The highlight of the Appalachian Trail in New Hampshire is the beautiful, rugged White Mountains, the dramatic scenery of which attracts more backcountry visitors than any other part of the Trail. Travel here requires intelligent planning and ample time; plan no more than five to eight miles per day. Be prepared for steep ascents and descents that require the use of your hands and, occasionally, the seat of your pants.
Much of the Trail is above timberline, where the temperature may change very suddenly; snow is possible in any season. The same severe weather conditions that prevent trees from growing on the high ridges also require a higher level of preparedness for a safe, successful hiking trip. Snow falls on Mt. Washington during every month of the year. High winds and dense fog are common. Most shelters and campsites charge a fee.
The White Mountains section stretches 117 miles from Maine-New Hampshire state line to Glencliff, New Hampshire. Organized groups can reduce their chances of arriving at already-crowded sites by contacting the local trail clubs about group voluntary registration programs.
Between the White Mountains and the Vermont border, the Trail crosses broken terrain of alternating mountains and valleys. This 44-mile stretch is noted for its fall foliage and is a good alternative to the crowds and steep scrambles of the Whites.
A.T. mileage 161 miles
Difficulty rating 6-10 (rating scale explained)
Elevation 400—6,288 feet
Guidebook Appalachian Trail Guide to New Hampshire-Vermont
When to go
The White Mountains: July and August. Southern New Hampshire, between the White Mountains and the Connecticut River: June—September.
New Hampshire had probably the most beautiful vistas of any state on the trail. Here you’ll see me near the summit of Mount Moosilauke, on Franconia Ridge, and climbing Mount Washington. It was easily the most physically challenging state on the entire trail bar none.
Video Trail Report from Thru-Hiker Tutts99