We can’t think of a better way to get the most bang out of your foliage buck, than to hike up a mountain and see the autumn world below you. October is the perfect time to hike in the White Mountains as the air is cooler, there isn’t as much foot traffic as in the summer, and the pay-off at the top is incomparable. These 7 foliage hikes will convince you to slap on those hiking boots, grab a camera, and get outside! (FF=Family Friendly, M=Moderate)
Black Cap-Conway (FF)
Stunning views of the White Mountains and Western Maine await you at the top of Black Cap. Due to the nature of the trail, this is a great hike for hikers of all ages and abilities, and would be fun for families to tackle. The Black Cap Trailhead is located off of Hurricane Mountain Road and the 2.4 mile round-trip trail meanders through Beech trees and Red Oak, offering you beautiful color before you even get to the summit.
Kilburn Crags-Littleton (FF)
This 1.4 mile hike up the Kilburn Crags Trail is more of a nature walk, really. The trailhead is located on the northeastern shoulder of Walker Mountain and a small parking lot is available on the St. Johnsbury Road off of Route 18/135. At the lookout on the summit, you will be greeted by incredible views of the town of Littleton, the Presidential Range, and the Ammonoosuc River Valley. Plan to bring a lunch and enjoy it at the picnic table at the top.
Mount Tecumseh-Waterville Valley (FF)
It may be the smallest of the 4,000 footers, coming in at 4,003’, but this 4.9 mile hike offers stunning foliage views of Waterville Valley and beyond. The summit is somewhat in the pines, but the view peeking out is still lovely. You can access the trailhead from Waterville Valley Ski Area off of Route 49.
Pine Mountain-Gorham (M)
One of the more popular, quicker, and easier routes to the summit of Pine Mountain is the Pine Mountain Loop. This trail can be accessed at the Pinkham B Road in Gorham. There is an old fire tower a little more than ½ a mile up the trail and is a great place to have a picnic, and enjoy the view. Near the top, Chapel Rock is an excellent place to see stunning fall views of Pinkham Notch and the Carter Range.
South Moat-Conway (M)
This often over-looked mountain peak will leave you in awe of its 360 ° views of Mt. Chocorua, the Presidentials, the Pemi Wilderness, and the village of Conway from its bare, rocky summit. Coming in at 2,770’, you could choose to complete the 5 mile trek, or for more of an adventure, you could add Middle and North Moat for a total of 9.6 miles. The trailhead begins near the Swift River Bridge in Conway.
Stinson Mountain-Rumney (M)
The parking area for this trailhead is small, so plan accordingly! The trail itself is 1.8 miles each way and the summit is at an elevation of 2900'. Stunning foliage views can be seen here of Stinson Lake as well as the valley below.
Table Mountain-Kancamagus Highway (FF)
With an elevation of 2,675', this approximately 4-mile out and back trail, is more on the moderate side, but it is still a great one for families to try out. The foliage from the top is outstanding and well worth the hike. The trailhead starts on Bear Notch Road.