Six Short Hikes in the White Mountains for Spring
By local contributor: Brendan Hart (@brendanhartsy)
Spring is a sublime season to rally the family, call up friends, and get out for an open-aired jaunt in New Hampshire’s renowned range the White Mountains. Winter is over and there’s nothing more pleasurable than seeing the gem-like blooms explode throughout the forest, hearing the playful tones of the awakening birds, and experiencing the ultimate springtime delight: just wearing shorts and a t-shirt after so, so long. As it’s just the start of the hiking season, we wanted to supply you with the best 6 short hikes to get those legs stretched, those lungs pumping, and those eyes feasting on scrumptious sights.
Length: 3.2 miles
Parking: Crawford Notch Depot / Macomber Information Center on US Route 302 East
Mt. Willard is one of the most welcoming hikes in the Whites. A moderately exerting trot with an elevation gain of 977 feet will deposit you smack dab onto a stirring panorama of the humbly dazzling Crawford Notch.
Artist Bluff/Bald Mountain
Length: 1.5 mile loop
Parking: Roland Peabody Memorial Slope Parking Area (Cannon Mountain Exit)
Artist Bluff and Bald Mountain are the White Mountains’ petit power couple. With two separate opportunities for splendid views of Echo Lake, Cannon Mountain and Franconia Notch, this easy two-stop trek will satisfy your daily wanderlust with a hefty portion of voluptuous views.
Length: 3 miles
Parking: Lot located on US Route 302 in Crawford Notch State Park, Hart’s Location. Sign is easy to spot from road.
Arethusa Falls is considered New Hampshire’s best waterfall. A graceful tantrum of water surges down 160ft of serrated rock ledges, bouncing the water into charming pirouettes as it makes its long descent. The hike presents a chance to dust the cobwebs off your calves with a quick elevation gain of 800ft before getting a refreshing welcome at this sizable and serene cascade.
Mt. Welch and Mt. Dickey
Length: 4.1 mile loop
Parking: Take Upper Mad River rd, turn right onto Orris rd, half a mile until the clearly marked trailhead.
Welch and Dickey is an exciting piste patchworked with fun scrambles, vast granite ledges, and phenomenal scenery. The loop wraps around Mt. Welch and Mt. Dicky, offering views of Franconia Ridge, Mt. Mooselauke, Sandwich Mountain, Mt. Tripyramid and more. If you’re looking for slight exertion and significant elation, you’ll love this loop.
Length .3 miles
Parking: Large lot located on Sandwich Notch rd
Beede Falls in Center Sandwich is on the outskirts of the White Mountains, yet is one of the region’s most overlooked treasures. A wide 37-foot cascade lilts and shimmers down an immense rock face, dripping a curtain-like crescendo of water into a shallow pool. If you’re feeling plucky, or lose a bet, you can brave the frigid swim behind the water in the Cow Cave, which was named after an incident where a runaway heifer was discovered behind the cascade.
Length: 3.5 mile loop
Parking: Dolly Copp Road, just a mile from Route 16 (Pine Link Trail Parking Lot).
Pine Mountain has a host of unique qualities. There are several standout lookout points along the route. A series of titanic granite ledges greets you at the peak, along with the mountain’s most unique trait: a carved-out granite seat perfect for a happy hiker.