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Larissa Runkle | 08.09.2017

Some of the most rugged mountains in the Northeast, the White Mountains span across parts of New Hampshire and Maine and are part of the greater Appalachian Mountain chain. While most of the land is open to the public, regulations vary depending on the region you may find yourself in. The vast majority of the White Mountains are managed by White Mountain National Forest and some smaller state parks.

Hikes abound in the national forest, and lucky for the mountain bikers, most trails are very accommodating with the exception of those sections that correspond with the Appalachian Trail. In addition to hiking, the area is rich in adventure for those interested in whitewater rapids, snow sports, and incredible views of the rich valleys below from one of the range’s many summits. Check out our eight not-to-be-missed adventures here.

Twins and Galehead​

Hike these three peaks in one day and challenge yourself to the tune of some 5,400 feet of elevation gain. The 13-mile trail is accessible through the fall, but it closes during winter. Make a backpacking weekend out of this out-and-back trail for amazing views and unbeatable solitude.

Mount Flume and Mount Liberty Loop

Part of Fraconia State Park, this nearly 10-mile loop is a perfect for leaf-peeping in the fall, minus the crowds. Although technically part of the longer Pemiloop Trail, this hike can be done in a day during any season. Try to avoid the trail after heavy rainfall as it becomes a muddy slip n' slide.

Pemigewasset Loop

The mother of all White Mountain trails, this 30-mile backpacking adventure is no joke, but definitely worth the trek. The rocky terrain can be rough, but at the trail’s end you’ll be able to check eight of New Hampshire’s 4,000-foot peaks off your list.

Bigelows and Horn Loop

Interested in covering some miles this winter? Head to Maine’s remote western corner for this backcountry snowshoeing or skiing adventure. With options for out-and-backs or a loop trail, this part of Bigelow Preserve offers 15 miles of underdeveloped terrain and some of the nicest mountain views in the state of Maine.

Sawyer River

The Sawyer River packs a punch for the experienced paddlers. In spring and fall locals make the 3.5-mile hike from Fourth Iron Campground to catch these classic rapids, rated Class V+. Perfect as a day adventure, congestion is low, and it’s a great place to paddle that still feels wild.

Mount Madison

Named after the fourth president of the U.S., this 8-mile summit trail climbs 5,366 feet and offers views of Mount Washington—New Hampshire’s tallest peak. Since weather on Mount Washington can be more than a little crazy (it competes with Mount Everest for extreme conditions), these weather patterns easily make their way over to the exposed Mount Madison. Come prepared with the gear you need to summit this peak safely.

Lonesome Lake Trail

While only 3.2 miles, this trail is still rated as moderately difficult. Starting at Lafayette Place Campground, it ends at the lake with awesome views of Mount Lafayette. Bring your boots, as the dense vegetation and high elevation often means snow late into the season.

Doublehead Mountain

Known as one of the top ski trails in the state, this well-marked trail is used by hikers, snowshoers, snowboarders, and skiers throughout the winter season. Trail width varies, but the path covers two peaks: North Doublehead (3,053 feet) and South Doublehead (2,939 feet). Before using this trail, be sure to familiarize yourself with the basics of backcountry winter safety.


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