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10 Family-Friendly Hikes in New Hampshire

Make some memories in New Hampshire.

By: The Outbound Collective + Save to a List

"Live Free or Die" is the famous New Hampshire state motto, and while that might sound a little intense, don't let it scare you away. There are few places more welcoming than New Hampshire, and the state is filled with family-friendly adventures. 

Whether it's your first hike or you're working up to getting the whole family into the 4,000 Footer Club, hundreds of miles of trails are ready to bring you to views and destinations you'll never forget. Here are ten of our favorite family-friendly hikes in the Live Free or Die state.

Adventure by Jon Secord

For a family-friendly introduction to the White Mountains, look no further than Lonesome Lake. The 3.2-mile out and back has a little edge of a challenge, but is doable by even the youngest members of your family. For a truly memorable experience, book a night at the Appalachian Mountain Club's Lonesome Lake Hut.

Adventure by Chris Mongeau

The Flume Gorge in Franconia State Park is so much fun for both kids and adults that one day of exploration might not be enough. Hike on wooden boardwalks that nestle into granite ledges, climb to lookouts, and crawl on hands and knees through a small cave called the Wolf's Den.

Adventure by Sara Sheehy

The Oak Hill Fire Tower is a fun urban adventure right outside of New Hampshire's capital city. Trails climb gently through the forest to the grassy summit of Oak Hill, which is topped with an out-of-service fire tower. Climb the tower stairs for a view of the Lakes Region and, on a clear day, the White Mountains.

Adventure by Gustavo Quiros

Mount Cardigan is a family-favorite day hike that leads to a bald summit with panoramic views. 3 miles and 1200-feet of elevation gain is a fun and accessible challenge for any level of hiker.

Adventure by Emily Miller

Two summits, one day! The Welch and Dickey Loop, as it's known, is a 4-mile roundtrip jaunt that is best hiked counterclockwise. The hike starts in the forest and climbs to the smooth rocky tops of Welch Mountain and Dickey Mountain. The rock provides good grip, but take special care when it's wet.

Adventure by Danielle Tourigny

It's possible to drive to the top of Cathedral Ledge, but the hike makes the views all the sweeter. Cathedral Ledge is a popular beginner rock climbing spot just outside of North Conway, and the trail weaves around the cliffs to a fenced lookout over Echo Lake.

Adventure by Jonathan Mundy

Lake Winnipesaukee is the crown jewel of New Hampshire's Lake Region, and the 1.8-mile Lockes Hill Trail loop provides great views year-round. This trail is accessible in all seasons, but watch for ice and snow in the winter and spring.

Adventure by The Outbound Collective

For something a bit more challenging, check out the 6.8-mile out-and-back hike to Franconia Falls. While the distance is a bit longer, the trail gains less than 700 feet from start to finish, making it perfect for families. Franconia Falls features natural waterslides, a swimming hole, and it allows dogs, too!

Adventure by Tyler Cranden

An aerial view of Crawford Notch is one of the most striking views in New Hampshire, and you can reach it via the short, but relatively steep, hike to Mount Willard. Keep an eye on young children at the top, as the best viewpoint can be found near the edge of the rocky cliffs.

Adventure by Shannon Kalahan

Pulpit Rock Conservation Area is a 338-acre natural area that is ideal for an afternoon of exploration with the whole family. A rock gorge and ledge provide the main focal points, but there are also wetlands, meadows, and trails to wander on and around. There is plenty of bird-watching to be found, so don't forget to bring the binoculars!

Cover photo by Tyler Cranden

We want to acknowledge and thank the past, present, and future generations of all Native Nations and Indigenous Peoples whose ancestral lands we travel, explore, and play on. Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Please explore responsibly!

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