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10 Best Hikes in New Hampshire

New Hampshire, the "Granite State," boasts a multitude of hiking opportunities, showcasing its stunning landscapes. From the towering peaks of the White Mountains to the serene lakeshores and captivating waterfalls, the state offers a wide array of natural wonders. In this article, we'll delve into ten breathtaking hikes in New Hampshire, including three that lead to enchanting waterfalls, all described to provide a deep sense of immersion in these outdoor adventures.

To see more detailed info about any of these hikes, try checking out AllTrails.

Let's get started:

1. Arethusa Falls Trail


Arethusa Falls in early fall

Quick overview:

  • Distance: 2.6 miles (round-trip)

  • Difficulty Level: Moderate

  • Nearby City: Conway

The Arethusa Falls Trail, nestled within Crawford Notch State Park, invites you on a refreshing 2.6-mile round-trip journey. As you follow the trail, the scent of the pine forest envelopes you, creating a soothing atmosphere. The sound of rushing water gradually grows louder with each step, guiding you toward the main attraction. Finally, you arrive at Arethusa Falls, where the 160-foot cascade captivates you with its majestic presence, sending water tumbling over the rugged cliffs.


2. Glen Ellis Falls Trail


Super lush image of Glen Ellis Falls

Quick overview:

  • Distance: 0.3 miles (round-trip)

  • Difficulty Level: Easy

  • Nearby City: Jackson

For a quick yet exhilarating adventure, head to Pinkham Notch to access the Glen Ellis Falls Trail. This short 0.3-mile hike leads to a spectacular viewing area. Your ears are greeted by the crescendo of rushing waters as you approach the falls. Sunlight dances upon the cascading waters, creating a captivating interplay of light and shadow. The cool mist lightly kisses your skin, providing a refreshing contrast to the warmth of the sun.


3. Sabbaday Falls Trail


Sabbaday Falls bridge trail

Quick overview:

  • Distance: 0.3 miles (round-trip)

  • Difficulty Level: Easy

  • Nearby City: Conway

Nestled along the Kancamagus Scenic Byway, the Sabbaday Falls Trail beckons with its tranquil beauty. This brief 0.3-mile trail guides you through a serene forested landscape. The air carries the earthy scent of moss and ferns, creating a calming ambiance. The gentle melody of a babbling brook accompanies your journey. Upon reaching Sabbaday Falls, the smooth rocks underfoot beckon you to explore further as you savor the sight of water gently flowing through narrow chutes and into serene pools.


4. Welch and Dickey Loop Trail


Welch and Dickey Trail rolling hills view

Quick overview:

  • Distance: 4.4 miles (loop)

  • Difficulty Level: Moderate to Strenuous

  • Nearby City: Waterville Valley

Thornton's Welch and Dickey Loop Trail presents a captivating 4.4-mile hike that rewards you with awe-inspiring vistas. The fragrance of pine trees accompanies your every step, enhancing your connection with the natural surroundings. The leaves underfoot rustle softly, providing a soothing backdrop to your hike. Upon reaching the summit, your senses are greeted by sweeping views of the surrounding landscape. The cool mountain breeze and the gentle warmth of the sun on your skin heighten your sensory experience.


5. Mount Cardigan


Mount Cardigan granite with trees

Quick overview:

  • Distance: 3.1 miles (round-trip)

  • Difficulty Level: Moderate

  • Nearby City: Canaan

Nestled within the Lakes Region, Mount Cardigan offers a moderately challenging hike. The 3.1-mile round-trip journey via the West Ridge Trail takes you through fragrant pine forests. The ever-present scent of pine contributes to the immersive experience. The trail beneath your boots transitions from soft forest floor to exposed granite ledges. Reaching the open summit, your senses are enveloped in the expansive vistas of lakes, forests, and mountains, inviting you to immerse yourself fully in the natural beauty.


