The White Mountains of New Hampshire is home to stunning waterfalls, relaxing swimming holes, and incredble wildlife, such as moose, black bear, loons, fox, turkey, and rainbow trout. You might spot some of this wildlife just by walking on one of the thousands of hiking trails in the White Mountains. You may also get an insider's glimpse of where wildlife live by taking a Moose Tour. If you spend a little time in one of our State Parks, you will witness some of New Hampshire's finest flora and fauna.
Whether your travels take you along the White Mountains Trail National Scenic Byway, the Northern Loop, or the Southern Loop, you're in for a treat. Along the way, you'll discover spectacular scenery, covered bridges, historic sites, picturesque towns and villages, and friendly people.
It's the highest mountain in northeastern North America: 6,288-foot Mount Washington. Native Americans called it "Agiocochook" and didn't climb it, believing that its summit was the home of the Great Spirit. Giovanni da Verrazano was the first European to see it, from the waters off New Hampshire's seacoast, in 1524. Darby Field was the first European settler to climb it, in 1642.
Today its summit, a State Park, is visited by over a quarter of a million people from all over the world each year. From there, on a clear day, it's often possible to see into five states - New Hampshire, Maine, Vermont, Massachusetts and New York - even into Canada.
Early settlers Abel Crawford and his son, Ethan Allen Crawford, built the first footpath to the summit in 1819; today it is the oldest continuously maintained footpath in the US. Ethan Allen Crawford later improved the path, making it a bridle path for horses, and completing the work in 1840.
In 1861, when the Mount Washington Auto Road opened as a carriage road, it was considered the nation's first man-made tourist attractions.
The Mount Washington Cog Railway, the world's first rack and pinion railroad, was completed eight years later. When the railway's builder, Sylvester Marsh, first petitioned the New Hampshire Legislature for the right to build the railway, they were so skeptical of the project's feasibility that they granted him the right to build "the railway to the moon."
Mount Washington is justly famed for its weather extremes. The highest surface wind spreed ever observed by man - 231 miles per hour, was recorded there on April 12, 1934 by the Mount Washington Observatory. Founded in 1932, the non-profit Mount Washington Observatory continues its weather monitoring and research to this day.
Be sure to visit the Mount Washington Museum, a human and natural history museum located on the summit and operated by the Mount Washington Observatory. You can also learn about the mountain at the Observatory's Weather Discovery Center in North Conway or online at mountwashington.org.
The highest temperature ever recorded on the summit was 72°F, the lowest, a frigid -47°F--and that's without factoring in the wind chill! Summer visitors find the summit a welcome retreat from the warmer temperatures below; in July the temperature averages 49°F. In the fall, a trip up the mountain offers spectacular views of the foliage. Whenever you visit the summit, be sure to bring extra clothing - and your binoculars and camera, too.
Evening 3 1/2 hour moose tours (96% success May thru September). Reservation required. Partial tour schedule mid-May to early October. Adults $35. Ages to 15, $19. Celebrating 11 seasons. 8 pm departure. Moose movie - Moose Tour - Moose Fun!
Address: Route 16/302, North Conway 03860
Phone: (603) 662-3159
The 800,000-acre White Mountain National Forest is a powerful presence in the White Mountains. Adjacent to or part of every village and town, the National Forest ensures that this region will remain largely undeveloped.
North of Franconia Notch State Park is the Northern White Mountains. This gentle countryside is a bit more rural, the pace slower, the views absolutely gorgeous … so get off the highway and explore.
The White Mountains have long been known for natural splendor, cultural richness, historical charm and stimulating recreation-as well as some of the most beautiful scenery in the eastern United States. The White Mountains Trail, designated a National Scenic Byway, encompasses all these aspects over the course of its 100-mile route.
There are a number of ways to make a loop through the southern White Mountains and the Lakes Region; here are a couple possibilities.
Take a 3 hour evening moose tour (average 98% success rate). Sure to be fun for the whole family! Please call for details and times!
Address: Route 112, Main Street, Lincoln 03251
Phone: (603) 745-2744
Let us take you on a 3 hour tour in one of our comfortable tour buses. Enjoy a guided wildlife adventure on the North Country's longest running tour. We know just where to find MOOSE!
Address: 39 Railroad Street, Gorham 03581
Phone: (603) 466-2101
In the White Mountains the NH State Parks range from 6,440-acre Franconia Notch State Park to the highest State Park in the East, Mount Washington State Park. These parks' diversity means that visitors and residents alike can enjoy endless recreational opportunities, from hiking to swimming, mountain biking, fishing and boating. Take a scenic drive, watch wildlife, learn about the history of the region and the state, or enjoy a picnic with a view. Fees are nominal, and season passes are available.
Beside Route 112, 1.6 miles west of North Woodstock. Small but beautiful 10 foot waterfall, also called Indian Leap. Series of potholes on Moosilauke Brook.
Address: Off Rt. 112W, 1.6 miles west of North Woodstock NH 03262
The Loon Center features loon displays, mounts, interactive exhibits and award-winning videos on loons. The non-profit Loon's Feather Gift Shop sells "all things loon and more!" The 200-acre Markus Wildlife Sanctuary on the shores of Lake Winnipesaukee has two miles of walking trails that overlook a nesting pair of loons. Free Admission.
Address: 183 Lee's Mill Road, Moultonborough 03254
Phone: (603) 476-5666
One of the most exciting aspects of spending time in the White Mountains is the opportunity to see wildlife such as white-tailed deer (the New Hampshire state mammal), moose, fox, bear, and other native animals. Several areas of the White Mountain National Forest are known as excellent places to observe wildlife. If you do see wildlife like moose or black bear on your outdoor explorations, exercise caution and never approach the animal. If you're in your car and want to pull over to observe, do so carefully and stay in the car. Remember: the animal is wild. Moose are especially unpredictable in their movements and when threatened may stand their ground or charge. More active at dusk and at night, they are difficult to see, so brake for moose-it could save your life. As a rule, bears stay away from people unless tempted by food. Black bears have keen hearing and a good sense of smell, and are aware of you long before you are aware of them. They can be scared away by loud noises. If you are camping, take the following precautions: keep a clean camp. Don't cook or eat inside your tent-the food odors linger and attract bears. Put food and garbage in the trunk of your car. If that's not possible, hang both at least ten feet off the ground. Under no circumstances should you feed, tease, touch or disturb any bears. The state's moose population has made a dramatic recovery since the early 1900's, when unregulated hunting and loss of forest habitat to agriculture decimated the population. Today, moose are found throughout the state, including the White Mountains region, and are often seen in swampy or wet areas near roads. Frequent sightings are reported along the Kancamagus Highway, in Pinkham Notch, and along Route 26 in Dixville Notch. Moose tours are run from Gorham and Lincoln, as well as in the Great North Woods Region of the state. New Hampshire Fish and Game Department carries the New Hampshire Wildlife Viewing Guide, a 96-page book by Judy K. Silverberg on 72 places in the state to watch wildlife. Contact Fish and Game, 11 Hazen Drive, Concord, NH 03301. Call (603) 271-3421. On the web: www.wildlife.state.nh.us.Please explore our comprehensive list of the White Mountains Attractions Association's Wildlife Excursion members below.