Winter has arrived and whether this is your first time visiting the White Mountains, you’ve been coming here for years, or you are local to this great neck of the woods, there are so many ways to get outside and enjoy this magical wonderland. Here are just 7 of our favorite ways to explore this time of year.
(Please check individual business websites for important “Know Before You Go” information, as some procedures have changed this season. Capacity has been limited and advance reservations are required at many locations. Some photos below may have been taken in previous years and may not reflect current guidelines).
(1. and 2.) Snowshoeing and XC (Nordic) Skiing
There are kilometers of trails in the White Mountains that are simply perfect for both snowshoeing and Nordic skiing and we encourage you to get out and explore! If you are more comfortable following a groomed trail system, there are several great outfitters to check out while you are here. Great Glen Trails , Bretton Woods Nordic Center , Gunstock Mountain Resort Outdoor Center , and the Franconia Inn XC Ski Center , and the Waterville Valley Adventure Center have amazing trail systems designed for both activities and for all abilities. The Mount Washington Valley Ski Touring and Jackson Ski Touring offer lessons, and guided excursions throughout the season. Alpine Adventures offers Guided Back-Country Snowshoe Tours with a hot chocolate stop at their treetop cabin.
Need rentals? While you can rent your snowshoe and XC rentals on-site at all these locations, you can also check out Rodgers’s Ski & Sport in Lincoln and Ski Fanatics in Campton if you are planning on venturing out on your own.
(3.) Snow Tubing
Even if you’re not a skier or snowboarder, you can still find reasons to head to some of the White Mountains ski resorts. Cranmore Mountain Resort and Loon Mountain Resort both offer lift service tubing. (Loon has not set an opening date…check their website for updates!) Great Glen Trails and the Waterville Valley Clubhouse & Tubing Center also brings the fun this season with their traditional walk-up tubing hills. Gunstock Mountain Resort will have you feeling the speed with their SunKid conveyer lift and groomed tubing lanes. Franconia Inn also has a tubing hill with tubes on-site that visitors can access with purchase of the Activity Center pass or reserve as its own activity and Bretton Woods Tubing Hill has been sculpted and groomed for maximum speed.
(4.) Ice Castles
The magical, icy spectacle that is the Ice Castles , returns this season to their permanent home in North Woodstock. Created by hand from hundreds of thousands of icicles, and LED lights, this year’s castle is sure to be awe-inspiring and breathtaking.
Explore the White Mountains in a whole new way while adventuring on a snowmobile. The trail systems meander over the river and through the woods with some incredible views along the way. Northeast Snowmobile & ATV Rentals offers rentals in both Gorham and Fryeburg, Maine for a variety of trails to explore. Northern Extremes Snowmobiling can be found in Bartlett and Bretton Woods and offers both rentals and guided tours. SledVentures in Lincoln offers beginner and intermediate guided tours through Franconia Notch and beyond.
(6.) Dog Sled
Muddy Paw Sled Dog Kennel in Jefferson gives visitors a chance to dip their toes into the world of dog sledding. Tours run from 1.5 hours to 3 hours with the chance to meet, greet, and even feed your sled dog team before heading out on your great adventure.
(7.) Outdoor Adventure Centers
At Cranmore Mountain Resort , you can go for the skiing and riding, then stick around for their Mountain Adventure Park. Fly through the woods on the twisty track of the Mountain Coaster, arc through the air on the Giant Swing, and experience the feeling of being on a zipline on the Soaring Eagle. Book a Tubing session at Gunstock Mountain Resort and get unlimited rides on the Mountain Coaster within your two-hour time block. Reach speeds up to 25 mph as you turn, tumble, and soar down the mountainside. Alpine Adventures not only has Guided Snowshoe Tours, but they also offer winter ziplining, an off-road tour, and their Thrilsville Aerial Challenge Park.