Recommended White Mountain Hikes
There is so much more to experience on a hike than the elevation and length of a trail. The recommended hikes feature below offer points of interest that will take you on a journey of the mind as well as the body. The reason I chose these specific hikes is because the legends that surround them are not commonly known. Each hike allows you to reach out and truly touch history for yourself.
The publication consists of seven hikes located in and around the White Mountains, each of which has a historical point of interest or contains the scene source of a local legend. Featuring hikes that range from easy to challenging, the guide not only describes the easy to follow wayfinding, but also points out exactly where to find the little known, and often overlooked evidence of history and legends.
This insider’s guide also features descriptions of other opportunities to explore on each hike including mineral hunting, bird watching, wild flowers, waterfalls, wildlife viewing, stone walls, cellar holes and historic settler foundations. These descriptions include pictures to aid in identification along the trail and are easy for hikers of all ages and abilities to use as a reference.
Featured Hike: Bald Mountain
Location: Located on Route 18 in Franconia, NH
Distance: .04 mile hike from trailhead to the summit
Rating: Beginner Hike. Note: Use caution with small children and on wet slippery terrain.
Heading North on I-93: Continue on I-93 until it turns into the Franconia Notch Parkway. Take the Cannon Mountain Exit 34C on the right. Take a left at the end of the ramp. You will pass Echo Lake and will see a large parking lot on your right, across from the Cannon Mountain Ski Area. This parking lot is .04 miles from the highway. Park along the wood line.
Heading South on I-93: Take Exit 34C on the right. Take a right at the end of the ramp. You will pass Echo Lake and will see a large parking lot on your right, across from the Cannon Mountain Ski Area. This parking lot is .04 miles from the highway. Park along the wood line.
You begin your hike along a wide and rocky trail. This was once a carriage road. There were many carriage roads in the White Mountains at one time. These old carriage roads provided a luxurious means to the top of the mountain for early century outdoor adventurers. As you hike along this trail, you can almost see the stately horses pulling beautifully crafted carriages. You can imagine ladies adorned in beautiful dresses and bonnets, hardly the attire of today’s active hiker. Years of fallen rock and trees have covered this trail making a ride in a carriage impossible today.
Another well known carriage path is located just a mile away near the Franconia Notch Campground. The Bridle Path, named for the bridles on the horses that pulled the carriages, was used to take people up Mt. Lafayette.
When hiking on rocky terrain like this, it is important that you do not dress like the Victorian ladies and gentlemen. High top sneakers and hiking boots will give added support to your ankles. Even though this looks like a perfect place to play hop scotch from rock to rock, you must remember that these rocks have tumbled down the mountain to where they now rest and some rocks will shift and roll when stepped on. This is important to remember no matter where you are hiking. Even minor injuries on a short trail can make for a long walk back to the base. Here the old carriage road begins to narrow. A fallen tree acts as a natural archway and should read “Welcome to Paradise”. It may not feel like paradise yet. You can see the trail ascending and by now your leg muscles should be just waking up. The slight burning sensation might be begging you to turn around and go back to the car but keep going. Your adventure is about to get exciting and - as for those leg muscles - your endorphins will soon kick in and you’ll be glad you didn’t listen to them.
A full description of Bald Mountain's hiking trail and the unique stories behind its history can be found in the full guidebook, White Mountain Hikes; Legends, Mysteries and More.
Other Recommended Hikes
Other recommended hikes that include:
- Basin, Cascades, Kinsman & Rocky Glen Falls in Franconia State Park, NH (1.1 miles)
- Bridal Veil Falls in Franconia. NH (2.5 miles)
- Mount Willard in Franconia. NH (1.6 miles)
- Indian Head in Woodstock, NH (1.8 miles)
- Georgiana Falls (.07 miles) and Harvard Falls (1.3 miles) in Woodstock, NH
- Nancy Cascades in Crawford Notch, NH (2.4 Miles)
We will feature excerpts from the book and tips on other trails periodically on this site. To stay tuned to which hikes are featured each month, email us to sign up for notifications and updates.