Mt. Washington Valley is one place where you won’t feel insulted when someone suggests that you “take a hike”! With 770,000 acres of White Mountain National Forest, it could take a lifetime to even begin to see it all. Hiking is a wonderful family activity, and best of all, it’s free! Below are ten easy and approachable hikes that will get everyone in your crew on board for a hike in the Mt. Washington Valley, NH
Note that a parking fee is charged when cars are parked at any of the White Mountain National Forest parking areas. Parking passes can be purchased from The Saco Ranger Station at the beginning of Kancamagus Highway, or at self-serve pay stations in each designated parking lot.
4 Hours or Less: Black Cap Path: This trail through spruce and beech forests to the bare summit of Black Cap offers great views to Conway Lake. 2.4 miles. From Rt. 16 in Intervale, turn right onto Hurricane Mtn Rd. The trail head right, 3.7 miles from Rt. 16.
Mountain Pond Loop Trail: A pleasant, easy loop around the pond. 2.6 miles. From Rt. 16A in Intervale, turn east on Town Hall Road and go 6.8 miles to the trailhead.
Doublehead Ski Trail: Somewhat steep in places, the summit of the trail offers great views to the east and Mountain Pond. 3.6 miles. From Rt. 16A in Jackson, take Rt. 16B to Black Mountain and bear right over the bridge on Dundee Rd. The trail head is marked.
Boulder Loop Trail: Pick up a brochure at the Saco Ranger Station about this self-guided nature trail. There is a gradual climb with some steep pitches. Offers spectacular views of Mt. Chocorua and the Swift River. 2.8 miles. The trail begins near the Covered Bridge Campground on the Kancamagus Hgwy, east of Conway.
Mt. Willard: Easy grade, good footing and great views of Crawford Notch. 2.8 miles. The trail head is near AMC’s Highland Center on Route 302 in Crawford Notch.
1 hour or less: Jackson Loop: This loop has sidewalks the entire way. Expect to share the path with joggers, roller bladers, bikers and cyclists. 1 mile or 30 minutes. The loop runs along Rt 16A and Route 16 in Jackson. There’s ample parking along the way.
Nature Trail Walk at Wildcat Mountain: The Way of the Wildcat. Learn the tales that Wildcat Mt. has to tell. Take this 20 min walk through the woods, following the Peabody River. Once on this footpath, you may chose to walk the HALF MILE TRAIL to the base of Thompson Falls. Simply take Route 16 through Pinkham Notch to Wildcat Ski Area.
Rail & River Interpretive Trail: A self-guided tour with interpretive signs to explain natural features of the area. An easy 1/2 mile walk, fairly flat with a few stairs. The trail begins behind the Russell-Colbath House on the Kancamagus Hwy, east of Conway.
Deer Brook Pond: This trail parallels the Swift River and has many side loops. It’s recommended for “watchable wildlife” opportunities. Go 6 miles west from Conway on the Kancamagus Hwy. Park near the covered bridge and the trail is to your left.
Lost Pond & Square Ledge: The trail takes you to a scenic pond and past beaver ponds, along a stream , then ends with spectacular views of Mt. Washington and Pinkham Notch. The trail begins at the pond across the road from the AMC Pinkham Notch Camp on Rt. 16.
Try a number of hikes throughout the Presidential Mountain Range starting at the AMC’s Pinkham Notch Joe Dodge Lodge or these wonderful hikes for plenty of scenery and to experience the exhilaration of The White Mountains.
For complete trip planning resources and information, visit www.MtWashingtonvValley.org or call 800-367-3364 (800-DO-SEE-NH) to talk to a Mt Washington Valley Chamber of Commerce rep. To learn more about New Hampshire vacations, go to www.VisitNH.gov.
Originally written by Marti Mayne
Updated by Mt. Washington Valley Chamber of Commerce in 2021