Famous for some of the most beautiful scenery on the east coast of the United States, the White Mountains of New Hampshire are popular with hikers and climbers. A plethora of beautiful trails wind through these mountains—New England’s most rugged peaks—part of the northern Appalachians.
Choosing a trail can be daunting, akin to a game of chance, like the online casinos available over the internet.
Spectacular trails exist in both the northern and southern sections of the mountains. Here are three excellent choices for those who enjoy big mountain vistas, waterfalls and dramatic scenery:
Ammonoosuc Ravine Trail: Mt. Washington
This trail is one of the highlights of the Presidential Range and affords access to the summit of Mt. Washington, at 6288 feet, the highest peak in the northeastern United States. The climb along the Ammonoosuc River showcases a wide range of waterfalls and cascades, as well as spectacular views along the way.
This is about a 9 miles roundtrip from the trailhead (located near the Mt. Washington Cog Railway’s Base Station) to the summit. Keep in mind that this is going to be a full-day hiking trip. Along the way, you will pass the popular AMC hut (capacity: 90 people) and also the Lakes of the Clouds. Take the Jewell Trail to come back to the trailhead. Apart from offering a beautiful descent, it will also be easier on the knees.
It is going to be cold at the summit, regardless of what the weather is like at the trailhead. In fact, the weather of Mt. Washington is so severe that Arctic equipment is tested here. The highest land wind velocity (231 MPH!) not associated with a tornado or cyclone ever recorded on Earth was recorded here. So even if it’s a calm sunny day when you leave your car, remember that the weather can change with a snap of a finger and if clouds accumulate over the summit, visibility is going to drop to zero.
Appalachian Trail: Presidential Range
For many hikers, the highlight of the entire Appalachian Trail is the crossing of the Presidential Range over the Mt. Washington summit. AMC huts provide meals and bunks along the way. In addition to the Ammonoosuc Ravine trail (above), a favorite—if difficult—alternative is the Crawford Path Trail, a 15-mile round trip located in Mt. Washington State Park.
Known for its beautiful wildflowers and plethora of birds, the trail is open to leashed dogs – and subject to sudden and dramatic weather changes.
Champney Falls Trail/Mt. Chocorua
Scenic wonders abound in the Chocorua Basin. Mt. Chocorua itself is one of the most photographed mountains of New England and its reflection in the waters of Chocorua Lake will take your breath away. The very popular Champney Falls Trail starts from Champney Falls Parking Lot on the Kancamagus Highway (Rt. 112), 10 miles west of its junction with Route 16.
Named for artist Benjamin Champney, the trail provides access to the summit of Mt. Chocorua (3490 feet), 3.8 miles from the trailhead. But don’t miss the spectacular falls, reached via a side loop, a scant 1.4 miles from the parking lot. When running high, the falls cascade for some 70 feet in a picturesque series of rivulets and chutes, among the most beguiling waterfalls in the White Mountains.