Best Backpacking in New Hampshire

Senior male hiking with backpack on a rocky trail on Mt. Kearsarge, New Hampshire
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In the heart of New England lies a haven for outdoor enthusiasts and nature lovers alike. New Hampshire, with its picturesque landscapes and rugged terrain, offers an array of breathtaking destinations for backpacking. If you seek to experience the tranquility of untouched wilderness, hike through lush forests, and witness awe-inspiring vistas, then this is the perfect guide for you. Let’s set aside the well-trodden paths and venture into the lesser-known corners of this beautiful state, where adventure awaits at every turn. Join us as we reveal the hidden gems and uncover the best-kept secrets of backpacking in New Hampshire. Lace-up your boots, pack your gear, and let’s hit the trails!



White Mountain National Forest

White Mountain National Forest in New Hampshire captivates with its untamed wilderness and rugged beauty. Towering peaks, dense forests, and cascading waterfalls form the backdrop for thrilling outdoor adventures. Encompassing 800,000 acres, this pristine expanse provides a sanctuary for diverse wildlife and offers visitors a chance to immerse themselves in the splendor of nature’s untouched marvels.

Reasons To Go Backpacking in the White Mountain National Forest:

  • Spectacular Scenery: White Mountain National Forest boasts breathtaking landscapes, including majestic mountains, serene lakes, and picturesque valleys, providing backpackers with awe-inspiring views at every turn.
  • Hiking Trails Galore: With an extensive network of well-marked trails, adventurers can explore a variety of routes suited to different skill levels, from leisurely day hikes to challenging multi-day treks.
  • Abundant Wildlife: Nature enthusiasts will delight in the opportunity to observe diverse wildlife species, such as moose, bears, deer, and a plethora of bird species, adding an extra layer of excitement to the backpacking experience.
  • Back-to-Nature Experience: Escaping the hustle and bustle of city life, backpacking in this pristine wilderness offers a chance to disconnect from technology, reconnect with the natural world, and rejuvenate both mind and body.
  • Camping Freedom: With designated backcountry camping areas, backpackers can immerse themselves fully in the forest’s tranquility, spending nights under the starlit sky and forging unforgettable memories amidst nature’s embrace.

Recommended Gear: Backpack, Hiking Boots, Tent, Sleeping Bag, Water Filtration System, First Aid Kit, Portable Stove


Appalachian Trail

Embark on an unforgettable adventure along the Appalachian Trail in New Hampshire, where the splendor of nature unfolds in all its glory. This segment of the legendary trail presents hikers with a breathtaking tapestry of rugged mountains, lush forests, and cascading waterfalls. Amidst the serene wilderness, trekkers can immerse themselves in the raw beauty and tranquility that the Appalachian Trail in New Hampshire has to offer.

Reasons To Go Backpacking on the Appalachian Trail:

  • Spectacular Alpine Scenery: Backpacking along the Appalachian Trail in New Hampshire rewards adventurers with awe-inspiring views of the White Mountains, dotted with picturesque peaks and valleys.
  • Challenging and Rewarding Trails: The trails in this region offer a mix of challenging ascents and rewarding descents, providing a sense of accomplishment for hikers as they conquer various terrains.
  • Abundant Wildlife: Nature enthusiasts will have the chance to encounter diverse wildlife, including moose, bears, deer, and a variety of bird species, adding an element of excitement to the backpacking experience.
  • Serene Wilderness: Backpackers can escape the hustle and bustle of everyday life and immerse themselves in the tranquility of the New Hampshire wilderness, finding solace in its untouched beauty.
  • Rich History and Culture: The Appalachian Trail in New Hampshire is steeped in history and culture, with opportunities to explore old shelters, learn about the region’s heritage, and connect with fellow hikers on the trail.

Recommended Gear: Backpack, Hiking Boots, Tent, Sleeping Bag, Water Filter, Trekking Poles, Camping Stove


Mount Chocorua

Mount Chocorua in New Hampshire stands as an iconic peak, drawing adventurers and nature enthusiasts alike to its captivating summit. With an elevation of 3,478 feet, this majestic mountain offers a rewarding hiking experience, showcasing panoramic vistas of the surrounding White Mountains and pristine lakes below. As a beloved destination for outdoor enthusiasts, Mount Chocorua beckons those seeking a memorable and exhilarating alpine journey.

