The Appalachian Trail Club sponsors the “Four Thousand Club” with a list that defines which of the 48 mountains in New Hampshire are over 4,000 feet. From the heights of Mount Washington, the highest peak in New England; to Cannon Mountain, the highest ski slopes; to Tecumseh – which makes the list by a mere 3 feet – New Hampshire has enough mountains to make exploring a year round adventure. With the winter sports and activities, even the New Hampshire valleys get involved. For cross country skiing enthusiasts there are over 50km of developed trails in New Hampshire alone. If you are just beginning to discover winter activities as a way to plan a more engaging vacation, here is an overview of the options for traditional and more modern ways of enjoying the New Hampshire outdoors.
The parks and places in New Hampshire
The trails for winter exploration in New Hampshire are extensive. A part of the Appalachian Trail system, much of the state is preserved by the presence of so many national park and state parks. Helping this is the allowance for ski resorts and centers that help guests enjoy the outdoors while helping to teach them how to preserve it. A list of places to stay that are near ski areas and resorts in New Hampshire will help you to plan your trip. The next thing you have to decide is how you are going to explore the New Hampshire outdoors. Not everyone is going to be into the high speed thrill of downhill skiing, so it is a good idea to learn the range of winter activities and pick a place that puts you in the center of them all.
Exploring the trails in traditional ways
The traditional winter sports of downhill skiing, cross country skiing, snow shoeing and ice fishing get a lot of play in New Hampshire. Advanced skiers of both types will find Cannon Mountain one of the best places to explore. For those who are just beginning, or for family vacations with a range of areas, the Bretton Woods area has a good range of trails. If you are looking to explore snow shoeing and ice fishing adventures, look into Mount Tom. This is one the 4000 list and has one of the most beautiful and challenging trail systems around for snow showing. The snow shoe trails are sometimes groomed and often left pristine for breaking, what you find may depend on how early you get out. Ice fishing can be good around Mount Tom as well, but make sure you have all the appropriate fishing permits and licenses to do so. You can purchase your license online so it is easy to make sure you are ready to go.
Taking to the trails in a more modern style
Skiing, snowshoeing and ice fishing may not be the types of activities that interest you. Fun to do, you may want more of a thrill. Much of the New Hampshire wilderness can be explored by snow mobile, it is not just about the speed and fun of riding, but the trails may be so extensive there is no other way to get where you are going without riding. For those who want a more direct physical challenge, snowboarding is available at almost all ski resorts. You can opt between taking to the slopes, where you will find crafted slope parks and back trails that allow snowboarding. Waterville Valley is a good choice to begin. It frequently hosts world class championships and the facilities are also available for public use. The Mount Sunapee area has quite a few snowmobile trails along with ice fishing, skiing and snowboarding to keep everyone content. You can take your snow shoeing or cross country skiing up a notch by becoming involved in the extreme versions of both which are closer to racing and speed skating then the traditional pacing.
Finding what you need to keep you going
In and around all of the parks, resorts and winter activity centers you will find businesses that specialize in outdoor gear and equipment to make sure that you have everything that you need to keep going. As you explore different skill levels of trails, it is always best to ask one of the locals in the business if there is anything that is a must have as far as equipment. Some of the trails on the 4,000s maybe marked and groomed, but you are still in a wilderness you have to share with bears and bobcats so it is best to be prepared.