The White Mountain region of New Hampshire with rocky mountaintops, deep forests, and running rivers is a large area with many hiking options. The best easy hikes in the White Mountains, typically lead to a mountain top or waterfall. While the White Mountains are a popular hiking destination and you may have difficulty parking at some of the trailheads during the summer or on weekends, the number of hikes in the area gives you many options if you want to find some peace and quiet.
You might also like 11 BEST hikes in the White Mountains.
A Quick Note on the Easy Hiking Trails in the White Mountains
Despite being relatively low mountains compared to the mountains in the Western US, these mountains offer difficult and rocky hiking trails. With very few switchbacks, many hiking trails are steep and some of the best easy hikes in the White Mountains listed below can feel challenging. Weather in the White Mountains can also be unpredictable and highly variable from the parking lot to the summit.
Always be prepared with plenty of food and water and pack layers for rain and wind. A good pair of hiking boots will help keep you from rolling your ankle on the roots and rocks and keep your feet dry during stream crossings. You can also find a complete list of items for day hikes or you can click on the image below and print a packing list.
If you are looking for other hiking options, there are a few collections of hikes in the White Mountains that offer a challenge. Check out
Description of the Best, Easy Hikes in the White Mountains
Distance: 2.8 miles Difficulty: easy/moderate Elevation Gain: 780 ft
Arethusa Falls leads to a gorgeous waterfall nestled in the forests of the White Mountains. This is mostly an out-and-back trail but you can make the bottom of the trail into a smaller loop. One of the best parts of this trail is that in addition to the waterfall at the end, you also walk along the edge of a beautiful stream that has several smaller waterfalls.
Note that this is a typically rocky NH trail and is short but relatively steep.
See more about hiking to Arethusa Falls.
Distance: 1 miles Difficulty: moderate Elevation: 350 feet
A nice short little hike to a lovely waterfall. This is an out-and-back trail and while it’s only 0.5 miles each way, the trail is relatively steep and rocky. Make sure to wear shoes with good support on the trail. The waterfall at the end is a 100-foot fall that flows down a large rock face. It is possible to do Arathusa and Ripley falls as a 6.5-mile loop that does involve a little walking on Route 203.
Check out more details on hiking to Ripley Falls.
Distance: 2.2 Miles Difficulty: Easy to Moderate Elevation: 500 feet
The Flume is a classic hiking trail in New Hampshire. The loop trail passes through a covered bridge and leads to the highlight which is a series of waterfalls that flow down through a gorge. It is a wide, gravel trail with few rocks and roots and is generally easy. The waterfall is truly stunning as it runs through the rock canyon. There is a fee to visit this site and you can purchase in advance for the best price. Visit NH State Parks to get your pass.
Distance: 1.5 mile loop trail Difficulty: moderate Elevation Gain: 500
This short hike leads to one of the most photographed overlooks in the White Mountains. The trail is easy to reach right off Route 93, and ascends a short distance up to a viewpoint that looks out over the Franconia area and Cannon Ski Mountain. Especially during the peak fall foliage, the overlook gets crowded so try to arrive early in the morning. This is a great easy hike if you’re looking for something short that gives you access to an overlook.
See more about hiking Artist Bluff and Bald Mountain.
Distance: 3.1 miles Difficulty: Moderate Elevation: 1000 feet
This trail is an out and back with a loop around the beautiful Lonesome Lake. You can do this hike as a day trip, or even stay at the Lonesome Lake Hut. We’ve done this overnight and definitely spending a night at one of the White Mountain Huts. You can also stay at the campground right at the base of the Lonesome Lake hike. The trail is steady and relatively steep with rocks and roots. Water is available at the hut to refill if needed.
Distance: 3.1 miles Difficulty: moderate Elevation Gain: 900 ft
This hike has both a waterfall and an overlook although it is a bit steep gaining 900 feet over about 1.5 miles. You’ve likely seen photos from the summit of this hike, especially during the fall months. This is a great and relatively easy hike.
See more about Hiking Mount Willard.
Distance: 3.7 miles Difficulty: moderate Elevation Gain: 1250 ft
Mount Pemigewasset is another hike that is easy to reach right off Route 93. The trail steadily leads uphill before following a short ridge to the summit. From the top, you have views mostly to the West. If you want more hiking, you can also combine this trail with the trail to the Flume since they start at almost the same spot.
Welch-Dickey Loop Trail
Distance: 4.4 miles Difficulty: Moderate + Elevation Gain: 1780 ft
The Welch-Dickey Loop is such as excellent hike, but it barely makes the list of ‘easy hikes in New Hampshire.’ The trail is about 4.4 miles and 1780 feet of elevation gain which makes it relatively steep. If your family enjoys hiking and is up for it, this hike has excellent views and a completely exposed summit. If you are hiking with kids, keep an eye on a few steep areas with dropoffs. There is also a little scrambling to get up the second summit.
See more about hiking the Welch-Dickey Loop Trail.
Lost River Gorge and Boulder Caves
Distance: 1 mile Difficulty: easy Elevation: 1,000 steps
Similar to the Flume, the Lost River Gorge and Boulder Caves is a series of waterfalls and caves near North Woodstock, NH. With a mile of boardwalk, this is a very easy place to hike with excellent facilities. Book your tickets online in advance and you can learn more about visiting this area on their website: Lost River Gorge.
Distance: 3.7 miles Difficulty: Moderate Elevation: 1,000 feet
This is a classic and very popular hike in Southern NH and is definitely one of the best easy hikes in the White Mountains. There are several ways to do this hike as a loop and we’ve done them all in every season. The trail offers great slab walking and a summit with views out over Lake Winnipesaukee and the Belnap Mountains. Be aware that the parking lot often fills up early in the mornings and you will find cars lined up down the street. Go very early, late in the afternoon or in the off-season. This is one of our favorite winter hikes as well, just make sure to have a good pair of microspikes.
See more about hiking Mount Major.
One Last Excellent Easy Hike in the White Mountains:
There are so many amazing hikes in New Hampshire, but these are some of our favorite easy hikes in the White Mountains. Did we miss one of our favorites? Leave a comment and share you favorite easy hike in the White Mountains.