Reasons To Go Backpacking at Mount Chocorua:

  • Breathtaking Summit Views: Backpacking to Mount Chocorua rewards hikers with breathtaking panoramic views of the White Mountains, showcasing the beauty of the surrounding landscape.
  • Challenging Hiking Trails: The trails leading to the summit offer a mix of challenges, providing a sense of accomplishment for backpackers as they conquer this iconic peak.
  • Wilderness Immersion: Exploring the trails of Mount Chocorua allows backpackers to immerse themselves in the tranquility of nature, surrounded by lush forests and serene lakes.
  • Photographic Opportunities: With its stunning vistas and picturesque scenery, Mount Chocorua presents numerous opportunities for photography enthusiasts to capture the beauty of the outdoors.
  • Nature and Wildlife: Backpackers have the chance to encounter diverse wildlife species and witness the unique flora and fauna that call Mount Chocorua’s wilderness home.

Recommended Gear: Hiking Boots, Backpack, Trekking Poles, Water Filter, Tent, Sleeping Bag, Headlamp


Presidential Range

The Presidential Range, a renowned mountain range in the White Mountains of New Hampshire, beckons adventurers with its awe-inspiring summits and challenging trails. Home to several peaks over 4,000 feet, including Mount Washington, the highest in the Northeastern United States, this majestic range offers hikers an unforgettable alpine experience. From breathtaking vistas to unpredictable weather, the Presidential Range presents a thrilling and rewarding destination for outdoor enthusiasts seeking the pinnacle of mountain exploration.

Reasons To Go Backpacking on the Presidential Range:

  • Iconic Summit Achievements: Backpacking the Presidential Range allows hikers to conquer several iconic peaks, including Mount Washington, earning a sense of accomplishment and admiration for the breathtaking vistas.
  • Diverse Trail Options: The range offers a variety of trails suited to different skill levels, from leisurely day hikes to challenging multi-day backpacking adventures, catering to all levels of experience.
  • Stunning Alpine Scenery: The rugged beauty of the Presidential Range showcases alpine landscapes, lush forests, and cascading waterfalls, creating a feast for the eyes throughout the journey.
  • Weather Challenge: The unpredictable weather conditions on these peaks provide an exhilarating test of endurance and wilderness survival skills, making it a true adventure for seasoned backpackers.
  • Wildlife Encounters: Exploring the Presidential Range offers opportunities to observe diverse wildlife, including alpine birds and mammals, adding an extra element of fascination to the backpacking experience.

Recommended Gear: Hiking Boots, Backpack, Trekking Poles, Water Filter, Tent, Sleeping Bag, Map/Compass


Mount Monadnock State Park

Mount Monadnock State Park in New Hampshire beckons hikers and nature enthusiasts to explore its majestic peak, which stands as an enduring symbol of the region’s beauty and ruggedness. As one of the most climbed mountains in the world, Mount Monadnock offers a variety of trails that lead to stunning summit views and provide an unparalleled opportunity to connect with nature’s wonders.

Reasons To Go Backpacking in Mount Monadnock State Park:

  • Iconic Summit Experience: Backpacking to Mount Monadnock offers hikers the chance to conquer a renowned peak that holds cultural significance and provides stunning panoramic views from its summit.
  • Diverse Trail Options: The state park features a range of trails catering to various skill levels, making it accessible for both experienced hikers and beginners seeking an exciting adventure.
  • Picturesque Scenery: The journey to the top treats backpackers to picturesque landscapes, including lush forests, rocky outcrops, and breathtaking vistas, providing ample opportunities for awe-inspiring photography.
  • Abundant Wildlife: Exploring Mount Monadnock allows backpackers to encounter diverse wildlife, such as birds and small mammals, providing a connection to the natural world throughout the trek.
  • Nature Escape: Backpackers can escape the hustle of everyday life and immerse themselves in the tranquility of nature, finding solace and rejuvenation amidst the serene beauty of Mount Monadnock State Park.

