Hiking in New Hampshire is a sport as old as… well, New Hampshire! Suitable for every age and ability, some of our local favorites are listed below.
Popular Walking Trails
- Waukewan Highlands, Meredith
This multi-use managed forest offers 3 marked trails which all lead to a 3-acre pond. This trail is suitable to walking, biking, strollers, and skates.
- Chamberlain-Reynolds Memorial Forest, Center Harbor
Located just off Rt. 3 in Center Harbor, this area offers a short walk “On Golden Pond.”
- Frederick & Paula Anna Markus Wildlife Sanctuary
This sanctuary covers 200 acres on the north shore of Lake Winnipesaukee, including two miles of walking trails. Co-located with the Loon Center and open dawn to dusk daily, you can enjoy nature (and the local Loon population). The sanctuary is located at 183 Lee’s Mills Rd., in Moultonborough.
- Hamlin Recreation & Conservation Area
This area’s 2,000 feet of unspoiled Lake Wicwas shoreline will offer you lots to see. Beaver ponds, Heron rookeries, stone walls, cellar holes, a Hemlock Forest, high view ledges, and Ancient Maple groves are just some of it’s charm. To get there, take Rte. 104 to Meredith Center Rd. Go south 1 mile and turn right on Chemung Rd. Then head west for 2 miles and pull into a parking area on the right side of the road. You can park on the side of road, which might be all that’s available during peak tourist season.
If you crave a bit more adventure in your walk, try one of these local hikes. Be sure to bring along plenty of water, especially in the summer, and be prepared for wildlife.
- West Rattlesnake Mountain, Holderness
This trail is 0.9 miles to the summit, which offers spectacular views and ledges. Use caution with your children on the ledges. To get there from Meredith, take Rt. 3 North to Holderness. Turn right on Rt. 113 and go approximately 2 miles. Look for the Rockywold Deephaven Camps sign on the right side of the road. Parking is 0.5 miles past this sign, on your left. Rattlesnake trail is on the opposite side of road, at the base of the knoll. Note: there may be actual rattlesnakes on this trail. BE wise – you’re in Nature’s playground!
- Red Hill, Center Harbor
1.7 miles to the summit, with beautiful lake views of Squam and Winnipesaukee
- Mount Major, Alton
1.5 miles to the summit, worth the trip to gain a panoramic view of Lake Winnipesaukee
- Mount Morgan, Sandwich
1.5 miles to the summit, which connects to Mount Webster and Mount Percival
- Gunstock Mountain, Gilford
Overlook Trail is blazed in orange and starts on some of the cross-country ski trails. The trail crosses the brook, climbs the mountain and winds up on a spectacular overlook. From the overlook, the trail goes through a beautiful forest, and then climbs up to intersect with the Saddle Trail. From this point you can either go to the summit of Belknap or Gunstock, or head back down on the Brook Trail.
- Castle in the Clouds, Moultonborough
Try any of the 28 miles of hiking trails maintained by the Lakes Region Conservation Trust at Castle in the Clouds for a really fun (and challenging, if you want it) day. Everything from a leisurely walking path along cascading waterfalls (ending at the largest waterfall, Falls of Song), to more experienced hikes with amazing views of the Ossipee Mountains is located here. With more than 5,200 acres and trails to entertain every skill level, you can literally spend the day hiking with your entire family. Trail heads are located at Shannon Pond or off Route 171, located just south/east of the front gate. Hiker parking is located on Ossipee Park Road, across from the entrance to the bottling plant. There’s also hiker parking at the trail head on Route 171. Trail maps are available for purchase at the Castle in the Clouds gift shop.