6. Diana's Baths Trail


Diana's Baths up close shot of pools

Quick overview:

  • Distance: 1.2 miles (round-trip)

  • Difficulty Level: Easy

  • Nearby City: North Conway

Situated in the heart of the White Mountains, the Diana's Baths Trail guides you on a 1.2-mile hike to a series of cascading waterfalls and natural pools. The scent of moss and ferns mingles with the gentle melody of the babbling brook, creating a harmonious experience. Upon reaching the baths, the sensation of stepping onto smooth, sun-warmed rocks is invigorating. The sight of the falls and the crystal-clear pools enhances the overall sensory immersion.


7. Champney Falls Trail


Champney Falls view from below

Quick overview:

  • Distance: 3.2 miles (round-trip)

  • Difficulty Level: Moderate

  • Nearby City: Bartlett

Champney Falls Trail in Albany promises a captivating 3.2-mile journey. As you hike through the fragrant pine forests, the earthy scent fills the air, deepening your connection with the natural world. Occasional glimpses of sunlight filtering through the trees infuse your hike with a sense of adventure. The anticipation builds until you finally arrive at Champney Falls, where the cool mist caresses your skin, and the sight of water cascading over moss-covered rocks captivates your senses.


8. Mount Monadnock


Mount Monadnock with glassy water

Quick overview:

  • Distance: Varies by trail, typically around 4 miles (round-trip)

  • Difficulty Level: Moderate to Strenuous

  • Nearby City: Jaffrey

Mount Monadnock stands tall as an iconic peak in New Hampshire. Ascend via the White Dot Trail, which immerses you in fragrant forests. The sound of your footsteps on the trail blends with the gentle whispers of the wind through the trees. Reaching the summit, the crisp mountain air fills your lungs, and your senses are treated to a breathtaking panorama of rolling hills and distant peaks.


9. Franconia Ridge Loop


High up view of Franconia Ridge

Quick overview:

  • Distance: 8.9 miles (loop)

  • Difficulty Level: Strenuous

  • Nearby City: Lincoln

Embark on an invigorating 8.9-mile hike through the White Mountains with the Franconia Ridge Loop. This trail takes you across three peaks: Little Haystack Mountain, Mount Lincoln, and Mount Lafayette. The scent of pine and earth surrounds you as you ascend through forested terrain. The rustling leaves provide a soothing backdrop, and as you reach the open ridge, your senses are greeted by the expansive views. The cool mountain breeze and the sight of the Pemigewasset Wilderness deepen your immersion in nature's grandeur.


10. Mount Washington


Snowy Mount Washington in the Winter

Quick overview:

  • Distance: Varies by trail, typically around 8.5 miles (round-trip)

  • Difficulty Level: Strenuous

  • Nearby City: North Conway

Mount Washington, the highest peak in the northeastern United States, offers a challenging sensory journey. The Tuckerman Ravine Trail leads you through alpine terrain where the scent of rugged mountain flora permeates the air. The path transitions from rocky to soft forest floor beneath your feet. As you ascend, the sound of the wind's whispers blends with your own breath. Upon reaching the summit, the chilly air and the breathtaking 360-degree views across the White Mountains envelop your senses, connecting you with the immense beauty of the natural world.


Conclusion


In the embrace of New Hampshire's pristine landscapes, these ten gorgeous hikes, including three that lead to mesmerizing waterfalls, offer a profound communion with nature. As you explore the rugged trails, breathe in the scent of pine and earth, listen to the rustling leaves and babbling brooks, and savor the panoramic vistas that stretch beyond the horizon. Each step is a symphony of sensations, an orchestration of the senses that reaffirms the inexhaustible beauty of the Granite State.


Pack your gear, lace up your boots, and uncover the hidden treasures of New Hampshire's hiking wonderland. Whether you seek solitude, adventure, or simply a moment of respite in the heart of nature, these trails are your gateway to an unforgettable wilderness experience.



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