Hiking is an excellent (and free!) way to stay in shape, and the awesome feeling you get when you reach the summit of a mountain never gets old! The Lakes Region is a beautiful patchwork of lakes and mountains and is the gateway to the stunning White Mountain Range. Whether you are looking for a short afternoon climb or you are ambitious enough to tackle the Appalachian Trail, we guarantee you’ll find the perfect challenge here in New Hampshire! Here are a few suggestions for various levels of hiking ability:
If you are newer to hiking, start with a moderate climb up Piper Mountain in Gilford (pictured above), which offers fantastic views at the top and can be completed in the morning through early afternoon hours. Or, try the short Rattlesnake Mtn. trail in Holderness for absolutely amazing views of Squam Lake (where the movie “On Golden Pond” was filmed.)
Experienced hikers will enjoy the Welch-Dickey Trail in Waterville Valley, Mt. Chocorua in Albany, and Mt. Monadnock in Jaffrey, NH. One of NH’s most popular mountains, Mt. Major in Alton Bay, offers views of Lake Winnipesaukee and the White Mountains to the North. More advanced hikers should also check out the Franconia Ridge Trail Loop which winds over Mt. Lafayette and two other peaks – an awesome 8.6 mile journey above NH’s treeline.
The ultimate hiking challenge, of course, would be to tackle Mount Washington by way of Tuckerman’s Ravine trail from Pinkham Notch to the mountain summit at 6,288.’
When hiking in NH, it is always wise to wear sturdy footwear and bring an extra pair of socks, along with plenty of water, sunscreen/insect repellant, sunglasses, and appropriate clothing and gear for the current season. Pick up a copy of the latest AMC White Mountains Guide, and always check the daily weather report before embarking on any of the more challenging hikes.
NH Hiking Resources:
A comprehensive guide to safe hiking in NH can be found on the NH Fish and Game website at:
The Appalachian Mountain Club’s website is an excellent resource for trip planning and lodging, upcoming hiking activities and youth programs: https://www.outdoors.org/outdoor-activities/hike
To research the many excellent trails in NH, including locations and reviews, download the AllTrails app or visit:
Planetware offers articles on the best hiking trails in NH: