White Mountain Day Trips: Our Top Three Hikes
Hiking is one of the most popular activities in New Hampshire’s White Mountains and fall is one of our favorite times for a hike. In addition to enjoying the fall colors while shuffling through the leaves, you’ll experience new vistas that have opened up from the fallen leaves.
“What is your favorite hike?” is one of the most popular questions asked by visitors. Some prefer hikes that are longer, lead them to higher elevations and offer technical challenges. We prefer hikes that are nearby, offer some great views and scenery along the way and can be accomplished in just a few hours at most for the round trip.
Diana’s Bath –
This is the shortest of our favorites. Hike 6/10ths of a mile on a relatively flat, wide gravel path for a view of the 75 foot cascading waterfall. There are lots of spots to relax and enjoy a picnic or read your book with the relaxing sound of water falling. This is also a favorite of many others so you will find fewer hikers midweek or early in the day. The trailhead is less than 4 miles from the Stonehurst Manor. This is a good hike to do when you don’t have much time. You’ll find more details in a recent post listing this as a Must Do Activity.
Black Cap –
Hike this trail for some amazing views of Maine and New Hampshire from a bare summit at 2369’. This is one of the most popular short hikes in the White Mountains at 2.5 miles for the out and back round trip which is likely to take you between 2 and 3 hours. Less than a mile from the Stonehurst Manor, turn right onto Hurricane Mountain Road and travel 3.5 miles to the trailhead which is located in a spruce and beech forest. Hurricane Mountain Road is a windy, switchback road once it begins to climb elevation and is not maintained in the winter. Plan to enjoy this hike from May to November.
Mt. Willard –
The trailhead for this hike is behind the railroad depot just before the AMC Crawford Notch Visitor Center which is about 30 miles from the Manor. While this does not meet our preference for a nearby hike, the drive is well worth it, particularly in the fall as shown in the photo above. This is a moderate out and back hike in Crawford Notch State Park with a round trip of 3.2 miles and a climb of just under 900 feet. Since you begin at the height of the Notch, the views from the 2800’ summit are quite spectacular, particularly in the fall! This is the hike we chose for our Hiking Adventure Packages which include lunch at the summit. Watch our calendar for the next date!
Before you head out on any hike, be sure you have plenty of water, have the proper footwear for support and stability, and equip yourself with layers as weather in the mountains can change quickly and sometimes without much notice.
Note: Parking at most of the trailheads requires the display of a daily pass from the US National Forest System. These are available currently for $3.00.