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Larissa Runkle | 01.02.2018

Part of the Appalachian Mountain range, New Hampshire's White Mountains  offer some of the highest and most rugged peaks in the region. When winter rolls around, these impressive peaks (which actually overflow into Maine) become a wonderland of skiing and snowshoeing adventures, with visitors coming from Boston and beyond to get in on the perfect powder. 

While there are ample opportunities for downhill skiing at resorts in the Whites, some of the best outdoor fun can be had in the remote setting of the backcountry. Hiking trails like The Bigelows + Horns Loop in the Rangeley Area of Western Maine offer miles of backcountry hiking that's accessible year round. This trail can be used as a 15-mile loop or completed in two trips of 11 miles each. 

For a much shorter outdoor adventure, check out the Table Rock Trail in Grafton Notch State Park. Close to the summit of this 1.9-mile trail, visitors will get incredible views of Grafton Notch and one of Maine's tallest peaks. 

Another great snowshoeing outing is the 7.8-mile hike to the summit of New Hampshire's 10th highest peak, Mount Moosilauke. Follow the Gorge Brook Trail to reach the top of the this windy and chilly peak, and keep in mind that you're likely to share the trail with several backcountry skiers and splitboarders as well. 

Escape the crowds of nearby Wildcat Mountain Ski Area with a day hike to the Wildcat Mountains, an 8.4-mile trail that crosses the five mountain peaks of the range. For something even longer, this trip can be combined with the Carters, a 14.4-mile out and back with awesome views of the Presidential Range.  

Doublehead Mountain in Jackson, New Hampshire, is another great place to get in some backcountry skiing or splitboarding; you'll find 4 miles of easy-to-follow trails and even some nearby lodging options (if booked well in advance). 

Remember, spending time at elevation means knowing how to handle the extreme cold. Be sure to check weather temperatures from multiple sites (and for the elevation you'll be visiting). Weather has been known to change quickly and drastically in the Whites, which can create dangerous conditions year round. 

Backcountry Safety

Winter backcountry adventures can be dangerous outdoor activities that pose significant risks as conditions affecting safety (i.e. weather, snowpack stability, avalanche hazard) are constantly changing. Prior to engaging in these activities each individual should get the proper training to make safe decisions and be equipped to use avalanche safety resources and tools. Please visit our Backcountry Skiing and Avalanche Safety post to learn more.


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