North to South along the eastern part of the United States. Most of the White Mountains are on the public land of White Mountain National Forest.
The White Mountains are comprised of 7 ranges with mountains over 4,000 feet tall:
- Presidential Range
- Franconia Range
- Sandwich Range
- Carter-Moriah Range
- Kinsman Range
- Twin Range
- Pilot Range
Best Easy Day Hikes
In the Whites, you can find fantastic backpacking trails with amazing places to camp, but you also have the luxury of driving to the base of a mountain or trailhead, and in less than a full day, experience incredible views with minimal effort. This list will identify some of the best hikes/effort in the Whites.
Mount Willard may be the most rewarding hike for the amount of effort in the Whites. The 3.2 mile round trip gives stunning views into Crawford Notch.
Mount Crawford may be the only hike that can compete with Mount Willard on the reward vs effort scale. This is a far more challenging peak than Mount Willard, but sure worth it. (They are only a few miles apart)
Cannon mountain is one of the shortest distance 4,000 footers, but has incredible views of Franconia Notch, and a tower providing 360 degree views at the top.
Lafayette and the rest of Franconia Ridge is one of the most popular hikes in NH due to incredible views and easy access off of the highway. This is the hardest hike on this list as the 2.7 mile hike to Lafayette summit will yield a 4,200 foot elevation gain.
Arethusa and Ripley Falls
This hike is perfect for all levels, and you will experience some of New Hampshire’s most beautiful waterfalls. For pictures, trails and description, read here.
Mount Chocorua has some of the most outstanding views for a mountain under 4,000 feet. Right off of Route 16, there is easy access, gorgeous waterfalls, and incredible 360 degree views on the rock summit.
This is only a list of 6 mountains, there are so many more that have unique and incredible views. Some of which require more effort, but others, not much effort at all.
Want more details, check out our post: Best Easy Hikes in NH
White Mountains Map
If you would like a detailed trail map, we would recommend one of these: Click Here
Appalachian Mountain Club
The Appalachian Mountain Club is an organization that is dedicated to preserving the beautiful trails that allow us to hike so easily across the Whites. The organization is made up of thousands of volunteers across 5 states, they maintain nearly 1,800 miles of trail, 350 miles of the Appalachian Trail, the AMC Huts in the, and do so much good for the outdoor community.
Winter Hiking in the White Mountains
Hiking in the winter is an incredibly rewarding experience. It is also vastly different than summer months, and a bit more dangerous. Check out our guide to winter hiking.
Pictures of the White Mountains
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