The Insider’s Scoop: Favorite Picks for Family Hikes
Hosting “New Hampshire Chronicle” on WMUR-TV for the past decade has given me the opportunity to travel all around the state. There are so many wonderful places to visit in the 603. Some of my favorite spots can’t be reached by car. You’ve got to take a hike! Hitting the trails is a great way connect with the natural beauty of the Granite State. As a mom of three, I’ve also found that there is no better way to get kids to disconnect from their devices and connect with you than to lace up the sneaks and tackle a trail or conquer a mountain. Not to worry, you don’t have to be an expert. These are some easy, family-friendly hikes with the most amazing views … small hikes with a big payoff!
Mt. Kearsarge – This is the perfect hike for beginners. If you take the auto road from Rollins State Park in Warner, your car does most of the work. The short half-mile trek takes you past a frog pond, through the woods and ends with incredible views of the Lake Sunapee Region. The auto road reopens in the spring. My kids will never let me forget the time we showed up when the gate was still down. You can still hike the 3.5-mile road to the top — so that’s what we did — making for a memorable adventure. Make a day of it by stopping at the New Hampshire Telephone Museum in Warner. Your kids will be amazed to see the extensive collection of phones, from the very first ones to the trendy ones we’ve dialed through the decades.
West Rattlesnake Mountain – The trail-head is near the entrance to Rockywold-Deephaven Camps in Holderness. The two-mile trail takes you over some bridges and up a number of steps through the woods. At the top you’re in for breath-taking views of Squam Lake. This was our pup Zuzu the Shih Tzu’s very first hike.
Artists Bluff and Bald Mountain – Do one of these short hikes (or both) by following the 1.5-mile loop. From the top of each one you can marvel at the stunning views of Franconia Notch and Cannon Mountain. When we’re up here, we like to stop by to see the waterfalls at The Basin, which is a fun spot to explore at all times of the year.
Mt. Major – This hike near Alton Bay is a family favorite. When taking the 3.7-mile loop, we make a day of it. At the top, check out the gorgeous views of Lake Winnipesaukee that make the trek worth every step. You never know who you’ll run into up here. One time we discovered a fiddler serenading people at the summit. Only in New Hampshire!
Arethusa, Coliseum and Bemis Brook Falls – Waterfalls, waterfalls and more waterfalls! The Arethusa Falls trail in Crawford Notch starts out very easy. It takes you by Coliseum Falls and Bemis Brook Falls. From there it gets much more challenging. If you’re up for it and power through, you won’t be disappointed when you make it to the spectacular Arethusa falls.
So be safe, pack a lunch, and please — take a hike!