Top 5 Family Hikes in New Hampshire

Hiking with the whole family is one of the most rewarding and fun ways to enjoy New England fall foliage. Mountains in New Hampshire, especially the Whites, have a reputation for being difficult to conquer, but you might be surprised at how many routes are accessible for all ages. These five family hikes in New Hampshire average about three miles long, with combinations of easy and moderate terrain.

Echo Lake State Park credit NHDTTD
Echo Lake State Park credit NHDTTD

Mount Kearsarge – Wilmot, New Hampshire

Find a fantastic family-friendly view from Mount Kearsarge, whose hiking trails connect two New Hampshire state parks. From Winslow State Park, it’s just a one-mile hike from the picnic area to the summit, while at Rollins the hike is only a half mile to the fire tower and a gorgeous view. Nearby Concord makes a great launching point for your hike and other adventures — spend the night at The Centennial Hotel, a stunning 32-room historic home.

Arethusa Falls – Crawford Notch, NH

credit: NHDTTD

This moderate family hike in New Hampshire leads to one of the finest sights in the Granite State: the 160-foot-tall Arethusa Falls. The Appalachian Mountain Club estimates a total hiking time of two hours, but you might want to linger and explore some other smaller waterfalls along the route. Arethusa Falls is especially photo-worthy when it’s surrounded by fall foliage. After your excursion, relax with the whole family in nearby Lincoln, New Hampshire.

Zealand Falls – Zealand Notch, NH

A little longer than your average kid-friendly hike, this 5.6-mile round trip is surprisingly doable even with young ones in tow. Views of ponds, waterfalls, and mountains all make it one of the best family hikes in New Hampshire. The trail is mostly flat, but with a steep ascent during the last .2 miles to the top where you’ll find the Zealand Falls Hut. Bathrooms are available in the parking lot as well as at the hut, another nice family-friendly feature. After the hike, enjoy charming and cozy lodging at the Wayside Inn in Bethlehem, about 35 minutes from the trail. Or, if you prefer resort style accommodations, try the Mountain View Grand Resort and Spa in Whitefield, just 10 minutes further away. Omni Mount Washington Resort‘s grand castle-like building is a hit with families too.

Pack Monadnock – Peterborough, New Hampshire

Two three-mile hikes begin at Miller State Park in Peterborough, so you have the chance to hike one or both during your stay. Both will give you excellent views of nearby Mount Monadnock (not to be confused with Pack Monadnock, where you’re hiking), one of New Hampshire’s most famous geographic locations, featured in the writings of Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau. Just a quick drive from the trails, enjoy a serene stay right along the Contoocook River at the Jack Daniels Motor Inn.

West Rattlesnake Mountain – Holderness, NH

Photos never quite do justice to this short 1.8 mile in-and-out hike. West Rattlesnake Mountain offers completely unobstructed views of Squam Lake via a trail that rates on the easy side of moderate — though short, it can be fairly steep in sections. Discover more outdoor activities near Ashland, New Hampshire with The Glynn House Inn as your base camp.

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