One of the reasons we moved to New Hampshire over 12 years ago was because of the accessibility of the outdoors. There’s so many things to do outside no matter what the season. Hiking is one of our favorite things. Before kids, Ron and I would load up the car with dog and backpacks and head to the mountains to explore different trails every weekend.
But then the kids came along and all the weekend activities that they bring interrupted our weekend adventures. We still got out to hike but not as often and definitely not any lengthy trips.
Now that the kids are getting older, I’m hoping that will change. They can hike for longer times but we still need to bring ALL THE SNACKS to help power through the miles.
There are a ton of hiking options in New Hampshire from pancake flat to mountain summits. There are so many hikes that we still need to do but these 5 are some of our family favorites. On a side note, I really thought hard about sharing these hikes. On one hand, I’d like to see more people getting outside to hike. On the other hand, I don’t want to see more people on the trails. One of the reasons I like to hike is to get away from people. However, the more I thought about it, I realized that you can find these hikes listed in any guide book. There’s no secret about it.
Franconia Ridge (Little Haystack, Mt. Lafayette, Mt. Lincoln)
I had to start with the best. Mount Washington is great but this is hands down my favorite hike in New Hampshire. The 8 mile loop is challenging but hitting 3 peaks above tree line is well worth it. Be sure to bring hiking poles to help scramble up and down all the rocks. Your knees will thank you! If you wanted to break the hike up into two days, the Greenleaf Hut is available with bunks reserved in advance. You can also stop to refill your water bottles and enjoy whatever deliciousness the AMC volunteers are cooking up. Our kids haven’t done this hike but we saw quite a few kids around age 10 when Ron and I did this hike a couple of weeks ago.
This “little” mountain holds a special place in my heart. It was one of our first hikes as NH residents and it was the first official hikes my kids did on their own at age 3. At about 3.5 miles round trip, it’s a relatively easy hike with easily one of the best views in the Lakes Region. But it’s not so easy that it can be done in flip flops. I’ve seen MANY people try to do it…DON’T! It’s also one of my favorites for getting some vert in trail running. If you want more mileage, you can easily add on for more of the Belknap Trail Ridge (BRT) but you will need to decide if you are doing a point to point or out and back.
If you’ve seen the view from Mount Major, check out Mt. Roberts to see the view from the other side of Lake Winnepausakee. There’s numerous open ledges for sweeping views of the Lake and the Sandwich Mountain Range. We did this hike for the first time on a beautiful fall day last year. The colors were amazing!
For only being 3.2 miles round trip, Mount Willard offers a stunning view from the summit of Crawford Notch. We’ve only done this hike in the summer but I bet it would be equally fantastic in the fall.
There are two options with this hike. You can hike to the falls, which would be about 3 miles round trip, or you could continue to the Piper Trail which leads to Mt. Chocorua. Chocorua has a gorgeous summit so I highly suggest continuing on past the falls. The hike to Champney Falls is relatively easy for almost any age except for a few steep sections that can be slippery and difficult to navigate for younger kids.
The falls are on the other side of the rock that I’m perched on. 🙂
Do you like to hike?
What’s your favorite snack on a hike? For me, trail mix for sure!