New Hampshire

11 Best Places to Snowshoe in New Hampshire

by Sarah Lamagna
Updated December 07, 2021

snowshoeing in new hampshire
Photo: Shutterstock

When snow hits the ground in the Granite State, that’s when the trails are at their finest.

Sure, there’s over 20 ski resorts in New Hampshire so you could spend your winters on the crowded bunny slopes. Or you could find some peace and literal quiet snowshoeing on the trails throughout the state.

While everyone else is spending hundreds (if not thousands) of dollars on ski rentals and annual ski passes, just grab your snowshoes (or rent ones for as little as $20) and head on out.

Many of the trails across New Hampshire that are easily accessed in the warmer months might not be as easily found in the winter. So do your research and make sure to have your winter tires on your car. If you’re new to snowshoeing in New Hampshire, don’t worry!

There are many organizations including the Appalachian Mountain Club and Washington Valley Ski Touring Foundation that offer guided snowshoe excursions.

But if you just want to get out on your own, hit up the trails on the list below.

1. Old Bridle Path

squam lake snowshoe new hampshire
Squam Lake. Photo: Shutterstock

Why you should go: It’s one of the easiest hikes on the list and great for families.

  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Length: 1.7 miles
  • Elevation gain: 380 feet

Fans of the 1981 film “On Golden Pond” (yeah, I had to Google it, too) will recognize the view from the Old Bridle Path overlooking Squam Lake. This trail is heavily trafficked during the spring through the fall, but it clears out in the winter time.

It’s a great option for those who are only just beginning their snowshoeing journey and need to feel it out a bit more. It’s also perfect for those with young kids since the two-mile hike can easily be done on little legs.

Related read: 11 Cozy Pet-Friendly Cabin Rentals in New Hampshire

2. Mount Monadnock

Mount Monadnock
Views from Mount Monadnock. Photo: Shutterstock

Why you should go: Start your New Year’s resolutions anytime and get into shape on this butt-bustin’ hike.

  • Difficulty: Challenging
  • Length: 3.6 miles
  • Elevation gain: 1,740 feet

The White Dot Trail up Mount Monadnock isn’t for a first-time snowshoer. With over 1,700 feet gained in 1.8 miles, it’s what you call a “thigh-burning” hike. And the thing about snowshoeing is that hiking is ten times harder in the snow.

So if you’ve done this hike in the summertime and thought “yeah, it’s a little steep,” it’ll feel like Everest in the winter. Luckily for you, Mount Monadnock is only just over 3,000 feet above sea level rather than Everest’s 29,000 feet. So leave your oxygen tanks behind but grab the snowshoes and plenty of layers.

Related read: 10 Best Spots to See Fall Colors in New Hampshire

3. Arethusa Falls

Arethusa Falls new hampshire
Photo: Shutterstock

Why you should go: There’s just something beautiful about a frozen waterfall.

  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Length: 2.8 miles
  • Elevation gain: 780 feet

The trail up to Arethusa Falls is widely known as a great snowshoeing hike so don’t expect to be alone on this trail. Even if you only drive to the trailhead, it’s worth the trip up to Crawford Notch State Park. The snow has a way of coating the entirety of the trees as if you are in a literal winter wonderland.

The road winds its way throughout the wintry paradise and it’s simply gorgeous. But the trail is wonderful too. There aren’t your typical mountain views but there’s a frozen waterfall at the end that looks straight out of a Christmas movie. Don’t forget the hot cocoa for a treat before you head back down to your car.

Related read: 10 Things to Do in the Fall in New Hampshire

4. Heald Pond Trail

wilton new hampshire
Wilton, New Hampshire. Photo: Shutterstock

Why you should go: There’s a good chance you’ll see some beavers.

  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Length: 2 miles
  • Elevation gain: 165 feet

There is a 69-acre pond in the town of Wilton that is home to an ecologically diverse ecosystem. Moose, bear, and beaver are frequent visitors. And yes, you might see any one of these animals in the winter.

Contrary to popular belief, bears are not true hibernators and will venture out of their dens on warmer days. So keep an eye on the surrounding woods. The trail around the pond leads you through an apple orchard and along those classic New England stone walls.

Related read: 10 Most Unique Places to Stay in New Hampshire

5. Lonesome Lake to Cannon Mountain

lonesome lake new hampshire
Snowshoeing to Lonesome Lake. Photo: Shutterstock

Why you should go: Stoke a fire in a mountain hut.

  • Difficulty: Challenging
  • Length: 5.6 miles
  • Elevation gain: 2,350 feet

This is another hike in the “trails that are guaranteed to get your heart racing and your thighs burning” column. The first part of the trail to Lonesome Lake is simple and downright enjoyable. The views of the 4,000 footers at the base of the lake are magical with snow cascading down its slopes.

