Hiking is a popular activity and it's easy to understand why. It's a great way to get out and enjoy nature, get a decent workout and get away from all the hustle and bustle of everyday life. In New Hampshire, there are a number of mountains that are well known for their climbing trails. Some are taller than others, but every single one of them has something unique to offer. New Hampshire is definitely no stranger to beautiful mountains, as there are no less than 20 of them that can be successfully hiked throughout the state. Below are 10 of the best options available, rated from number 10 all the way to number one. If you're considering traveling to New Hampshire for your next vacation, perhaps one or even a few of these mountains will end up on your hiking list.
10. Mount Pierce (4,310 feet; Carroll)
This is easily one of the most popular mountains to climb in the entire state and is named after the only United States president that was born in New Hampshire. It's also directly accessible from the oldest hiking trail in the country, popularly known as the Crawford Trail. It's definitely a challenging hike, especially if you decide to go in the winter. That being said, it's one that is extremely popular and much beloved as well. Keep in mind, the trail to get to the top of the mountain itself is just over three miles long and you'll need to be in at least moderately good shape in order to do it safely.
9. Mt. Chocorua (3,490 feet; Albany)
You can access this 8.5 mile long trail from New Hampshire Highway 16. Be prepared for a rugged hike that's best suited for individuals who are quite fit. It also helps to have some serious hiking and even rock climbing experience, as it will make the climb up the mountain less strenuous. Once you get to the top, you can see the famous White Mountains. On a clear day, you can even see all the way to Maine from the top.
8. Cannon Mountain (4,100 feet; Franconia Notch State Park)
This is a much shorter hike, two miles from start to finish. There's also an observation deck at the top that gives you an almost perfect view of the surrounding area. However, it's not necessarily an easy hike, despite the fact that it's much shorter then some of the others on this list. As a matter of fact, you will actually gain more than 2,600 feet of height in the two miles of the trail from start to finish. As such, it's important to be in good health when you start because this is the last place that you want to find yourself in real trouble.
7. Mt. Lafayette (5,249 feet; Franconia)
This is a near-perfect hike right in the middle of the White Mountains. There's even a designated footpath that allows you to stay on trail from start to finish. It's extremely important that you do exactly that. This is a challenging hike that's just over eight miles in length. It will definitely give you a rewarding workout but there are two things that you need to keep in mind. It's important to stay on the footpath in order to minimize your impact on the surrounding environment. It also makes it easier for rescuers to get to you if you should become sick or injured while you're hiking.
6. Mt. Monadnock (3,165; Jaffrey)
This mountain in the southern part of the state is popular for a number of reasons. First and foremost, it's not part of a mountain range like those in the White Mountains. Instead, it stands on its own and it makes for a perfect day hike of about four miles. It's also less steep and much smaller than a lot of the other mountains in the state, making it a better option for individuals of all skill and fitness levels.
5. Mt. Willard (2,865 feet; Crawford Notch)
This is a great hike for the entire family located just off of New Hampshire Route 302. As you can see, it's not as tall as a lot of the other mountains that can be hiked in the state. The trail itself is much less demanding, making it a great option for a hike with the kids as well as for older individuals or those with mobility issues. All in all, it's a beautiful hike that will allow you to enjoy the day without feeling like you need another day to rest after the fact.
4. Zealand Mountain (4,260 feet; Whitefield)
This one is unique because you're still not out of the tree line even when you get to the top of the summit. Nevertheless, the hike is absolutely beautiful and offers some of the most spectacular views of the surrounding forest as you're going up. It's no wonder that so many people enjoy hiking this mountain for a variety of different reasons.
3. Mt. Garfield (4,500 feet; Franconia)
This is one of the more rewarding and more rugged hikes in the state. If you're up for it, you'll hike just over 10 miles and gain approximately 3,000 feet in elevation throughout the course of the hike itself. It definitely offers some amazing views so if you're accustomed to hiking on these types of trails, this is one that's definitely worth the effort.
2. Mt. Carrigain (4,700 feet; Livermore)
This is easily one of the longest hikes in the state. In fact, it can prove to be quite strenuous and long enough that depending on your fitness level, you may or may not be able to complete it in a single day. If you're going, it's best to go during the milder months of the year and make sure that you have plenty of non-perishable food, water and warm clothing. While it is possible for you to hike the mountain during the winter, that task should be left only to those who have the experience and the equipment to do so safely.
1. Mt. Washington (6,288 feet; Coos County)
Who wouldn't want to complete this hike? It's the tallest mountain in the entire state and the hiking trail to get to the top is arguably one of the most demanding that you’ll ever hike in the country. It's easy to understand why it is the mountain that everyone wants to hike in the state. If you have the opportunity and you think you're up to the task, it's something that will definitely help you get a new perspective on things.
Written by Liz Flynn
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