New Hampshire has plenty to offer to locals and tourists alike. Known as the “Granite State,” this state in New England is famous for a variety of attractions, including its beaches, historic houses, and kayaking waters. However, one type of natural attraction that definitely stands out, and is something you shouldn’t miss out on, is its hiking trails.
For avid climbers and beginner hikers, New Hampshire is the place to be. With over 4,000 miles of hiking trails, enthusiasts can explore an extensive range of trails for all kinds of stunning scenery. From frozen waterfalls worthy of Christmas postcards to endless trails of foliage, there’s something for everyone.
Of course, if you’re restricted by time or budget, it’s not practically possible to explore every trail the state has to offer. Here’s why we’ve narrowed down the six best scenic trails you can’t miss out on in New Hampshire:
If you’re in the mood for relaxing around the view of a stunning waterfall and heavenly fall foliage, Arethusa Falls is the place to be. Located in Crawford Notch State Park, this hiking trail is 3-miles long and is one of the tallest waterfalls in New Hampshire. The Arethusa Falls has plenty of space for parking and has picnic tables along the side, making it an ideal location for a day out.
The hike itself is generally easy to moderate, suitable for beginners and families. You can also consider the Bemis Brook Trail, which is slightly longer but does offer more scenery. These trails merge close to the fall, where you’ll witness the magnificent Arethusa Falls flowing from a granite cliff.
Another family-friendly trail you shouldn’t miss out on is the Basin-Cascades. A 2-mile long, easy trail, this trail is located in Franconia Notch State Park and is the dream hike for everyone who loves water. The trail is characterized by several falls along the way, including the Kinsman Falls and the Rocky Glen Falls.
Perhaps one of the best parts about the trail is right at the beginning with the Basin, a massive pot-hole crafted by a glacial waterfall. This particular area is quite kid-friendly and something the little ones might even want to take a dip in. If you want a bit of a challenge, you can always hike up to Lonesome Lake, which may get challenging for the kids or beginners.
If you’re looking for that perfect photo for the ‘gram, Champney Falls is amazing. Easily one of New Hampshire’s most recognizable locations, the Champney Falls boasts a distinct peak reflecting in the beautiful Chocorua Lake. The Champney Falls Trail is suitable for all hikers and is often combined with a trip to Mt. Chocorua.
This trail runs for 1.4 miles with very gradual elevation. It’s accessible in all seasons and is quite popular, so you need to ensure you’re arriving early if you need parking space. When you reach the base of the Champney Falls, you can turn to get an expansive view of all the falls. You can also witness stunning rock formations or continue up the steps where you can explore more falls and a water pool.
Known as the most frequently climbed mountain in the world, Mt. Monadnock is located in the towns of Dublin and Jaffrey. It offers several hiking trails that offer expansive views due to its isolated and rocky summit. The most popular trail is the White Dot Trail, running 2.2 miles and boasting exquisite wildflowers along the way. It’s accessible from Monadnock State Park and is the shortest, steepest way to get to the summit.
If you’re not up for a challenging hike, you can also consider the White Arrow Trail, the easiest ascent to the summit running 2.3 miles and accessible through the Old Toll Road. Other notable trails in the area include the Pumpelly Trail, the Dublin Path, and the Marlboro Trail, so you should definitely check those out, too. Of course, you need to remember that Mt. Monadnock is quite popular, and you’ll likely come across other hikers during your adventure.
For an absolutely magnificent view, Mt. Willard is an excellent choice. This 3-mile long round trip offers a panoramic view of Crawford Notch and gives you the perfect place to explore the carved glaciers and notches New Hampshire has to offer.
While a family-friendly trail generally, you need to look out for the sharp drops and high cliffs. You can also explore two shorter trails from the parking area, one going to Beecher Falls and the other to the Elephant Head rock formation.
If you’re up for a moderate hike, the 4-mile Welch-Dickey Trail is worth looking into. This hiking trail boasts pretty wildflower displays during the spring and outstanding views of the nearby mountains. The trail is characterized by flat and gentle ledges that connect the mountains, forming a loop.
While the loop would typically take you 2 hours to explore, it does come with its eccentricities. The granite ledges and faces do tend to get steep, and there are areas where you’ll have to get down on all fours. However, the scenic view and, if you’re lucky, the wild blueberries, make the exertion all worth it.
New Hampshire offers endless opportunities for the hiker in you. It’s a favorite amongst many outdoor enthusiasts, and you’ll always be surprised at the unlimited scenic views, from waterfalls to never-ending forests.
Regardless of what your preferred difficulty level is, you’re bound to find something you’ll enjoy. As long as you plan accordingly and keep the weather into account, you’ll have an incredible time hiking on one of the trails above!