In the winter months, the Appalachian Mountain Club has a hut open at the Lake to warm up your toes before making the trek up to Cannon Mountain. It’s a self-serve hut meaning that there are no services (like hot cocoa or coffee) but there is a fire that you can use.

You can also opt to skip the hut and use it as a treat after you’ve done the bulk of the work.

Related read: 9 Must-Do Hikes in New Hampshire

6. Mount Lafayette via Franconia Ridge

Franconia Ridge
Franconia Ridge. Photo: Shutterstock

Why you should go: Enjoy the iconic views without the crowds.

  • Difficulty: Challenging
  • Length: 9.3 miles
  • Elevation gain: 3,800 feet

One of the most iconic hikes in the White Mountains is Franconia Ridge. In my humble opinion, the views along the Ridge are, hands-down, the best ones you’ll see in all of New Hampshire. In the winter, it gets even better.

There aren’t nearly the crowds you see in the summertime — having the best views in New Hampshire equals a very crowded trail. But if you’ve ever done the trail up to Mount Lafayette in the warmer months, you know the wind is brutal.

Winter is no different. You’ll want face coverings and goggles to keep the wind at bay and layer up as much as you can. Be weary of the weather since it can change quickly even in the wintertime along this ridge. If it’s calling for bad weather and poor visibility, do NOT attempt to do this snowshoe hike no matter how seasoned you are.

Related read: 8 Epic Camping Spots in White Mountain National Forest

7. Peaked Mountain

 

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Why you should go: Easy access to a snowshoe up to incredible views.

  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Length: 4 miles
  • Elevation gain: 1,175 feet

There are several places you can view the high peaks of the White Mountains’ Presidential Range, but the views from Peaked Mountain are unique from its bald summit.

On a clear day (which, believe it or not, does happen often), you’ll be able to see several high-profile mountains from its summit including a different side of Mount Washington. The trail is relatively easy to follow and only has gradual ascent so it’s good for most skill levels.

Related read: 8 Beautiful New Hampshire Scenic Drives Worth Exploring

8. Mount Washington Vally Ski Touring and Snowshoe Foundation Trails

Intervale new hampshire
Views from Intervale. Photo: Shutterstock

Why you should go: it’s truly the sweetest trail in the state since it hosts an annual Chocolate Festival (see what I did there?)

  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Length: Varies
  • Elevation gain: Minimal

I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the Mount Washington Ski Touring and Snowshoe Foundation trails in Intervale. It’s home to over 25 miles of cross-country ski and snowshoe trails and connects three mountain towns in northern New Hampshire.

You can choose your own adventure around here from a short half-mile jaunt to a full day excursion going from town to town. The Foundation also provides several types of snowshoe excursions including the newest craze of “Snowshoe Yoga.”

Yeah, it’s definitely a thing. Look it up.

9. Jackson Ski Touring Foundation Snowshoe Trails

Jackson XC
Photo: Jackson XC

Why you should go: Enjoy an extensive trail system dedicated to snowshoers.

  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Length: Varies
  • Elevation gain: Varies

The trails at Jackson Ski Touring Foundation are just as extensive as the ones run by the Mount Washington Ski Touring and Snowshoe Foundation. Having trails dedicated solely to snowshoes is important especially for people who are new to the snowshoeing sport.

Snowshoeing takes some getting used to: it’s not easy to back up in snowshoes and moving quickly to get out of skiers’ ways is near impossible. So the snowshoe-only trails at Jackson Ski Touring Foundation are great for people wanting to try out the sport.

With that said, if you cross a ski trail, make sure to look both ways before you step out onto it.

10. Mount Washington

mount washington new hampshire
Photo: Shutterstock

Why you should go: Take in epic views from the top of New England.

  • Difficulty: Challenging
  • Length: 8.2 miles
  • Elevation gain: 4,300 feet

World’s worst weather be damned! If you’re up for a real challenge (there’s a reason I rated this at “very difficult”), then look no further than a winter climb up Mount Washington. Technically, this shouldn’t be listed as a snowshoe hike since you won’t wear snowshoes.

You’ll need mountaineering equipment to keep your footsies protected from the elements because they are harsh up there! This hike is no small undertaking. You need to be prepared and likely go with a guide service if you’re unfamiliar with the trails.

But the views (if you get one — it is Mount Washington after all) are incredible if you make it to the top.

11. Hamlin Trail

Why you should go: Plenty of trail options leading to lake and mountain views.

Difficulty: moderate
Length: 4.5 miles
Elevation gain: 700 feet

The trail system within the Hamlin Recreation and Conservation Area are perfect for first-time snowshoers. You can choose between four different trails, but I suggest the Hamlin Trail (also known as the Lakes to Ledges or Red Trail).

It’s got the best views out of the trails but it is more strenuous than the other three. If you’re looking for an easier trail, you can also choose to do the Four Ponds Loop (the Blue trail) or Crocketts Lodge Loop (the Yellow trail).

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