The Top 10 White Mountain Day Hikes

For Generations people have flocked to New Hampshire’s White Mountains region for the pure beauty of the Mountains!  Hiking is a great way to experience this beauty up close. There are a variety of hikes in the White Mountains that are accessible to hikers of all levels.  Here we have put together a top 10 list of day hikes that you can enjoy!

We really hope that you all enjoy our list of hikes but do want to make sure that if you are new to hiking that you not only take a look at our guide but also research each of these hikes as well.  Some of these hikes are intense even though they are day hikes. It is also important to make sure you are packed properly for hiking. This is an amazing adventure but it is just that, an adventure.  Staying safe and being prepared allows for everyone to have fun!

Franconia Ridge Loop Trail

Let’s start off with one of the very best, Franconia Ridge Loop Trail!  I dare say this is the best hike in the White Mountains. National Geographic agrees, as they have named it one one of the world’s top 10 best hiking trails!  This challenging trail extends for 8.6 glorious miles, across 3 different mountain ranges, Little Haystack Mountain, Lincoln, and Lafayette. Most of this hike is above the tree-line allowing for the most beautiful views in New England!  All in all this advanced hike pays off in the unexplainable views!

Franconia Notch State Park
260 Tramway Drive
Franconia/Lincoln, NH 03580

Distance: 8.6 Miles, Elevation Gain: 3,822 Feet, Route Type: Loop

Check out this article about the Cannon Mountain Hiking adventure from our friend Anthony.

Artists Bluffs Trail

This is my favorite hike to do with new or never before hikers.  This is a relatively easy introduction to hiking and the White Mountains!  This 1.4 mile loop trail allows you to enjoy colorful wildflowers and a photo-worthy view of Franconia Notch and Echo Lake from the top of the bluff.  Artists Bluff hike gives you all the glory of the amazing view you get when hiking without the required work of a more grueling hike. This is a must for all first time hikers and will definitely get you hooked on the hiking high!

68 Echo Lake Road
North Conway, NH 03860

Distance: 1.4 Miles, Elevation Gain: 387 Feet, Route Type: Loop

Arethusa Falls

Arethusa Falls is a show-stopping 140 foot waterfall. This trail is considered a moderate to difficult hike, not do to the distance but to the rocky steep trail.  That being said it is a very doable trail for all types of hikers including young hikers who love climbing, and well worth the rocky steps. The Arethusa Falls trail is a 1.5 mile trek (one way) but you can add to your adventure and hike to Frankenstein Cliffs.  This will extend your hike to just under a 5 mile loop. Frankenstein’s Cliffs are even popular during winter months, when ice climbers and snowshoers use this trail. I can personally tell you this hike is well worth it!

Arethusa Falls Parking Area
Route 302
Hart’s Location, NH 03812

Distance: 1.5 Miles (one way), Elevation Gain: 800 Feet, Route Type: Out & Back 

*This hike does have the option to include Frankenstein Cliffs making the Distance just under 5 miles, the Elevation Gain to 1,538 Feet, and the Route Type a Loop.*

Baldface Mountain Loop

Baldface Mountain Trail is located near Intervale, New Hampshire. The trail starts out with a one-mile climb before you start the steeper ascent to the first of two rocky summits.  Baldface is a difficult hike that allows hikers to encounter amazing gorges, cairn-to-cairn navigation, creek hopping and some technical scramble sections. The two summits North Baldface and South Baldface offer distant views of Mount Washington!

TrailHead Parking lot
NH Route 113
Chatham, NH

Distance: 9.5 Miles, Elevation Gain: 3,454, Route Type: Loop

Middle & North Sugarloaf

North and Middle Sugarloaf are two small mountains located just outside Twin Mountain, NH.  If you are looking for a moderate hike that will maximize your views for your time then this mountain is for you! Both peaks have great views but Middle Sugarloaf’s summit is a 270 degree open ledge with some of the finest views in the White Mountains including views of Rosebrook, Twin, and the Presidential Mountain Ranges!

