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Guide to the NH 48 – 4000 Footers: Hike the Whites!

Are you looking for information on hiking the epic list of the NH 4000 footers?

Every year, many hikers head out on the trail working on their list challenge of the NH 48 – all the summits over 4000 feet in New Hampshite. This impressive, and challenging, list of mountains will take you to the tallest and some of the best hikes in NH.

The Appalachian Mountain Club officially acknowledges New Hampshire’s 48 4000-foot peaks, and the challenge comes with straightforward guidelines: ascend and descend each peak on foot. You can even tackle multiple peaks in a single expedition, and it all relies on your personal integrity.

Upon conquering all 48 peaks, you can seek recognition from the AMC, which will grant you a hiker achievement patch and an invitation to their annual awards banquet.

The comprehensive list of New Hampshire’s 48 peaks, each accompanied by its respective difficulty level, is provided below. Please bear in mind that the term “easy” is subjective when discussing 4000-footers. Hiking in New Hampshire is NOT easy and most routes are steep with uneven footing.

We are New Hampshire locals who hike consistently in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. We are currently working on hiking this list as a family and will share everything you need for planning to tackle your own list!

Looking for an easier hiking challenge in NH with equally good views? Check out the hiking challenge 52 with a View.

As an Amazon Affiliate I may recieve compensation from purchases make through links on this page.

Hadley taking in the View hiking Osceola working on her NH 48- 4000 footers
Hadley taking in the View hiking Osceola working on her NH 48- 4000 footers

List of the 48 NH 4000 footers (from tallest to shortest)

Here is a list of all the 4000 footers in NH with the elevation of the mountain and the average difficulty. Note that these difficulties are relative. None of these hikes are truly ‘easy.’ The elevation refers to the height of the summit – not the elevation gain of the hike!

We’ve hiked many of these peaks – click on the links to see the summits we’ve written about here at Chasing ADVNTR.

PeakElevation (feet)Difficulty
South Twin4,902Challenging
Carter Dome4,832Challenging
North Twin4,761Challenging
Middle Carter4,610Challenging
West Bond4,540Challenging
South Carter4,430Challenging
Wildcat A4,422Medium
South Kinsman4,358Challenging
South Hancock4,319Medium
North Kinsman4,293Challenging
North Tripyramid4,140Challenging
East Osceola4,156Easy
Middle Tripyramid4,140Challenging
Wildcat D4,070Medium
Owl’s Head4,025Challenging

History of the NH 48 – 4000 Footers

The history of New Hampshire’s 4000-footers is steeped in the adventurous spirit of hikers seeking to conquer these iconic peaks. As the pursuit gained popularity, it was aptly described by AMC’s Four Thousand Footer Committee Chairman, William B. Curtis, who said, “It is a somewhat remarkable characteristic of the human animal that he will take a natural feature, in this case, mountain peaks, and strive to reach them all, simply because they are there.”

This ambitious endeavor took root in the early 1950s, and since then, these rugged summits have drawn outdoor enthusiasts from far and wide, becoming a celebrated challenge that encapsulates the essence of the White Mountains and the hiker’s indomitable spirit.

Hadley and Freja coming down from Tecumseh: NH 4000 footers

Criteria for the NH 4000 Footers

So what makes a 4000 footer a 4000 footer? There are some criteria to this system and there have been some slight changes over the years to the list.

Elevation: Each peak must have an elevation of at least 4,000 feet (1,219 meters) above sea level to be considered one of the NH 48.

Prominence: In addition to elevation, some hikers also consider the prominence or topographic prominence of a peak, which is the vertical distance between the summit and the lowest contour line encircling it and no higher summit. Some lists of NH 4000-footers may require a specific prominence threshold, such as 200 feet.

Geographic Location: The peaks must be located in the state of New Hampshire, within the White Mountains or other specific mountain ranges within the state.

How to Hike the 4000 footers in NH

The best part of this list is that all you need to do to get started is – get started. Keep a list of the peaks as you hike them. There are a few ways to do this:

  1. Create a List: Create a comprehensive list of all the 4000-foot peaks in New Hampshire, along with their elevations and, if applicable, their prominence values. You can find such lists online or in guidebooks. Find a simple printable list here.
  2. Record Your Hikes: Maintain a detailed record of each hike you complete in a notebook. Note the date, the peak you hiked, and any additional relevant information such as weather conditions, trailhead, and trail conditions.
  3. Use a Mobile App: Many hikers opt to use mobile apps specifically designed for tracking their progress on peak-bagging lists. Apps like “Peakbagger,” “AllTrails,” or “Gaia GPS” allow you to log your hikes, record GPS tracks, and maintain a digital list of peaks you’ve conquered.
  4. Checklists and Maps: Some hikers use physical checklists or maps where they can mark off the peaks they’ve completed with a pen or sticker. This can be a visually satisfying way to track your progress. See a map version you can scratch off the peaks.

