White Mountains National Forest

Thanks to their convenient location (just over a couple of hours' drive from Boston) the White Mountains National Forest is more than accessible for anyone wishing to spend one or two days in alpine conditions. As most of New Hampshire's 4000ft plus peaks can be found within the park's 750,000 acre perimeters (including the dominating 6,288ft Mount Washington) it will come as no surprise that this is high-altitude hill-walking heaven and one of the most toughest mountain ranges in New England . With around 160 miles of Appalachian Trail to be found in the National Forest as well as over 2,000 miles of recognised hiking tracks, this is an incredible location to visit especially if you're hankering to get out of the city.

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Highlights & Activities
  • Appalachian Trail

    The Appalachian Trail The New Hampshire stretch of the Appalachian Trail is pretty much all contained within the White Mountains National Forest and you'll find about 160 miles' worth of white-flashes to point you over some fairly severe slopes. As this stretch of the Appalachian Trail incorporates the formidable Mount Washington (where winds have been recorded at just over 230mph) you'll be well-advised to take all necessary precautions prior to heading off as conditions can change in the blink of an eye.

  • Franconia Ridge

    Franconia Ridge Hike If the Presidential Range (which includes Washington, Franklin and Jefferson) within the White Mountains are considered to be the tallest then the Franconia Range comes in a very close second with the likes of Lafayette, Truman and Lincoln all peaking at over 5,000ft. One of the most popular hikes along the Franconia Ridge is just shy of a 9-mile round-trip and although fairly strenuous it does contain plenty of alpine terrain above the tree-line which promise some amazing views if the weather allows it.

  • Lonesome Lake in Winter

    Lonesome Lake This is an excellent location to hike to if you're not hoping to entertain anything too strenuous and the mountain views across the water are well-worth getting up early for. One of the most popular trails (there are also lots around the lake) starts at Lafayette camping area and takes approximately an hour incorporating a 3 mile round-trip. Lonesome Lake itself can be found at Franconia Notch and features a genuine Appalachian Trail hut which is definitely worth a visit.

When to go
Temperature chart - White Mountains

The White Mountains National Forest are well-known for the propensity for change and from leaves to temperatures, ensuring you have the right range of clothing is essential for ensuring a happy and safe visit to New England . If you're happy not to see the 'fall foliage' then early September (when the kids go back to school) has to be ideal as you'll find plenty of blue sky days and far fewer crowds than you'd encounter a few weeks earlier or later. Of course, the spectacular explosion of colour is well-worth sharing and all though evenings can get a tad on the chilly side a steaming flask of soup or coffee will be more than enough to keep your energy levels soaring. The summer months in the White Mountains are splendid for day hiking and messing about on the water and the longer you wait i.e. August, early September, the warmer the lake water will be. Spring is another excellent season prior to the school holidays and again if you're prepared to forfeit foliage for peace and tranquillity then this is an excellent time of year to visit especially if you quite like the thought of wrapping up warm prior to hitting the trail.

Insider Tip: Fall foliage
Conway Lake in Fall, New Hampshire

New Hampshire is without doubt one of the best places in the whole world to catch leaves changing colour and if you find yourself hiking the Appalachian Trail in the White Mountains National Forest around mid to late September then prepare yourself for an absolute cacophony of colour to bench mark all other 'fall foliages'. Although it's impossible to pin-point the actual day that the colourful display will really kick in, it goes without saying that strolling through the woods in the autumn can be an exciting and wondrous affair and well-worth planning your entire trip to America around.

Tours that visit White Mountains National Forest


    11 days | USA East | Camping

    Aug-Oct from


    Perfect fall foliage and idyllic trails await you on this walking tour of North East USA. Explore the Appalachian Trail's valleys, peaks and thick forests with guided daily hikes, and then swap stories around the campfire on this invigorating walking holiday!

    Highlights: Berkshire Mtns | Mt Washington | Baxter

    View tour

    10 days | USA East | Hotels

    Jun-Oct from


    Explore the mountain ranges of New Hampshire, Vermont, Maine and Massachusetts on this walking adventure through Northeastern USA. With perfect fall foliage and idyllic trails, this lodging itinerary is a nature lover and photographers paradise!


    View tour

    11 days | USA East | Camping

    Jul-Sep from


    Experience the Appalachian Trail the original way, carrying all you need on your back and staying in huts along the way. Leaving civilisation behind, you'll explore the White Mountains National Forest on one of the most impressive sections of the famed Trail.

    Highlights: Back-country hiking | Wildlife | White Mountains

    View tour

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