Covering nearly a quarter of the entire state, the White Mountains are New Hampshire’s signature landmark, and it’s easy to see why. Boasting the tallest mountain in the northeast, 47 other peaks over 4,000 feet and a spectacular landscape that includes waterfalls, gorges and free-flowing rivers, the “Whites” are a dynamic and mesmerizing place that beckons outdoor adventurers in all four seasons.
At 6,288 feet, Mount Washington is the undisputed king of peaks in the northeast. The mountain boasts the distinction of being the site of the fastest wind gust ever recorded at 231 miles per hour, adding to its mystique. You can still hike it, but these days, most visitors take the Mount Washington Auto Road, a 7.6-mile ascent that delivers you at the summit. There’s also the historic Cog Railway. Built in 1869, the three-hour trip offers one-of-a-kind views from either biodiesel or traditional steam engine trains.
Take a ride on the Cannon Mountain Aerial Tramway to see soaring peaks from a bird’s-eye view. If you drive 30 minutes east, you’ll wind up at the Mount Washington Cog Railway, the world’s first mountain-climbing cog railway. Hop on to reach the summit of Mount Washington, the highest peak in the northeast U.S. At the top, fall under the spell of views that stretch all the way to Canada and the Atlantic Ocean.
For a close-up introduction to the valleys and hills that make up the range, follow the 100-mile White Mountains Trail, a National Scenic Byway that brings you to the doorstep of some of the area’s most dramatic natural formations.
On Golden Lakes and Ponds
Hundreds of lakes and rivers dot the region’s lush landscape, making the White Mountains a dream for boating, tubing and fishing. Families should head south to pristine Squam Lake for water sports, swimming, nature walks and wildlife viewing, while anglers will enjoy the serene fly-fishing experience along the quiet shores of the Swift and Pemigewasset Rivers. Brook, brown and rainbow trout are all abundant. The town of Gorham, a longtime jumping off point for outdoor excursions, is the perfect place to organize a rafting trip through the area’s tall, narrow gorges. Try a trip down the Androscoggin River for a family-friendly adventure, or test yourself on the Class IV rapids of the thrilling Magalloway River.
Head to the park’s Falling Waters Trail to catch a glimpse of the equally magnificent 80-foot-tall Cloudland Falls, as well as a collection of smaller, picturesque cascades.
The Kancamagus Highway, a 34-mile stretch of Route 112 connecting the outdoor-friendly towns of Conway and Lincoln, is widely regarded as one of the country’s most stunning drives, especially during the area’s unmatched fall foliage season. From charming covered bridges to panoramic lookouts, the route leads visitors through iconic New England scenes.
For More Information
White Mountains New Hampshire
New Hampshire Department of Business and Economic Affairs