Recommended Gear: Hiking Boots, Backpack, Trekking Poles, Water/Snacks, Map/Compass, First Aid Kit, Headlamp


Crawford Notch State Park

Crawford Notch State Park, nestled within the White Mountains of New Hampshire, invites visitors to immerse themselves in the splendor of nature’s rugged beauty. This captivating park is renowned for its awe-inspiring vistas, dramatic cliffs, and cascading waterfalls, offering hikers and nature enthusiasts an unparalleled opportunity to explore the wonders of the outdoors. With a network of diverse trails, Crawford Notch State Park promises an unforgettable escape into the heart of wilderness tranquility.

Reasons To Go Backpacking in Crawford Notch State Park:

  • Spectacular Scenic Trails: Backpacking in Crawford Notch State Park treats hikers to a myriad of scenic trails, winding through stunning landscapes, offering breathtaking views of cliffs, waterfalls, and lush forests.
  • Abundant Outdoor Adventures: The park presents a diverse range of activities, from challenging hikes to peaceful walks, providing opportunities for all levels of backpackers to enjoy the great outdoors.
  • Wildlife and Birdwatching: Nature enthusiasts will delight in the chance to spot diverse wildlife species and a variety of birdlife, adding an element of excitement to the backpacking experience.
  • Peaceful Wilderness Retreat: Crawford Notch State Park offers a serene and secluded setting, allowing backpackers to disconnect from the hustle and bustle of daily life and find solace in nature’s tranquility.
  • Rich Natural and Cultural History: The park is steeped in both natural and cultural history, with opportunities to learn about the region’s geological formations, native tribes, and early settlers, enhancing the backpacking journey with educational insights.

Recommended Gear: Backpack, Hiking Boots, Tent, Sleeping Bag, Water Bottle, Camping Stove, Binoculars


Kancamagus Highway

Kancamagus Highway, a scenic byway in New Hampshire, weaves through the heart of the White Mountains, offering travelers a mesmerizing journey through unspoiled wilderness and captivating vistas. Renowned for its breathtaking fall foliage, this highway treats visitors to a kaleidoscope of colors during autumn. Enveloped in nature’s splendor, Kancamagus Highway presents an unforgettable route for those seeking an enchanting drive amidst the beauty of the great outdoors.

Reasons To Go Backpacking on the Kancamagus Highway:

  • Spectacular Hiking Trails: Backpacking along Kancamagus Highway provides access to a myriad of spectacular hiking trails, offering opportunities for both novice and experienced hikers to explore the beauty of the White Mountains.
  • Scenic Overlooks: The highway is dotted with scenic overlooks, presenting breathtaking panoramic views of the surrounding landscapes, making it a dream destination for photography enthusiasts.
  • Immersive Nature Experience: Backpackers can immerse themselves in the tranquility of unspoiled wilderness, surrounded by lush forests, cascading waterfalls, and the serene beauty of nature.
  • Fall Foliage Delight: During autumn, the Kancamagus Highway transforms into a canvas of vibrant colors, making it an ideal time for backpackers to witness the stunning fall foliage spectacle.
  • Wildlife Sightings: Exploring this region offers opportunities to spot diverse wildlife species, adding an extra element of excitement and connection with nature’s wonders.

Recommended Gear: Hiking Boots, Backpack, Water Bottle/Snacks, Map/Compass, Water Filter, First Aid Kit, Headlamp


Franconia Notch State Park

Franconia Notch State Park, an enchanting oasis in New Hampshire, beckons visitors with its breathtaking natural wonders and scenic beauty. Nestled amid the White Mountains, this park is renowned for its towering peaks, cascading waterfalls, and serene lakes. A paradise for outdoor enthusiasts, Franconia Notch State Park offers a plethora of recreational activities, from hiking and skiing to birdwatching and picnicking, ensuring an unforgettable escape into the heart of nature.

