I’ve done a fair amount of hikes all over New England, but New Hampshire remains my favorite hiking state. Home to the majestic White Mountains and with no less than 48 mountain peaks higher than 4,000 feet (1,219 meters), New Hampshire is a true hiker’s paradise.
This post is not an “absolute” top 10 because I haven’t hiked every single mountain in New Hampshire (yet). Instead, it is a personal top 10 including my ten favorite hikes in New Hampshire so far.
Best Hikes in New Hampshire: Top 10 Mountains
10. Webster Slide Mountain
Webster Slide Mountain is a less visited mountain in the woods of western New Hampshire. At 2,184 feet (666 meters), it’s not the tallest of mountains, but it’s the journey that is most important. The Wachipauka Pond Trail leads toward beautiful Wachipauka Pond and its small and basic campsite. From there, the Webster Slide Trail climbs to the summit of Webster Slide Mountain, which has decent, although a bit obstructed, views.
9. Black Mountain
The hike up Black Mountain, also situated in western New Hampshire, is rather short, but is absolutely worth it. Especially the last stretch to the 2,836-foot (864-meter) summit is particularly steep and rewarding. The views from the summit ledges are nothing less than spectacular.
8. Blueberry Mountain
Blueberry Mountain makes for a surprisingly fun hike in New Hampshire. Rising up 2,625 feet (800 meters), the summit isn’t particularly tall or scenic, but the way up and down does offer several fine views. Especially near the top, the Blueberry Mountain Trail is wide and open and features great views of the surrounding mountains.
7. Mount Kearsarge
A so-called monadnock, Mount Kearsarge is special in the sense that it stands isolated from other mountains and has a bare granite summit. These two features make that the 2,987-foot (893-meter) top offers amazing 360-degree views. The hike itself is nice as well, also providing several scenic vistas.
6. Smarts Mountain
Smarts Mountain is one of the most prominent and recognizable mountains in the Upper Valley. Located in the town of Lyme, almost on the border with Vermont, Smarts Mountain is traversed by the Appalachian Trail and makes for a relatively easy, yet scenic, morning or afternoon hike in New Hampshire. There are a few downright breathtaking views on the way while the 2,909-foot (887-meter) summit has a campsite and a fire tower. The summit is, however, covered with trees and doesn’t offer views at all. If the weather permits, the fire tower can be climbed for some spectacular 360-degree views, though.
5. Mount Jackson
Mount Jackson is located in the Presidential Range in the White Mountains. This is one of the 4,000-footers, its summit reaching a height of 4,052 feet (1,235 meters). The trail to the summit is mostly through the woods and doesn’t really offer many views—it’s at the summit and on the Presidential Ridge, however, that the vistas are jaw-dropping. This is the roof of New England, after all.
4. Mount Moosilauke
Another 4,000-footer, Mount Moosilauke is one of the most popular mountains for hiking in New Hampshire. The mountain is owned by Dartmouth College, which runs a superb mountain lodge at the mountain’s base and maintains the hiking trails to the 4,802-foot (1,464-meter) summit.
3. Moat Mountain(s)
The three Moat Mountains in the eastern corner of the White Mountains may not be that high—Middle Moat Mountain is 2,805 feet (854 meters)—but they do make for a wonderful day hike. Their summits are bare and offer surprisingly spectacular views in all direction. This trio of mountains is among my favorites because of their unexpected beauty.
2. Mount Lafayette
Located in the Franconia Ridge in the White Mountain, Mount Lafayette can be climbed on an extraordinary loop trail that also takes in Little Haystack Mountain and Mount Lincoln. All three mountains are higher than 4,000 feet, with Mount Lafayette reaching a height of 5,249 feet (1,600 meters). The views from the Franconia Ridge and Mount Lafayette are among the most memorable I’ve ever seen.
1. Mount Cardigan
Mount Cardigan is my number one favorite mountain to hike in New Hampshire for three reasons. One; it is a relatively easy hike with some challengingly steep sections. Two; just like Mount Kearsarge, it is a monadnock and therefore offers expansive views. Three; the 3,156-foot (962-meter) summit is completely bare, making it amazing fun to explore and enjoy the open views in all directions.
When visiting New Hampshire, you will most likely want a place to rest your head after a fun day of hiking. Check out this great range of hotels in New Hampshire!