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Best Scenic Hikes in the Whites

Best Scenic Hikes in the Whites
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Mount Willard
Photo/Art by Bob Patzelt
Mount Willard

Yankee Magazine picks the best scenic hikes in the White Mountains with the help of outdoor adventurer, hiker, and cyclist Marty Basch, author of The White Mountain Ride Guide: A Backroad and Trailside Companion (Top of the World Communications, 1998). For more on his travels, read “One Tank Away,” online at:

Mount Eisenhower

There’s nothing easy about a New Hampshire 4,000-footer, but the taxing trek up 4,760-foot Eisenhower in Chandlers Purchase generally offers fine footing before the steep push to its flat, bald crown; the awe-inspiring view takes in fellow outlying Presidential Range jewels. J. Rayner Edmands’ careful trail design has withstood countless steps since 1909, helping hikers to reach the sweeping panorama. Edmands Path & Mount Eisenhower Loop, 6.6 miles round trip. Trailhead on Mount Clinton Road, Crawfords Purchase, NH.

Mount Chocorua
Photo/Art by Suzanne DeGeorge
Mount Chocorua

Welch & Dickey Mountains

A splendid loop connects these two low-lying mountains near Waterville Valley, featuring Mad River Valley vistas, mostly forgiving hiking, and incredible ledges. There’s some rock scrambling, but the eye candy is worth it. Welch-Dickey Loop Trail, 4.4 miles. Trailhead 6 miles east on Route 49 from I-93 Exit 28; turn left on Upper Mad River Road and right on Orris Road, Waterville Valley, NH.

Mount Willard

The hike to the ledges of this small Willey Range peak in Crawford Notch serves up an eagle’s-eye view of a U-shaped valley. The trek leaves a lofty neighborhood—including the source of the Saco River, a train depot, and the Appalachian Mountain Club’s Highland Center—and ends at an open perch showcasing the towering Webster Cliffs, historic Willey Slide, and more. Mount Willard Trail, 3.2 miles round trip. Trailhead on Route 302, about 8 miles south of junction Routes 302/3, Crawford Notch State Park, Harts Location, NH.

Franconia Ridge
Photo/Art by Taylor Thomas
Franconia Ridge

Franconia Ridge

Arduous and wonderful, the traverse over Little Haystack, Mount Lincoln, and Mount Lafayette is a classic high-wire circuit, with a healthy share of the trip above treeline. Simply, it showcases the glory of the White Mountains. Be cognizant of exposure to weather. Old Bridle Path, Falling Waters, Franconia Ridge, and Greenleaf Trails, 9 miles. Trailhead at Lafayette Place Campground exit off Franconia Notch Parkway (I-93), Franconia/Lincoln, NH.

See More! Franconia Ridge Loop | The Perfect White Mountains Hike

Mount Chocorua
With a multitude of exacting trail choices, paths lead to the bare 3,500-foot summit in Albany and its superb stage showcasing the vastness of the Whites and beyond. A wonderful vantage point to see Mount Washington and the unspoiled Sandwich Range Wilderness. Champney Falls Trail, 7.6 miles round trip. Trailhead about 10 miles west on Kancamagus Highway from junction Routes 112/16, Albany, NH.

Please Note: This information was accurate at the time of publication. When planning a trip, please confirm details by directly contacting any company or establishment you intend to visit.

Updated Monday, August 31st, 2015

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