If you’re a hiker visiting the White Mountains, you’re in luck. Not only do we have dozens of peaks and trails in the area to explore but we’ve also got the Woodstock beer to celebrate with once you’ve finished. While the weather is markedly older this time of year, some hikers prefer trekking in the winter because of the change in scenery and the overwhelming urge to escape the house. Plus, hot drinks and food just seem to taste better after a cold hike.
Winter hiking is noticeably easier on the body as the soft surface of snow provides more cushion. It’s like running on a soft dirt trail versus running on hard concrete.
If you’re up in Lincoln, visiting the Woodstock Inn and Brewery, grabbing a beer or some food, we’ve put together a list of five beautiful hikes in the area you can tackle if you’re looking to explore the great outdoors.
Boulder Loop Trail
Kancamagus Highway (Conway), NH
Distance: 3.5 miles
A great hike for families or beginners, this trail, officially called “The Boulder Loop Interpretive Trail” provides excellent views for relatively little effort. The loop hike also features lots of large, interesting boulders along the trail and several ledges that offer great views of the many surrounding mountains.
Mount Pemigewasset Trail
Distance: 3.6 miles round-trip
Elevation Gain: 1,300 feet
This climb to the summit of Mount Pemigewasset — a 2,500-foot peak at the southern end of Franconia Notch and the location of the famed Indian Head profile — is a good one for children because it’s never very steep.
According to the AMC, the hike is full of great views of surrounding mountains can be had from the broad, flat rocks of the summit. The small, scattered trees that grow around the summit have been sculpted by the wind to form “flag” trees.
Distance: 1.2 mile round-trip
Elevation Gain: Minimal
A popular spot to visit with the family in the summertime, Diana’s Baths features a short, level, universally-accessible walk along the Moat Mountain Trail which ends at a former mill site. Nearby you can explore the many pools, cascades or the ruins on the old mill.
Welch and Dickey Mountains
Distance: 4 mile round-trip
Elevation Gain: 1,751 feet
Located just south of Lincoln near Waterville Valley, Welch and Dickey Mountains offer great views and lovely wildflowers in the later spring and early summer months. The trail is challenging with bits of steep sections, but it is both family and dog-friendly taking between three and four hours to complete. The views from the top are fantastic and well worth the few rock scrambles to the summit.
In the winter, the trails can get hard packed with ice, so traction is a must. Pack accordingly.
Sugar Loaf Mountain
Distance: 3.3 mile out and back
Elevation Gain: 1,040 feet
Not to be confused with the large ski resort in western Maine, Sugarloaf offers great views of the White Mountains. The 3.3-mile trail splits as you get near the summit, so you have the option to hike to the top of one peak or both.
From the top on a clear day, you can see Mount Washington and the Cog Railway and makes for a great hike for young families or novice hikers looking for great views.