4 Hiking Trails to Take in the White Mountains This Summer

4 Great Hiking trails in the White Mountains of New HampshireThe rugged, pristine beauty of the White Mountains has earned them a place in the heart of many nature lovers. Here, adventurers climb rugged peaks and are rewarded with breathtaking views. Waterfall-laden hiking trails entice visitors with stunning beauty and tranquil, mountain pools. Nestled in the gateway to this extraordinary area is the luxurious Sugar Hill Inn. The historic Sugar Hill Inn is known for its warm, inviting atmosphere and country charm. Let our chefs pamper you with a luxurious meal in our award-winning restaurant. Luxe amenities like whirlpool tubs and cozy in-room fireplaces will have you feeling like royalty. Book your room with us today, and enjoy a few of our favorite hiking trails in the White Mountains!

4 Hiking Trails in the White Mountains

With the national forest, state parks and Pemigewasset Wilderness all nearby, it’s hard to pick favorite hiking trails. So here are four of our favorite hikes that you should add to your list of things to do in the White Mountains this summer:

Lincoln-Lafayette Loop (Franconia Ridge)

Joseph Getts of Getts Wild calls this hiking trail, “the best day hike loop that New Hampshire has to offer.” The hike traverses the summits of both Mt. Lincoln and Mt. Lafayette. At just over 5,000 feet, the two peaks are the 6th and 7th tallest in New Hampshire. Nearly nine miles long and with a 3,900-foot elevation gain, this trek is perfect for serious hikers. Although the climb along the Falling Waters Trail can be steep and rocky at times, it is studded with a series of picturesque cascades. The 360-degree views from the ridgetop are spectacular. 

Navigating the trail

Take the Old Bridle Path Trailhead about 1,000 feet to the Falling Waters Trailhead. Follow the Falling Waters Trail another 3 miles to the top of Little Haystack Mountain. There, take a left onto Franconia Ridge Trail. After crossing the summit of Mt. Lincoln, you’ll arrive at the peak of Mt. Lafayette. From here, veer left on the Greenleaf Trail. When you reach the Greenleaf Hut, pick up the Old Bridle Path Trail and continue another 2.9 miles to the parking lot.

How to get there

Access is from the Lafayette Place parking lot, just across I-93 from the Lafayette Place Campground. The is trailhead is just under 10 miles from fine dining at the Sugar Hill Inn.

Arethusa Falls

4 Great Hiking trails to Take in the White Mountains This SummerOften touted as the state’s highest waterfall, Arethusa Falls is a must-see. Water cascades 140 feet down a rock cliff, splashing and casting a fine mist. A shallow pool at the foot of the falls is perfect for dipping your toes in the icy mountain water. This hike can be challenging. Some areas along Arethusa Falls Trail are steep and covered with loose rocks. Sections of Frankenstein Cliff Trail should also be traversed with care. Be sure to wear appropriate footwear and take your time. The pristine beauty of the falls and picturesque mountain views make the climb well worth your effort.

Navigating the Trail

The trip to the falls is 1.4 miles along Arethusa Falls Trail, with the first 0.6 miles being rather steep and rocky. From the falls, you can return the way you came or continue along Arethusa Falls Trail to Frankenstein Cliff Trail. Take a right on Frankenstein Cliff Trail to complete the 4-mile loop back to the parking lot.

How to Get There

There is a large parking lot by the trailhead. It is accessed from a small unmarked road off of Highway 302. The road is on the west side of 302, between the Dry River Campground and the Crawford Notch Campground.

Sabbaday Falls

This postcard-perfect natural wonder is a short and easy hike. The paved parking lot and graded path are accessible for even the most beginner-level hikers. There are some stairs as you near the falls. After a 15 minute hike, you’ll reach a series of cascades, each plunging into a clear pool. The water travels through a narrow flume and educational panels offer a lesson on the geology of the rock formations.

Navigating the trail

You will begin your hike at the Sabbaday Falls Picnic Area. Restrooms are available there, as well as plenty of parking. Follow the Sabbaday Falls Trail up to the falls and back. The graded, gravel trail is marked clearly.

How to get there

The trailhead is located on the scenic Kancamagus Highway. After seeing the falls, enjoy a relaxing lunch at the Sabbaday Falls Picnic Area. Visit the historic Russell-Colbath House or the Rocky Gorge Scenic Area, both nearby. Or double your fun with a hike to another gorgeous waterfall at Champney Falls, just six minutes away. After a long day of climbing hills, soak in the hot, bubbling waters of a whirlpool tub in your room at the Sugar Hill Inn.

Lincoln Woods Trail and Franconia Falls

According to the US Forest Service, the Lincoln Woods Trail is one of the easiest and most popular trails in the White Mountain National Forest. The trail is the gateway to the Pemigewasset Wilderness, one of the largest roadless areas in the US. Following along the Pemigewasset River’s east branch and the historic Lincoln Railroad, most of the trail is relatively flat and easy going. The trail nears the river at the 1.7-mile mark, where there is an excellent view of Mt. Bald. Hikers who continue to Franconia Falls will be well rewarded for their 6.5-mile round-trip journey. The waterfall is surrounded by rock formations and drops 30 feet into stunning, crystal clear waters.  The tranquil beauty of Black Pond offers explorers another worthwhile destination. 

Navigating the Trail

The Lincoln Woods Trail begins with a 160-foot long suspension bridge across the river. Make a sharp right and the trail will continue, mostly following the river and railroad. At the 2.6 mile mark, you’ll see Black Pond Trail on the left. Take the left if you want to make the 0.7-mile trek to the pond. Otherwise, bear right and continue on Lincoln Woods Trail. After you pass the 2.8-mile mark, look for a stone wall. At the stone wall, a path on the left will take you the remaining 0.4 miles to Franconia Falls. 

How to get there

The trail begins at the Lincoln Woods Visitor Center. There you can find restrooms, drinking water, and educational displays. The visitor center is about a half hour from the romantic Sugar Hill Inn via I-93 and the scenic Kancamagus Highway.

The Sugar Hill Inn

After you’ve conquered the great outdoors, relax and rejuvenate at the Sugar Hill Inn. It’s just a short drive from numerous outdoor destinations! Rest up for the next day’s adventure in our Richardson Deluxe Whirlpool Suite, where you can lounge on your own private deck with a view of the forest. Or step out your back door and follow stepping stones to our tranquil herb and sculpture garden. And don’t forget to stop by our award-winning restaurant. Browse our extensive wine list with over 100 varieties, and find out why the Sugar Hill Inn received Wine Spectator’s Award of Excellence. Book your room with us today, and discover the quaint sophistication of the Sugar Hill Inn!

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