With roots in Franconia, New Hampshire and an appreciation for all things beautiful, naturally, the Garnet Hill team has plenty to say when it comes to hiking in and around the White Mountains. Here are some of our favorites, grouped by difficulty.
Artist Bluff, Bald Mountain
This is a very short hike with two big pay offs at Artist Bluff and then on top of Bald Mountain. The distance is short but the hiking is very steep and rocky. Kids love this hike. Park across from Cannon Base Lodge, follow spur trail around to the ascent to Artist Bluff. After Artist Bluff continue up the trail over to Bald Mountain.
Bridal Veil Falls
The falls in winter are stunning – Photo by Bill Cobb
This out and back hike is longer with a more gradual incline. There are plenty of nice stopping spots along the stream. The falls are stunning year round but they are really incredible in winter.
A great winter hike – Photo by Bill Cobb
An easy hike for all ages (and dogs too). Proximity to the AMC Highland Center makes this doubly great for beginner hiking families. The view at the top looking down at Crawford Notch State Park is amazing!
A longer hike with a slight incline that goes through some amazing woodland. Visit the hut for a cookie and continue on for great views of the Bondcliffs.
Mt. Pemigewasset aka Indian Head
Starting in Franconia Notch State Park, you’ll climb up through some gorgeous forest that weaves back and forth until you reach a small ridge and emerge onto large flat rocks perfect for picnics. Spectacular views looking into the wilderness west and south. You can walk around and find other great vistas looking back east to Mt. Lafayette and the rest of the Franconia range.
Photo by Bill Cobb
Lonesome Lake is one of the most popular hikes in Franconia Notch. The hike up is steep with a few switchbacks then gradually levels off before approaching Lonesome Lake. Follow the trail to loop around the lake and take in the views of the back side of Cannon Mountain. At the far end of the lake be sure to visit the hut for a quick hot chocolate or chat with the caretaker.
Amazing views of Mt. Washington – Photo by Jason Tors
This hike is similar to Mt. Pemigewasset. This hike features many large glacial erratics on the bottom third of the hike, the trail becomes steeper as you get closer to the top. At the ridge you can go left or right or both! Going left to Middle Sugarloaf has the best view and wide flat rocks for lunch or a snack and amazing views into raw NH wilderness.
Welch and Dickey Loop
For any Bostonians looking for a day-trip getaway, we suggest the Welch and Dickey Trail Loop. It’s a 4.5-mile moderate level hike, just 2 hours away from the city. With wildflowers, streams, and a dog-friendly path, you’ll be glad you ventured out for some fresh air.
Mt. Lafayette, Lincoln, Little Haystack Loop
The view of Mt. Lincoln from Little Haystack – Photo by Bill Cobb
Give yourself the whole day for this hike, plan ahead for good weather and bring plenty of food and water. Start out by going up the old bridal path which will quickly ascend to a narrow ridge line with views across the notch of cannon, as you gain elevation you will be able to look down on Lonesome Lake. Before reaching the summit of Lafayette take a break at Greenleaf Hut. Here on out you are hiking above the treeline. Amazing views of the Franconia Ridge into the Pemi wilderness and all around. Bag three peaks along the ridge trail and begin descent via Falling Waters Trail. This trail is steep so take it slow. Finishes back where you started.
Mt. Jefferson via Caps Ridge Trail
Looking south to Mt. Washington – Photo by Jason Tors
Located on the northern end of the Presidential Range, Mt. Jefferson offers unique vantage points looking south to Mt. Washington then 360° views all around for the duration of the climb. Do not be deceived by the short distance of this hike. It’s all very steep with many rock scrambles along the way. The start of the hike begins at relatively high altitude so within a mile you are hiking above the treeline. Be sure to attempt this hike on a clear day with plenty of food and water.
Of course, there are countless other options and breathtaking views to explore in the White Mountain Range — including Mount Washington, tallest peak in the Northeast at 6,288 feet and site of “The world’s worst weather.” If you’re ever in the area, be sure to pop into our outlet store in Franconia!
What are your favorite trails to hike in the White Mountains?
**Please note that while beautiful to behold, New Hampshire’s mountain landscapes can also be dangerous to hike due to steep ascents, rapid weather changes, and a variety of other risk factors. It’s important to know your ability, and to consult with local authorities and experts such as the AMC before beginning a hike.