By consistently tracking your hikes and staying organized, you can keep a clear record of your progress on the 4000-footer list while ensuring your safety throughout your hiking journey.

Hadley, Finley and Freja carrying Cali up her first of many NH 48 – 4000 footers

Top Tips for Hiking the NH 4000 footers

Get a NH Hike Safe card: This is important as it provides insurance in case you need to be rescued. New Hampshire charges for rescues, so having this card is really helpful.

Get the AMC White Mountain Guide: This guidebook is a must-have. It provides detailed trail descriptions, time estimates, and maps to help you navigate the trails effectively.

Monitor the weather and trail conditions: Keep a close eye on the weather, and be especially cautious of changing conditions. Thunderstorms can be dangerous, so always stay informed.

Hike multiple mountains in a single trip: Many hikers choose to bag multiple peaks in one expedition. Some common combinations include Wiley, Ford, and Tom; North and South Kinsman; Lafayette and Lincoln; Pierce and Eisenhower; Bondcliff, Bond, and West Bond; Wildcat A and D; Adams and Madison; and Monroe and Washington.

Plan weekend trips: Consider heading out for weekend trips in addition to day trips. September weekends are ideal for beautiful and less crowded hikes.

Frequent post-hike spots: After your hikes, become a regular at your favorite post-hike spots. New Hampshire’s breweries and places like Rek-Lis in Bethlehem are great for socializing with fellow hikers.

Network with fellow hikers: Join active hiking groups like the “Hike the 4,000 Footers of New Hampshire” Facebook group, which boasts a large community of hikers looking for hiking companions and sharing valuable information.

Get recognized by the AMC: While not mandatory, consider applying for recognition from the AMC. You’re now part of the 4000-footer club, and you could even attend their awards ceremony in Exeter. It’s a great way to celebrate your achievements.

NH 4000 footers: Mount Field
NH 4000 footers: Mount Field

Best NH 4000 Footers

While people go about hiking these peaks in different order, or even just selecting some of the top 4,000 footers to explore – below are a few helpful lists for planning your NH 4000 footers hike!

4000 Footers with the Best Views

  1. Mount Washington (6,288 ft): Known for its unparalleled 360-degree views, including the famous summit observatory, it offers breathtaking vistas of the White Mountains.
  2. Mount Lafayette (5,249 ft): Located in the Franconia Ridge, it provides panoramic views of the Pemigewasset Wilderness and beyond.
  3. Mount Adams (5,774 ft): Offers stunning views of the Northern Presidential Range and the vast wilderness of New Hampshire.
  4. Mount Jefferson (5,712 ft): Known for its exposed summit, it offers striking views of the Presidential Range and the Great Gulf.
  5. Mount Moosilauke (4,802 ft): It boasts incredible views of the White Mountains and the Connecticut River Valley.

Good Mountains for Starting the NH 48

  1. Mount Tecumseh (4,003 ft): A relatively moderate hike, ideal for beginners, offering a gentle introduction to the NH 48.
  2. Mount Tom (4,051 ft): Part of the Willey Range, this peak is often chosen by beginners for its manageable trail and stunning views.
  3. Mount Field (4,340 ft): Located in the Crawford Notch, it offers a gradual ascent and is a great starting point.
  4. Mount Osceola (4,340 ft): Part of the Sandwich Range, it provides a pleasant introduction to the 4000-footers.
  5. Mount Hale (4,054 ft): With a shorter trail, it’s an accessible choice for hikers new to the NH 48.

You can see more details about the easiest 48 4000 footers in NH.

Good Mountains for Finishing the NH 48

  1. Mount Washington (6,288 ft): The iconic finish to the NH 48, offering a sense of accomplishment and unbeatable views.
  2. Mount Adams (5,774 ft): A formidable peak that is often chosen for its sense of finality in completing the list.
  3. Mount Jefferson (5,712 ft): The exposed summit provides a fittingly challenging finish for those seeking a sense of achievement.
  4. Mount Madison (5,367 ft): An excellent option for a climactic ending, with views of the Presidentials and the Northern Peaks.
  5. Mount Monroe (5,384 ft): Another peak in the Presidential Range, offering a fitting conclusion to the NH 48.
NH 4000 footers – Garfield

Common Questions about Hiking the 48 NH 4000 Footers

How long does it take to hike all 48 4000 footers?

The time it takes to hike all 48 4000 footers varies widely depending on your hiking experience, fitness level, and hiking pace. Some hikers complete the list in a year or two, while others may take several years.

Are there any specific challenges or considerations when hiking the 48 4000 footers?

Yes, hikers should be prepared for rapidly changing weather conditions, steep and rocky terrain, and challenging trails. Proper gear, navigation skills, and knowledge of the White Mountains’ unique environment are essential for a safe and enjoyable experience.

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