Reasons To Go Backpacking in Franconia Notch State Park:

  • Spectacular Hiking Trails: Backpacking in Franconia Notch State Park allows hikers to explore a network of spectacular trails, providing stunning views of majestic peaks, waterfalls, and pristine lakes.
  • Iconic Landmarks: The park is home to iconic natural landmarks like The Flume Gorge, Cannon Mountain, and the Basin, offering backpackers a chance to witness these awe-inspiring formations up close.
  • Diverse Wildlife: Nature enthusiasts will delight in the opportunity to spot diverse wildlife species, including birds, mammals, and possibly even moose, adding an extra layer of excitement to the journey.
  • Outdoor Adventure: Franconia Notch State Park caters to a wide range of outdoor activities, including camping, fishing and rock climbing, ensuring that backpackers have plenty of options to indulge in their favorite pursuits.

Fall Foliage Splendor: During autumn, the park’s vibrant foliage transforms the landscape into a picturesque canvas of colors, making it an ideal time for backpackers to witness the mesmerizing fall spectacle.

Recommended Gear: Hiking Boots, Backpack, Water Filter, Map/Compass, Tent, Sleeping Bag, Trekking Poles


Cardigan Mountain State Park

Cardigan Mountain State Park, a gem in New Hampshire’s wilderness, beckons adventurers to experience its natural splendor and breathtaking views. With Cardigan Mountain as its centerpiece, this park offers a variety of hiking trails, catering to both novices and seasoned hikers. As visitors ascend the mountain’s slopes, they are rewarded with panoramic vistas of the surrounding landscape, creating an unforgettable journey into the heart of nature’s marvels.

Reasons To Go Backpacking in Cardigan Mountain State Park:

  • Cardigan Mountain Summit: Backpacking in Cardigan Mountain State Park offers the opportunity to conquer the iconic Cardigan Mountain, providing hikers with stunning panoramic views as a reward for their efforts.
  • Varied Hiking Trails: The park boasts a range of hiking trails, accommodating all skill levels and allowing backpackers to choose routes that suit their preferences and abilities.
  • Secluded Wilderness: Backpackers can immerse themselves in the tranquility of nature, surrounded by the serene wilderness of New Hampshire, providing a peaceful and refreshing escape.
  • Abundant Flora and Fauna: Exploring this park introduces backpackers to a diverse array of plant life and wildlife, adding an enriching natural experience to their journey.
  • Outdoor Adventure: Cardigan Mountain State Park offers outdoor enthusiasts a chance to indulge in activities like camping, bird watching, and star gazing, ensuring a fulfilling and adventurous backpacking trip.

Recommended Gear: Hiking Boots, Backpack, Water Bottle, Map/Compass, Tent, Sleeping Bag, Camping Stove


Lost River Gorge and Boulder Caves

Lost River Gorge and Boulder Caves, a captivating natural wonder in New Hampshire, entices visitors to embark on an unforgettable subterranean adventure. Carved over millennia by the force of nature, this mesmerizing gorge reveals a labyrinth of ancient boulder caves and cascading waterfalls. Exploring the rugged terrain and wandering through the fascinating rock formations, visitors can uncover the secrets of this geological marvel and immerse themselves in the magic of the underground world.

Reasons To Go Backpacking at the Lost River Gorge and Boulder Caves:

  • Unique Geological Marvel: Backpacking in Lost River Gorge and Boulder Caves allows hikers to explore a one-of-a-kind geological wonder, venturing through captivating boulder caves and narrow crevices.
  • Mesmerizing Waterfalls: The park’s cascading waterfalls add an enchanting element to the backpacking experience, creating a serene and soothing atmosphere amidst the rugged landscape.
  • Subterranean Adventure: Adventurers can satisfy their curiosity by traversing the intriguing underground passages and uncovering the secrets hidden within the ancient rock formations.
  • Nature’s Playgrounds: The gorge’s natural playground provides an exciting terrain for exploration, offering a unique blend of rock-hopping and hiking opportunities for backpackers of all ages.
  • Educational Insights: Backpackers can learn about the park’s geological history and natural processes, gaining valuable knowledge about the forces that shaped this exceptional natural attraction.

Recommended Gear: Hiking Boots, Backpack, Water Bottle, Headlamp, First Aid Kit, Snacks, Rain Jacket


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