The 10 Best Hiking Mountains in New Hampshire

Written by Tracy Graham
Published: September 15, 2022
© Harvey Barrison / Creative Commons – License / Original
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The mountains in New Hampshire are some of the prettiest in the country. They’re not the tallest in the country, but the varied types of landscapes and the stunning views from the White Mountains make New Hampshire a favorite vacation spot for people who love the outdoors. There’s fantastic fishing, hiking, camping, biking, and skiing throughout the state. New Hampshire is also home to about 85 miles of the Appalachian Trail and some of the mountains in New Hampshire are part of the AT. There are also some beautiful national parks in New Hampshire that are well worth the trip if you’re planning a New England vacation.

10 Best Hiking Mountains In New Hampshire

New Hampshire is known for the wonderful opportunities it has for outdoor activities. But the hiking in New Hampshire is great for everyone, not just serious hikers. That’s why these mountains in New Hampshire are some of the best hiking mountains in the country. They can be enjoyed by all types of hikers, including inexperienced hikers or children who are traveling with their parents. So if you are looking for some place to go on a great hiking or camping vacation start by checking out these mountains in New Hampshire:

Mount Washington

Located in: White Mountain National Forest

Height: 6,288 feet

Nearby City:  Sargent’s Purchase

Known For: Mount Washington is one of the most frequently visited mountains in New Hampshire. There is a weather test facility, the Mount Washington Observatory, on the summit. The summit of Mount Washington is also part of the Appalachian Trail. Thru-hikers must cross the summit of Mount Washington to stay on the trail.

What Mount Washington is most well-known for is for having severe weather. At the summit the weather is so severe that it can be used in Arctic weather tests of equipment and goods. You should remember that it is always cold at the summit of Mount Washington and dress accordingly. Anytime you are going up to the summit you must have warm clothing and a jacket.

Mount Washington is a favorite hike among serious hikers, but it’s accessible to almost everyone. There is a train that can take visitors almost all the way to the summit and there is also a paved road that ascends nearly to the summit. Those who want to try hiking it and are prepared for the weather at the summit can strike out on the four mile Tuckerman Ravine Trail to get to the top of the mountain.

Mount Washington from Intervale, NH
Mount Washington is a favorite hike among serious hikers, but it’s accessible to almost everyone.

©Harvey Barrison / Creative Commons – License

Mount Jefferson

Located in: White Mountain National Forest

Height: 5,712 feet

Nearby City:  Thompson

Known For: Another popular hiking mountain in New Hampshire is Mount Jefferson. Mount Jefferson isn’t too far from Mount Washington and it’s part of a series of mountains named after former Presidents.

There are two ridges that lead to the summit of Mount Jefferson: Ridge of the Caps and Castle Ridge. You can hike either one to the summit however the Caps Ridge Trail has a direct ascent to the summit so if you are day hiking and want to reach the summit fast that’s the trail to take. You can pick up the Caps Ridge Trail from the parking area at Jefferson Notch.

The views from the summit are stunning because you will be surrounded by the Jefferson Ravine, Castle Ravine, and the Great Gulf which are all huge caverns left behind when glaciers moved through the area. Getting to the summit is a little bit of a challenge so this hike is probably best for intermediate or advanced hikers.

sunny autumn day at Mount Jefferson
The views from the summit of Mount Jefferson are stunning. You will be surrounded by the Jefferson Ravine, Castle Ravine, and the Great Gulf which are all huge caverns left behind when glaciers moved through the area.

©Mihai_Andritoiu/Shutterstock.com

Mount Pierce

Located in: White Mountain National Forest

Height: 4,310 feet

Nearby City:  Bears Grant

Known For: Mount Pierce is another hiking spot for hikers from all over the country. The Appalachian Trail passes over Mount Pierce. So if you’re hiking Mount Pierce, watch out for thru-hikers who may be moving fast to get to the next AT shelter. This mountain is also home to the oldest continually hiked trail in the United States, the Crawford Path. Crawford Path was started all the way back in 1819 by two brothers named Abel and Ethan Crawford.

When hikers who are trying to only hike mountains over 4,000 feet are in the area, Mount Pierce is one of the first mountains in New Hampshire they climb. That’s because the climb up Mount Pierce is fine for intermediate or experienced hikers and gives them a great introduction to what climbing more than 4,000 feet in New Hampshire’s weather will be like. Hikers usually take the Crawford Path all the way to the summit of Mount Pierce.

