Did you know New Hampshire’s home to 48 mountains over 4,000 feet? Thus, to get a taste of the region’s magnificent mountains, many visitors up for a challenge plan to tackle several different summits over the course of a few days, resupplying in between, and hunkering down for the night in nearby huts or at one of the many camping and cabin options. Here are a few of those peaks that will bring you both lasting summer memories and spectacular views.
Mount Washington (Tuckerman's Ravine Trail)
Mount Washington is the highest peak in the Northeast at 6,288 feet, offering rejuvenating views of the Atlantic Ocean, Vermont, New York's Adirondacks and even Canada. Though many a car has earned their bumper sticker and "climbed" Mount Washington, attempting the summit on foot is an entirely different endeavor and one not to be taken lightly. That being said, with practice and preparation, you can bag this remarkable peak and the bragging rights that come along with it.
Mount Washington’s most popular trail is Tuckerman's Ravine, totaling approximately 9-miles roundtrip. The ascent is steep and you should be ready for a steady, rocky, technical hike upward. The weather can change rapidly, so be sure to check it before you hit the trail so you know what to expect and can prepare--it’s not uncommon for summer hikers to experience winter temperatures at the summit!
Mount Adams (Short Line Trail to Airline Trail)
Second in height to Mount Washington, at 5,774 feet, Mount Adams inspires with humbling views of the surrounding New Hampshire Mountains. The Short Line Trail to the Airline trail promises a rugged but beautiful 10-mile round trip hike, featuring hidden Appalachian gems like the cascading Mossy Falls and the Ice Caves, which are worth a quick detour. Though trails are marked, there are many twists and turns and it's important to carry a trail map with you at all times.
Mount Lincoln (Falling Waters Trail)
Like the other 4,000-footers, Mount Lincoln offers panoramic views and the Falling Waters Trail is approximately 9 miles round trip, taking you past some of the White Mountains’ most predominant and photo-worthy water features, including Walker Cascades, Stairs Falls, Swiftwater Falls and Cloudland Falls. Some hikers extend their stay around Mount Lincoln to summit nearby peaks of Mount Lafayette and Little Haystack.
Moosilauke (Gorge Brook Trail to Carriage Road to Snapper Trail)
Moosilauke is known as the "Gentle Giant" of the New Hampshire mountains, providing awe-inspiring views of Vermont, New York and Franconia Ridge from atop the mossy boulders comprising the summit. The Moosilauke hike is an excellent choice for more experienced hikers looking for a less strenuous hike without sacrificing any of the brilliant views the White Mountains promise. The Gorge Brook trail in combination with The Carriage Road and Snapper Trail is the most popular route up and down the mountain and totals about 8 miles round trip.
Eisenhower might be the most underestimated mountain in the 4,000-footer club, but one that promises some of the most sublime views. The summit is wide and spacious, affording summiteers close up views of Mount Washington and plenty of room to take your pack off, relax and contemplate the Presidential Range’s stunning profile. The hike up Mount Eisenhower is ideal for those looking for a moderate hike to a gorgeous summit. The most popular route has proven to be Edmands Path to the short Eisenhower Loop totaling about 7 miles round trip.
Mount Carrigain (The Signal Trail)
If you're looking for a hike that Henry David Thoreau would approve of, a walk up the less traveled Mount Carrigain is an excellent choice, offering vast wilderness and stunning views. An observation tower perched on top of Mount Carrigain’s 4,682-foot peak, promises unparalleled glimpses of 43 of New Hampshire’s highest peaks. The 10-mile round trip hike along the Signal Ridge Trail, though predominantly moderate, does contain some challenging, steeper sections as it rises toward the summit. The open view from Signal Ridge in particular, is said to rival the view from the peak and is a can't-miss for both beginner and experienced hikers.
The Bonds (The Bond Traverse)
The Bond Traverse is the longest, most arduous hike on our list topping out at approximately 20 miles round trip. But oh, is it worth it. It’s essentially the hat trick of summiting, promising three great peaks, including West Bond, Bondcliff and Mount Bond. Photo opportunities abound on this remote hike, particularly at Bondcliff where a rugged mountain backdrop highlights the tranquil solitude and blazing sunsets. Hikers taking on the Bond Traverse tend to make this a multi-day affair with at least one night of camping in the Pemigewasset Wilderness or at one of several AMC huts.
Mount Flume & Mount Liberty (Liberty Spring Trail to the Flume Slide Trail)
Mount Flume’s rugged peak reaches 4,328 feet along the Franconia Ridge where you can take in the superb surrounding views. This is a moderate to difficult hike that can range anywhere between 8 to 10 miles round trip depending on the route, and whether or not it’s attempted in conjunction with Mount Liberty. Because of their close proximity, many hikers looking to add summits plan to do both in a one-day push. The Liberty Spring Trail runs straight up to the Franconia Notch Trail to the Summit of Mount Flume, or you can do the Liberty Spring Trail to the Flume Slide Trail to summit Mount Liberty.
Mount Pierce (Crawford Path)
Mount Pierce offers a moderate 6-mile round trip hike with panoramic views of the surrounding mountains, most notably Mount Washington. The Crawford Path takes hikers on the oldest, most used hiking trail in all of the United States, dating back to 1819, presenting an opportunity to take a dip in the crystal clear, pleasant waters of Gibbs Falls. Mount Pierce can be summitted in combination with Mount Eisenhower and Mount Monroe for those looking to extend the hike.
Mount Jackson and Mount Webster (Webster-Jackson Trail to Webster Cliff Trail)
Mount Jackson to Mount Webster is a moderate 6.5-mile round trip hike, offering incredible views from the top of both mountains. Two separate lookouts at lower elevations, Elephant Head and Bugle Cliff, overlook Crawford Notch and are only short detours from the Webster-Jackson Trail. Mount Jackson can be summitted rather quickly on its own, but many choose to summit both these peaks together as part of a loop hike that combines both the Webster Jackson Trail and the Webster Cliff Trail.
Before setting out on any epic New Hampshire hike, be sure to review Hike Safe information, rules and recommendations.