Help me find a dayhike for kids in the white mountains.
August 31, 2009 12:28 PM   Subscribe

Looking for dayhikes in the North Conway area of NH.

We're not avid hikers and it will be just me and two 8 year olds. We're all in excellent shape.
We've done Monadnock and something similar to that would be preferable. I liked the well marked (read: Glaringly obvious) trails.

Something maybe 2-3 miles each way with a bunch of different stuff to look at along the way (need to keep the kids interested).

Looked at Zealand but it's just too far from where we're staying. It wouldn't work out well, mostly because we sort of need the trailhead to be relatively local- within a 20-30 minute drive from N. Conway.

Any ideas?
Also, any thoughts on what we should bring with us for a day hike this time of year? I don't want to forget anything. :)

posted by Thrillhouse to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (7 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: An excellent hike up that way is Kearsarge North. 360 degree views from a fire tower on top. No harder than Monadnock and less popular than some of the others.

A bit further, in the Crawford Notch area, is Mt. Willard. This hike is considered the best "bang for the buck" in the area. An easy 1.5 miles to the top gets you a really cool view of Crawford Notch.

You could go up to Pinkham Notch and hike into Huntington or Tuckerman's ravine on Mt. Washington. These hikes will keep you down low, out of the weather/danger of the mountain and would get you some pretty neat views of the ravines. Huntington's is on the way into Tuck's so you could probably visit both on the same hike. Don't be tempted to hike up above treeline unless you're prepared for it.

I remember The Moats (N. S. and Middle Moat) being a really nice ridge hike but I can't find a decent link.

My seven year old just did Mt. Chocorua. It has a nice, sharp summit. It's a very popular hike though so you'll be amongst the crowds.

You'd be well advised to pick up a copy of the AMC White Mountain Guide, which will have all the information you need. I believe there's even a section of shorter hikes. Every bookstore, drugstore, visitor's center, outdoor store and fruit stand in N. Conway will carry it.

As for what to bring, as long as you stay off the higher peaks and are prepared to turn back if the weather looks bad, you shouldn't need much. A wool or fleece sweater, rain jacket, hat, sunscreen, boots or high top sneakers, extra socks, water (plenty of water!) and some food. You should probably have some basic first aid supplies, a map of the area (as a former trip leader I should advise you to bring a compass but as long as you stay on trail there's about a 0% chance you'd get lost on any of these hikes.) some extra food.

The rule is "no cotton" (because it gets soaked in sweat and loses all its insulating value) but for a summer stroll in the woods you'll be fine in cotton t-shirts and/or jeans as long as the weather stays good and you're below treeline.

Google "ten hiking essentials."
posted by bondcliff at 12:55 PM on August 31, 2009

Diana's Bath? The walk up to the bath itself isn't as long as you'd like but I believe the trail extends a bit further around there to the upper falls.

Also, if it's hot you might try the Kancamagus. And NH State parks has a list of other waterfalls and trails here.
posted by Diablevert at 12:58 PM on August 31, 2009

I went up to North Conway some years back just to get away from it all for a little while - I didn't have a car, I just started walking out of town, and turned off at marked trailheads. There's a tourist railroad in the area, though I'm not sure where it starts/ends. I don't think you'll have any problems finding short hikes if you just get in the car and drive slowly out of town.
posted by Calloused_Foot at 1:23 PM on August 31, 2009

Best answer: I also came in to recommend Diana's Bath, though it is better in the warmer months when you can jump in the water and slide down with the current.

Mt. Pleasant
, a short drive on 302 into ME, is a little harder and steeper but has awesome views- this is the trail I've hiked the most up there, it never gets old.

Make sure your kids have wool socks and non-jean pants on (jeans don't allow for much movement and get really heavy when wet), and bring poncho instead of raincoats so they can go over and protect your backpacks as well as your bodies. Bring bandaids and moleskin for blisters that might pop up.
Bring some salty snacks (goldfish, peanuts) and some sweet ones (dried cranberries, m&ms) along with sandwiches or a more substantial lunch for when you reach a good summit. (Water is a given, as is a camera to document their impressive ascent.)

You could also bring some crayons and paper if you think they'd want to draw the view from the summit, and some zip lock bags in case they want to bring home some leaves or rocks from the top.
posted by rmless at 1:37 PM on August 31, 2009

Response by poster: Kearsarge North looks nice as does Chocorua. I'll read a little more on those. As I understand it, there are several trails to Chocorua but only one for Kearsarge. Is it simple enough to do one trail up and another down to the same trailhead on Chocorua? Any trail recommendations?

rmless, I love your idea of bringing paper and crayons to draw the view! I'll bet they'd love doing that!
Thanks guys! Any other ideas would also be great!
posted by Thrillhouse at 1:42 PM on August 31, 2009

The Champney Falls trail up Chocorua is supposed to be nice. My wife just did that with my son and they brought back some nice pictures of the falls. You could also just make the falls your destination and go to the summit only if you and the kids are up for it.

I've only done Chocorua once, and that was a few years ago in winter, so I'm not familiar with any loop hikes. Again, any guidebook or map will give you what you need.

Here's some more info about trails and trailheads for Chocorua.

They might be all gone, but the blueberries might be ripe for the picking on those trails.
posted by bondcliff at 1:53 PM on August 31, 2009

Arethusa Falls (near Crawford Notch) is a great bang for your buck and is very doable with kids, for sure- about 1.3? miles each way, and the trail up is well-developed and gradual (especially for a White Mountains trail). The falls are pretty spectacular. If you want to make it a little more difficult, you can make it longer and more steep by making it a loop with the Frankenstein Cliffs Trail, which has a really nice lookout in the middle of it.

Another option might be Black Cap, which (if I remember correctly), is just past the Kearsarge North trailhead. Not as much to look at along the way, but the lookout at the end is really nice, and it's short enough that you could fit it in easily in a morning (you know, before Storyland, if that's on the agenda with the kiddos).
posted by charmedimsure at 8:41 PM on August 31, 2009

« Older Need to password protect external hard-drive   |   question about autism and adolescence Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.