Dayhikes in the White Mountains
July 6, 2008 6:25 PM   Subscribe

White Mountains Hiking. Need a great dayhike for two middle-aged women and two teens, all fit and adventurous. What would you recommend?

Friends are coming to visit, and it's a great chance to start getting to know the White Mountains with a fun hike. This will be in August, and we'll have about a 1.5 hour drive before arriving at any trailhead in the Whites. I've always dreamed of hiking Mt. Washington, but I don't think this is the day - the teens might not want to spend the 8+ hours on the trail. I was thinking about Franconia Notch, which seems to have nifty things like waterfalls and maybe some swimming opportunities. What would you recommend?
posted by Miko to Travel & Transportation (8 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Franconia Notch is a good hike I don't exactly know what its like in the Summer (I did it in mid February.) One easy that doesnt take long and has a waterfall at the end is Zealand Falls. Another good hike is Lonesome Lake Hut. Its amazing to hike for a couple of hours and then suddenly come out to a giant lake with mountain ranges in the background. Links lead to the AMC huts where you can get fresh water, spend the night (need reservations), eat lunch, cook, restrooms, small shops and learn about the history of the area and talk to staff that live there for 3 months. There are also some educational programs.
posted by lilkeith07 at 6:41 PM on July 6, 2008

I was trying to remember which hike it was that I had really enjoyed around there - it was the Lonesome Lake Hut walk. Very pretty.
posted by AnnaRat at 6:45 PM on July 6, 2008

Every summer as a kid my sister and I would hike some of the huts. Our favorite was always the hike up to Zealand Falls. The trail is very nice, pretty easy, and short enough that you can turn around and make it into a day hike. (Tuckerman Ravine up to Bigelow Lawn is the better hike, though, although you're right that it's pretty long.)
posted by OmieWise at 6:47 PM on July 6, 2008

A few suggestions:
Welch and Dickey Mountains (lots of sweeping views of Waterville Valley peaks)
Mt Moosiluake (a 4000 footer, but not too hard)
Mts Morgan and Percival (the views at the top overlook the Lakes Region of NH)

Mt Moosilauke is near Franconia Notch and the other 2 options are about 20-30 minutes south of Franconia Notch.

There are lakes and ponds for swimming around there, but I have usually just stumbled on to them driving around.
posted by fx3000 at 6:47 PM on July 6, 2008

Seconding, no, thirding Zealand Falls. Pretty and easy and the hut there'll sometimes have fresh cookies or similar available in the afternoon. If you're feeling extra-sporty you can always head up the trail some more to Zeacliff. That last climb is a little over 1000 feet in just over a mile, so it's a bit steep but not too long if you take your time.

Moosilauke's great too, but the beginning stretch from Kinsman Notch up to the Beaver Brook Shelter goes up a steep waterfall and even if you're fit going down it at the end of the day is going to be SLOW, so be ready for that.

Too bad long hikes are out, because the Franconia Ridge is my favorite hike in the Whites, even more than the Presidentials. But Mt. Lafayette from Franconia Notch via the Greenleaf trail is about 8 steep hours up and back.
posted by Opposite George at 7:37 PM on July 6, 2008

seconding Welch-Dickey, it's beautiful.
posted by kuujjuarapik at 8:09 PM on July 6, 2008

Response by poster: These are great suggestions, everyone; I'm going to peruse links and make a selection. I really appreciate the tips. Thanks!
posted by Miko at 6:42 AM on July 7, 2008

Seconding, no, thirding Zealand Falls.

Me too.
posted by R. Mutt at 9:13 AM on July 7, 2008

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