Trailhead Parking 
Zealand Road (off Rte. 302)
Carroll, NH

Distance: 3.3 Miles, Elevation Gain: 1,069 Feet, Route Type: Out & Back

Tuckerman Ravine to Mount Washington

Any top 10 list must include Tuckerman Ravine leading up to The White Mountains highest peak Mount Washington! This is a rugged and demanding hike but the ravine is exceptionally beautiful, and is the most popular route to reach the summit of Mount Washington with the trail being mostly above the treeline. The ravine attracts visitors throughout the year and each spring you can see daring skiers test their skills against its headwall. Tuckerman Ravine to Mount Washington is for the more experienced hikers but if you are going to venture out make sure to be prepared as Mount Washington has extreme weather changes.  In the summer months the visitors center atop the peak is open and a great place to visit!

Pinkham Notch Visitor Center
361 NH-16
Gorham, NH 03581

Distance: 7.9 Miles, Elevation Gain: 4,169 Miles, Route Type: Loop

Welch Dickey Loop

Welch Dickey makes a unique scenic loop connecting the summits of Welch and Dickey Mountains. Welch Mountain is a rocky peak that forms the western wall, the gateway to Waterville Valley.  A short distance away exposes the summit of Dickey Mountain. This is a family-friendly and can be a busy trail. There are many outstanding views of the countryside that can be seen from the open rock outcrops and ledges.  It is a real classic White Mountain Hike!

Welch Dickey Trail Parking
Orris Road
Waterville Valley, NH 03215

Distance:  4 Miles, Elevation Gain: 1,751 Feet, Route Type: Loop

Mount Pemigewasset

Most people who hike this trail call it Indian Head Cliff as the cliffs just below Mount Pemigewasset’s summit form the shape of a Native American’s face. This trail is a fairly popular hiking destination for families as it is a moderate trial and good for families with younger children.  The summit provides a great view of the south part of the White Mountains and is a short hike making it an excellent introduction to New Hampshire’s Mountain region!

Flume Gorge Parking Lot
852 Daniel Webster Hwy
Lincoln, NH 03251

Distance: 3.2 Miles, Elevation Gain: 1,253 Feet, Route Type:  Out & Back

Mount Kearsarge North

Mount Kearsarge North is appealing to those vacationing in North Conway as it is very close by and is a moderate family friendly day hike.  Once you reach the top you will have amazing 360 degree views of the Presidential’s, The Mount Washington Valley and can even see the interior of Maine.  The other fun and unique thing about Mount Kearsarge North is that the summit houses a historical wooden fire tower that you can climb and get an even better view from this beautiful mountain.  Make sure to check out and sign the summit log which is inside of the fire tower, adding your name to those who have hiked Mount Kearsarge North!–2

Mount Kearsarge North Trailhead
Hurricane Road
Intervale, NH 03845

Distance: 5.7 Miles, Elevation Gain: 2,536 Feet, Route Type: Out & Back

Mount Adams

Mount Adams is the second highest peak in New Hampshire making it worthy of the top ten hikes in the White Mountains.  The summit is a jumble of rocks that rises over 1,000 feet above the tree-line, giving spectacular alpine views in all directions!  This hike is definitely for very experienced hikers due to the difficult terrain and steep climb. There are over a dozen loop options to choose from when climbing this peak and even options to extend this full day hike into a two day hike.  Make sure to check the weather and grab a map before heading out on this strenuous, well worth it hike!

The link below gives great options from the easiest route to the hardest.  Definitely take a look before deciding which trail you want to climb.

Most Trails for Mount Adams Start
Appalachia Parking lot US 2
Randolph, NH 03593

Distance: 7.5 Miles, Elevation Gain: 4,432 Feet, Route Type: Out & Back

The USDA White Mountain National Service has a fantastic website giving you all the information you need to enjoy each and every hike in New Hampshire’s White Mountains!

More NH Guides:

Best hikes in New Hampshire

Cool down after a great hike check out our guide to New Hampshire beaches.