Hiking the White Mountains of New Hampshire
The White Mountains are one of the top destinations for travelers in New England. But don’t let that turn you away. There are hundreds of miles of hiking trails, so it doesn’t feel crowded once you hit the backcountry. It’s popular for a reason: these mountains are tall, majestic, serene, and offer something for all.
The White Mountains are great for independent and experienced hikers, trekkers, and campers but can easily accommodate international visitors on holiday, even those with little outdoor experience. I was quite surprised to see so many foreigners when I visited the region recently. The Appalachian Mountain Club (AMC) runs two lodges and eight huts in the region that can help with accommodation both in the valley (the lodges) and in the backcountry (huts). Theoretically, you could even hike the 56 miles from hut to hut packing only lunches for yourself and a sheet or sleeping bag for bedding.
The AMC is a non-profit, the oldest conservation and recreation organization in the United States. They publish hiking guides and maps, maintain trails, and carry out scientific research. They also run plenty of family-friendly/kids programs out of the Highland Center, so bring the family along.
There are numerous excellent hikes in the White Mountain, including the classic Franconia Ridge trail (9-mile loop). This time around we hiked the historic Crawford Path—the oldest continuously used mountain trail in the United States.
Our route started at AMC’s Highland Center in Crawford Notch. We made our way up to the Mizpah Hut in less than three hours. From the Mizpah Hut it’s possible to go towards Mt. Washington by way of Mt. Pierce, Mt. Eisenhower and the Lakes of the Clouds Hut. Each of the peaks offers outstanding views. In the opposite direction from Mizpah, you can climb Mt. Jackson and then continue to Mt. Lafayette or take the Webster-Jackson trail back down into Crawford Notch.
Pick up the AMC White Mountain Guide, 28th: Hiking trails in the White Mountain National Forest if you’re going to tackle the White Mountains on your own, or check out AMC’s website (www.outdoors.org) for info on lodging at the Highland Center, Joe Dodge, or one of the mountain huts. Also, make sure you are equipped with the proper gear for the weather and terrain conditions. Read more info on how to pack and prepare on this link.
Check out our Video!
During the past few days in the White Mountains, fellow traveler and blogger Juno Kim (of RunawayJuno.com) and I put together this video to give you a sense of how great these mountains are. They are some of the tallest of the Appalachians, one of the oldest mountain ranges on earth, stretching from Alabama to Newfoundland, Canada, and reaching the top of most peaks offer outstanding views in any direction. Come check out the White Mountains for yourself!