The Appalachian Trail crosses over Mount Pierce.
Mount Pierce is also home to the oldest continually hiked trail in the United States, the Crawford Path

©Luis Enrique Torres/Shutterstock.com

Mount Chocorua

Located in: Sandwich Ridge

Height: 3,490 feet

Nearby City:  Conway

Known For:  Mount Chocorua has been named by the Appalachian Trail Conservancy as one of the most photographed mountains in the world. This stunningly picturesque mountain is something that people travel to New Hampshire just to see. The summit of Mount Chocorua is bare rock due to forest fires that have happened throughout the last century. There are also a series of rocky ledges that allow for the spectacular views that the mountain is known for.

As you hike the rocky terraces that are scattered throughout the mountain allow hikes to see gorgeous pine forests, the other Presidential mountains in the distance, and other scenic vistas. But one of the most stunning things you’ll see hiking Mount Chocorua is the stunning mountain Lake Chocorua. This mirror like lake is nestled in a serene mountain plateau.

In order to see Lake Chocorua you will have to take the Champney Falls Trail, which is one of several very popular hiking trails. Champney Falls Trail is a longer trail than some of the others because it goes around the mountain and will take you through some of the forests as well as to Champney Falls and Lake Chocorua.

The summit of Mount Chocorua is bare rock due to forest fires that have happened throughout the last century.
Mount Chocorua has been named by the Appalachian Trail Conservancy as one of the most photographed mountains in the world.

©Thomas J. McLaughlin/Shutterstock.com

Cannon Mountain

Located in: Franconia Notch State Park,

Height: 4,100 feet

Nearby City:  Lincoln

Known For:  Cannon Mountain is one of the best mountains in New Hampshire for skiers, rock climbers, and serious hikers. That’s because Cannon Mountain has a practically sheer rocky face and the mountain has very rocky terrain in the summer. In the winter it’s one of the most popular ski areas in several states because it has two separate ski areas that both are almost at the summit of the mountain.

 There is a separate ski area for beginners and those who want to try cross country skiing, snowmobiling, and snowshoeing. Then there is an area near the summit for those dare devils who want to snowboard and downhill ski. The famous snowy winters of New Hampshire create the perfect conditions for skiing on Mount Cannon.

In the summer time outdoor enthusiasts who are learning rock climbing and mountain climbing flock to Mount Cannon to practice their skills. The Whitney-Gilman Ridge is the most popular trail to the summit and it’s almost straight up a sheet of rock. It’s a challenging route that’s really only suitable for experienced hikers or those people who have a team with them because they are training to get more experience. Until 2003 there was a unique rock formation on the sheer face of the mountain that looked like old man. But, the Old Man In The Mountain crumbled in 2003.

Cannon Mountain has a practically sheer rocky face and the mountain has very rocky terrain in the summer.
Cannon Mountain is one of the best mountains in New Hampshire for skiers, rock climbers, and serious hikers.

©Nancy Kennedy/Shutterstock.com

Mount Lafayette

Located in: Franconia Notch State Park

Height: 5,249 feet

Nearby City:  Franconia

Known For: Mount Lafayette is the highest point in the Franconia Ridge and even though the summit of the mountain doesn’t have a particularly high elevation the summit is known for its Alpine climate. That means it’s cold at the summit year round and there isn’t a lot of vegetation that can grow up there because the conditions are so harsh.

Despite the cold weather at the summit this mountain offers some of the best views in the entire state. Fall is the best time to hike Mount Lafayette so that you can enjoy the stunning view of the autumn colors on the trees in the forests that surround Mount Lafayette.

It’s also known for the beauty of the hiking trails. There are three primary peaks that you can hit on Mount Lafayette. The trails are challenging but if you’re up to the challenge you can hike all three peaks in one ambitious day. You may need more time than that though so that you can stop and enjoy the beauty of the waterfalls, forests, plains, and lakes that you walk by as you hike Mount Lafayette.

Mount Lafayette is the highest point in the Franconia Ridge
Mount Lafayette is the highest point in the Franconia Ridge and even though the summit of the mountain doesn’t have a particularly high elevation the summit is known for its Alpine climate.

©Dan Hanscom/Shutterstock.com

Mount Monadnock

Located in: Monadnock State Park

Height: 3,165 feet

Nearby City:  Jaffrey

Known For: Mount Monadnock is one of the best hiking mountains in New Hampshire because it’s suitable for hikers who have no experience and hikers who have years of experience. Families can hike it together and some of the trails are fine for smaller children. This mountain really has something to offer everyone.

