While vacationing in the Mount Washington Valley, if you’re not an experienced hiker, no worries! Here are some wonderful small hikes the whole family will enjoy, and perhaps you may even catch the hiking bug and get ready to move on to some more challenging hikes in the future.
For the very beginner, a wonderful walk in the woods begins at Whitaker Woods in North Conway. Start at the Whitaker Homestead, which is just north of the northernmost light on Route 16 (aka White Mountain Highway) in North Conway Village. Many of the trails in Whitaker Woods are flat, with some elevation gain to the east, where at the top of the hill you’ll catch a glimpse of Mount Washington. Or, you can park on the back side of Whitaker Woods on Kearsarge Road where there’s a parking lot at the power line transmission station. This is a dog-friendly walking trail. So, your four-legged friends are invited to join you. Just be sure to pick up after your pet!
Mt. Washington Valley Rec Path
Another beautiful walking trail is the Mt. Washington Valley Rec Path. This trail is being expanded to encompass a beautiful section along the North-South Road. A finished section that you can enjoy now begins on East Conway Road, where there is a parking lot behind the police station. This section beautiful section of the path follows the Saco River where when the water is low, there are a few sandy beaches to enjoy on a hot summer day. Pets are permitted here as well.
Diana’s Baths, along West Side Road, is a nice 1.3 mile out-and-back hike to a beautiful waterfall. Diana’s Baths are a must-see if you are in the North Conway area and want to experience nature at its finest. Diana’s baths lie along Lucy Brook in Bartlett which is fed from Big Attitash Mountain. During the summer the baths are a great place for children and grown-ups alike to enjoy the tranquility of nature and explore the many rocks, ledges, cascading falls, and pools in the brook. The cascading falls measure approximately 75 feet in total height. This very popular hike can get crowded in the summer months, so the best time to go is early in the morning.
Head on down to Eaton NH for a short yet beautiful beginner-friendly hike up Foss Mountain. This is a great hike for young and old alike, The trail is covered with blueberries, which you are permitted to pick. The summit of Foss Mountain offers panoramic views of the mountains.
Black Cap Trail
If you and your family are looking for more adventuresome day hikes in the White Mountains, you may want to hike Black Cap Trail in North Conway,, NH. Black Cap Trailhead starts on Hurricane Mountain Road which you can access from Route 302. From the top you’ll get a spectacular birds-eye view of the surrounding mountains and the Village of North Conway below. The trail, located in a spruce and beech forest, leads to a bare summit, providing views of Maine and New Hampshire. You’ll be climbing over some flat granite slabs so be sure to wear proper footwear so that you don’t slip on the rocks. There is a parking lot at the top of Hurricane Mountain Road where you can follow the Black Cap trail or take the connector to Mount Cranmore.
So, if you want to find some new day hikes and walking trails in NH’s White Mountains, these are among your best bets! Get on out there and start enjoying the amazing views, clean air and fun!