There are many reasons you may be moving to New Hampshire: to help take care of aging parents or in-laws, to start a new job, or just to be closer to friends and family. No matter what personal or work-related reasons are behind your move to New Hampshire, you’re in luck: New Hampshire—especially the southern region—is an absolute hidden treasure of natural beauty and outdoor activity.
You may not be here specifically for the hiking, biking, and skiing, but New Hampshire’s huge array of outdoor activities is one benefit you can take advantage of all year round. Whether you’re an extreme downhill mountain biker or a casual day-hiker, New Hampshire has the outdoor spot for you.
Best Hiking in New Hampshire
Home to 75 state parks as well as over 150 miles of the renowned Appalachian Trail, New Hampshire has literally hundreds of places to hike and camp. At ABC Moving & Storage, we’ve been working in the southern New Hampshire region for over 30 years, so we know a local secret or two. Here are just six parks we’d recommend for the best hiking in New Hampshire.
1. Mount Washington State Park
Mount Washington State Park encompasses over 60 acres of the White Mountain National Forest as well as Mount Washington, the highest peak in the Northeast. Highlights of the park are its incredible views—reaching 130 miles around the summit—and the historic Tip-Top House, a former hotel located on the summit that now operates as a small museum.
Mount Washington can be reached by a number of trails, including the Appalachian Trail. For those who prefer not to hike, the summit is also accessible (in season) by the Mount Washington Cog Railway and the Mount Washington Auto Road, both of which offer amazing views and unique experiences in themselves.
2. Monadnock State Park
Monadnock State Park centers around Mt. Monadnock, a 3165-foot peak whose stunning beauty was written about by Henry David Thoreau and Ralph Waldo Emerson. Mt. Monadnock is the highest peak in southern New Hampshire, with a 100-mile view on a clear day, and is one of the most-climbed mountains in the world. Mt. Monadnock’s hiking trail is moderately challenging, and hikers can reach the summit in about 4 hours during warm months.
3. Franconia Notch State Park
Franconia Notch is another gem tucked away in the White Mountain National Forest: an 8-mile mountain pass between the Kinsmen and Franconia mountain ranges. In addition to great hiking, the area offers many outdoor activities from swimming to fly fishing and rock climbing. Don’t miss out on Flume Gorge, a 2-mile walk through a gorge at the base of Mount Liberty, or the Cannon Mountain aerial tramway, the first passenger aerial tramway in the United States.
4. Crawford Notch State Park
Crawford Notch State Park is home to 5,775 acres of mountains, forests, and waterfalls—including the highest in the state, Arethusa Falls. The historic highlight of the park is the Willey House, a house that mysteriously survived an 1826 landslide that killed its nine inhabitants. Around the Willey House are several family-friendly hiking trails.
Unlike some other parks, pets are allowed throughout Crawford Notch State Park—so you can bring the whole family for a day of outdoor fun!
5. Pawtuckaway State Park
With over 5,500 acres, Pawtuckaway State Park offers excellent hiking, mountain biking, beaching, and horseback riding. It’s an especially great spot for birdwatchers and wildlife enthusiasts, with marshes for observing beavers, deer, and great blue herons. Another unique feature of Pawtuckaway is its field of glacial erratics, large boulders left over from the melting of the Ice Age.
Pro tip: The beach can get crowded to capacity on weekends and public holidays, so it’s best to get there early to avoid being turned away. Even better, head out on a weekday!
6. Bear Brook State Park
Last but definitely not least on our list is Bear Brook State Park, a massive 10,000-acre park with many different hiking trails ranging from easy to moderate difficulty. Bear Brook is New Hampshire’s largest state park and has over 40 miles of trails, as well as horseback riding, biking, swimming, and archery. The park offers camping from May to October, along with year-round picnic pavilions, boat rentals, and playgrounds.
If you’ve never considered moving to or visiting southern New Hampshire, we hope this list convinces you to give the state some serious consideration. And if you are planning a move to the Granite State, give us a call at ABC Moving & Storage! We’ve provided reliable, affordable, and hassle-free relocation services since 1981, and we’d love to discuss your unique New Hampshire moving needs with you.
You can learn more about the hiking opportunities in New Hampshire by visiting the website of the New Hampshire Division of Parks and Recreation.