And the views are stunning. Even though this mountain isn’t that tall it has everything that makes mountain hiking special. Beautiful views of the state park forest around the mountain and you can see even see the skyline for Boston in the distance on a clear day. There are gorgeous dense forests, lush streams and lakes, waterfalls, and some of the most vibrant autumn colors you will ever see in the fall.

There are many different trails that cross Mount Monadnock. Some are best for experienced hikers and trail runners who don’t want to be slowed down by new hikers or families. The perfect trails for families and beginner hikers are the White Dot Trail and the White Cross Trail. The White Dot Trail is a two mile easy trail up towards the summit and the White Cross Trail is a two mile easy trail down again. Both trails will lead hikers through the prettiest parts of the mountain.

hikers on Mount Monadnock
Mount Monadnock is one of the best hiking mountains in New Hampshire because it’s suitable for hikers who have no experience and hikers who have years of experience.

©Beim Productions/Shutterstock.com

Mount Willard

Located in: White Mountains

Height: 2,865 feet

Nearby City:  Crawford Notch

Known For: Mount Willard is one of the family-friendly hiking mountains in New Hampshire. The mountain’s elevation is relatively low and it’s an easy climb to the summit but once you’re at the summit there are gorgeous panoramic views of the Crawford Notch Gap. And this area is wonderful for families because it has amenities that families need even in the outdoors.

The best trail for families or beginner hikers is the Avalon Trail. The trailhead for most trails is behind the historical Crawford Notch Depot, an old railway station. Across the road from the railway station is a beautiful lake and Macomber Family Information Center.

 At the Information Center there are restrooms, shops where you can buy food and drinks, and the information center that has lots of fun information about the mountain and the area. If you want to stay for a couple of days and explore the area as well as hike Mount Willard the Appalachian Trail Club maintains a facility on the grounds where people get find lodging, community, and some great programs for kids.

View from Mount Willard
Once you’re at the summit of Mount Willard, there are gorgeous panoramic views of the Crawford Notch Gap.

©Dan Y/Shutterstock.com

Mount Garfield

Located in: White Mountains

Height: 4,501 feet

Nearby City:  Franconia

Known For: Mount Garfield is one of the “4000 footer” mountains in New Hampshire, or mountains with an elevation of more than 4,000 feet. Even though Mount Garfield has a relatively tall elevation for mountains in the state it’s a nice easy walk almost all the way to the top. That’s partly because the mountain is surrounded by the Pemigewasset Wilderness. The Pemigewasset Wilderness used to be a very busy logging site, and the primary trail up Mount Garfield is made from a tractor road that was used in logging operations on Mount Garfield and in the surrounding Pemigewasset Wilderness.

That means hiking to the summit is easy for almost everyone. The trail is graded and smooth and until you reach the very top it’s pretty gentle. There is a bit of scramble to get to the summit and there is snow at the summit most of the year. But overall this popular hiking spot is accessible for a wide range of hikers.

View from Mount Garfield summit
Even though Mount Garfield has a relatively tall elevation for mountains in the state it’s a nice easy walk almost all the way to the top.

©Nataliya Zozulya/Shutterstock.com

Mount Carrigain

Located in: Pemigewasset Wilderness

Height: 4,700 feet

Nearby City:  Livermore

Known For: If you make it to the summit of Mount Carrigain you will be treated to breathtaking 360 degree views because there is a large fire tower on the summit. That alone makes this climb worth it. But along the way you’ll also see amazing wildflowers in the spring and summer and stunning fall foliage in the forests. The Signal Ridge Trail is the most popular trail for hiking all year long and for snowshoeing in the winter. It’s a 10 mile out and back trail so if you’re planning on doing it all in one day you had better get an early start, especially in the winter when darkness falls early.

Mount Carrigan
Mount Carrigain boasts amazing wildflowers in the spring and summer and stunning fall foliage in the forests.

©James Dillon/Shutterstock.com

10 Tallest Mountains In New Hampshire

  • Mount Washington
  • Mount Adams                               
  • Mount Jefferson                           
  • Mount Sam Adams
  • Mount Clay       
  • Boott Spur
  • Mount Quincy Adams   
  • Mount Monroe                             
  • Mount Madison             
  • Mount Abigail Adams

Highest Point In New Hampshire

Mount Washington – 6,288 feet

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The Featured Image

Mount Washington from Intervale, NH
© Harvey Barrison / Creative Commons – License / Original

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FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) 

What is the highest point in New Hampshire?

Mount Washington, at 6,288 feet, is the highest point in New Hampshire.

How much of the Appalachian Trail is in New Hampshire?

New Hampshire is also home to about 85 miles of the Appalachian Trail and some of the mountains in New Hampshire are part of the AT.

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