Camping in the White Mountains of New Hampshire
May 2, 2013 12:32 PM   Subscribe

Places to camp in the White Mountains of New Hampshire?

I am planning a camping trip to the White Mountains region in New Hampshire. We would be car camping most likely and looking to go on some good hikes. Does anyone have any suggestions for places to camp?
posted by Dick Laurent is Dead to Travel & Transportation around White Mountains, United States (3 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
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posted by Gungho at 2:02 PM on May 2, 2013

Mr. Kitkat grew up camping and hiking in the Whites. He says:

The White Mountains has some amazing hiking and camping for a variety of skill levels. The first thing you want to consider is level of camping/hiking experience.

If you're going with people new to camping or that haven’t done much serious hiking I recommend staying at the Lafayette Campground. It is easy to get to, has some great-guided hikes and is also bicycle friendly. They have hot showers, sell firewood on site, and have a little general store with ice cream and other goodies. It is right at some of the most popular trailheads in Franconia Notch so once you arrive you can hike to your hearts desire. The hike up from the campground to Lonesome Lake is a nice one: it is family friendly and few scrambles and there is an AMC hut at the Lake to refill your water or bring a picnic. Another hiking option from Lafayette Campground is going up Canon Mountain where you can hike up, enjoy the view from the fire tower, then either hike or take the tram way down. Finally, my favorite hike in the area is the Falling Waters Loop. This is a longer hike with some scrambles. You are on an exposed ridge above the tree line for an hour or two but you get some amazing views and to summit three mountains while spending some time on the Appalachian Trail!

The downsides to Lafayette are that it is busy, fills up quickly and is close to I-93 so you’ll hear cars at night if you get a site close to the road. Also, no pets allowed.

Another really popular area to hike is over in the Presidential Range (the Presidentials). These hikes are generally more strenuous and include the highest mountains in the state like Mt Washington, Mt Adams, and Mt Jefferson. The Dolly Copp campground is one of the most popular car camping spots in the area. There are no hot showers but you do have flush toilets. They do nature programs in their theater on weekends and it is a little more out of the way than Lafayette Campground so it is a bit quieter. From here you have the option of hiking up Madison, Adams, or even a short trip to Washington. These hikes take longer, are mostly above the tree line, and include some scrambles. Dolly Copp is also a short drive from numerous other 4k-footers and if you’re peak bagging it is a better location.

You can’t go wrong with either of these options. It just depends on the intensity of the hiking you want to do and how much you want to drive to get to your campsite. If you’re looking for a weekend in the summer consider booking now as the sites fill up months in advance.
posted by kitkatcathy at 2:40 PM on May 2, 2013

It kind of depends on what type of experience you're hoping for; there are some car camping site that are pretty rustic (i.e. not many amenities) but have the bonus of being proximate to "the woods". On the other hand are areas that are practically hotels without the building.

One example of the latter I can recommend is Glen Ellis Campground. My wife, 5 year-old son and I stayed here last summer and liked it quite a bit. I'm not joking about the hotel comment- they had a pool, playground, game room, soccer fields, hot showers, and a lot of other amenities. I usually prefer more primitive (and isolated) camping, but I liked the place despite myself. They do have a variety of camp sites, including some exclusively for tents, which is what we had.
posted by EKStickland at 7:10 PM on May 2, 2013

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