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Please respect the outdoors by practicing Leave No Trace. Learn more about how to apply the principles of Leave No Trace on your next outdoor adventure here.
Stephanie Graudons | 04.29.2021

This article has been updated. It was originally published in October 2017.

New Hampshire is an action-packed state when it comes to outdoor recreation, especially when you consider there are over 4,000 miles of hiking trails traversing it's mountains, lakes and coastline! The Granite State provides opportunities for all ages and fitness levels, from family-friendly strolls to waterfalls to full-day climbs to the highest point in the northeastern United States. It’s hard to beat the beauty and thrill of a day in the White Mountain National Forest or the scenery and serenity of the state parks and other preserves. If you’re looking for a New Hampshire hike you won’t soon forget, choose your experience level and check out these 20 must-do adventures! The easier hikes are family friendly and great for all ages and abilities, whereas the challenging hikes should only be attempted by those with proper experience, fitness, and gear.

Choose your hike, pack the essentials, and recreate responsibly!

Easier Hikes

  • West Rattlesnake Mountain: 2 miles | 450 feet of elevation gain | Panoramic view overlooking Squam Lake
  • Arethusa Falls: 2.8 miles | 827 feet of elevation gain | More than 140-foot waterfall with beautiful fall foliage
  • Pitcher Mountain: 0.7-mile loop | Gradual ascent on an old road | Blueberry picking along the trails
  • Mount Kearsarge: 1 mile | Moderate, rocky terrain | Fire tower and bald summit with 360-degree view
  • Kinsman Falls: 1 mile | Beautiful waterfall with a deep pool | Popular swimming hole
  • Pondicherry Wildlife Refuge: Variable mileage | Mostly level terrain | Incredible views of the northern Presidentials, wildlife viewing, bike path
  • Artists Bluff and Bald Mountain: 1.5-mile loop | 300 feet of elevation gain | Family-friendly hike with views of Cannon Mountain and Franconia Ridge

Moderate Hikes


  • Mount Chocorua via Liberty Trail: 7.8 miles | 2,502 feet of elevation gain | Hike and scramble your way to a lower elevation summit that feels like a high peak
  • Welch-Dickey Loop: 4.5 miles | 1,807 feet of elevation gain | Two summits, rock scrambling, and many viewpoints
  • Lonesome Lake Trail: 3.2 miles | 1,040 feet of elevation gain | Some steep terrain to a beautiful lake with view of Mount Lafayette
  • Mount Willard: 3.2 miles | 985 feet of elevation gain | Steady, moderate ascent leads to a dramatic view in Crawford Notch
  • Red Hill Fire Tower: 3.4 miles | 1,350 feet of elevation gain | Gorgeous 360-degree view from the fire tower overlooking Lake Winnipesaukee
  • Pack Monadnock: 2.8 miles | 840 feet of elevation gain | Steep, rugged terrain on Wapack Trail | Summit picnic area and views, nearby raptor-viewing
  • Mount Cardigan’s Holt Trail: 5 miles | 1,800 feet of elevation gain | Rock scrambling and rugged terrain lead to an open view

Challenging Hikes

  • Mount Washington via Tuckerman Ravine: 8.2 miles | 4,238 feet of elevation gain | New Hampshire state highpoint and alpine summit
  • Presidential Traverse: 26 miles | 4,989 feet of elevation gain | A challenging, full day above treeline that traverses 11 of New Hampshire’s highest mountains
  • Mount Moosilauke: 7.8 miles | 2,342 feet of elevation gain | Scenic hike to an open, alpine summit
  • The Carters: 14.4 miles | 3,305 feet of elevation gain | Three peaks, views, and option to stay at Carter Notch Hut
  • Mount Carrigain via Signal Ridge: 10 miles | 3,257 feet of elevation gain | Fantastic views from the ridge and fire tower
  • Mount Flume + Mount Liberty Loop: 9.8 miles | 3,099 feet of elevation gain | Hit two 4,000-footers for great views of surrounding peaks and fall foliage

Interested in exploring New Hampshire's 4,000 plus miles of trails? Easily find local trails, discover adventures, download offline maps and navigate New Hampshire's backcountry using the OnX Backcountry GPS Trail app.  


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