Editor’s note: This article was originally published in 2019. As we enter the summer of 2020, each state in New England has its own set of parameters regarding visitors within its borders. Before making plans, please be sure to visit the following web sites, with information regarding quarantine and other possible limitations required of your plans.
New Hampshire: www.visitnh.gov/covid19
Rhode Island: www.reopeningri.com
With accessibility and amenities, ski resorts are terrific options for family-friendly hikes during the warmer months.
Sugarloaf is one of four 4,000 foot peaks in the Carrabassett Valley region, and with plenty of gentle trails through the foothills, there’s something for every hiker. The Outpost Adventure Center is Sugarloaf’s hub of summer fun. Diversions are plentiful — scenic chairlift rides, zipline adventures, Segway tours, disc golf and boat rentals — but the Outpost staff also can provide insight and information on specific hiking routes.
When the snow melts away from Sunday River’s eight peaks, there are myriad hiking trails up and around the mountains. Sunday River doesn’t mind you hiking on the ski trails. There are several easy to moderate routes that bring you up to the ridgeline with sweeping views of the White Mountains over in New Hampshire and the rest of the Mahoosuc Range to the west and east.
For a short fairly steep hike, head right up Lollapalooza — a green circle in the winter but a hike that will get your heart pounding in the summer. The Three Mile/Jungle Road hike will take you up and over Barker, Locke and White Cap peaks. You’ll have to hike a bit to even get there, as it starts at the North Peak Lodge up on the mountain.
Farther north, Saddleback has some grand hiking that will reward you with views of the western Maine wilderness. You can reach the 4,041-foot peak of Saddleback on the AT as it makes its way north to Katahdin. There are two peaks fairly close to each other — the summit of Saddleback ski area and the 4,023-foot The Horn. There are sweeping views from both The Horn and Saddleback, which are about a mile and a half apart. From both, you can see the lakes dotting the landscape below.
Here are 10 more hassle-free hikes in the north country.
Elmore Mountain, Elmore, Vt. | This clockwise ridge-top loop to Elmore Mountain stretches across 3.2 miles and along the way offers open ledge views, boulder caves, a balancing rock and a five-story fire tower that is open for climbing.
Tumbledown Mountain, Franklin County, Maine | In western Maine’s Weld Village, Tumbledown Mountain is a popular hike due to its unique geographic features. The mountain has three peaks, the highest rising to 3,068 feet, as well as the high-elevation Tumbledown Pond on its eastern slope and 700-foot cliffs along the northern side of Byron Notch.
Lonesome Lake, Lincoln, N.H. | From the south parking lot of Lafayette Place Campground in Franconia Notch State Park, the well-marked Lonesome Lake Trail ascends 1.6 miles — including parts of Cannon Mountain — before reaching the glacial lake, where superb views open up to the Franconia Ridge.
Pack Monadnock, Peterborough, N.H. | This popular and rewarding ascent to the 2,290-foot summit of Pack Monadnock is accessible from Miller State Park, New Hampshire’s oldest state park. When you reach the peak, you’ll be rewarded with views of Mount Monadnock, Mount Kearsarge, Mount Cardigan, Mount Watatic, Mount Wachusett and the Boston skyline, with Mount Washington coming into view on super clear days.
Cadillac Mountain Summit Path, Acadia National Park Maine | Cadillac Mountain, the tallest in Acadia National Park on Mount Desert Island, also can be the easiest to summit. At just 1,530 feet above sea level and accessible by car, it is the highest point along the North Atlantic seaboard and as such offers spectacular panoramic views. On exceptionally clear days, it is possible to see Mount Katahdin and the Canadian province of Nova Scotia.
Arethusa Falls, Crawford Notch, N.H. | This is a moderately difficult family hike that will reward your hard summer efforts with a breathtakingly cool blast courtesy of Arethusa Falls. Known widely as one of New Hampshire’s most scenic falls — and there are a lot of those — this, the state’s second tallest waterfall, originates from the headwaters of Bemis Brook that eventually tumble over a granite cliff on the western slope of Crawford Notch.
Mount Philo, Charlotte, Vt. | Accessible via a well-maintained, paved road or hiking trails less than a mile in length, the 968-foot summit atop Vermont’s first state park (Mount Philo State Park was established in 1924) provides sweeping views of the Green Mountains, Adirondack Mountains and Lake Champlain Valley.
Mount Kearsarge, Wilmot, N.H. | A forest fire in the 1970s cleared the summit of Mount Kearsarge at 2,937 feet, so the climb to the top today presents spectacular views from the open, bare rock out to the White Mountains and Mount Cardigan in the north, the Green Mountains and Mount Sunapee in the west and the Monadnock Region and the Merrimack Valley in the south.
Lye Brook Falls, Manchester, Vt. | The Lye Brook Falls Trail runs for two miles through the thick of the Lye Brook Wilderness of the Green Mountain National Forest. Hikers will find a challenging climb along the old logging railroad bed up a gradual slope that parallels Lye Brook.
Zealand Falls, Zealand Notch, N.H. | Ideal as a day hike for all ages and abilities, the Zealand Trail takes you on a relatively easy 2.8-mile trail through Zealand Notch to the Zealand Falls Hut. The outlook rewards you with amazing views of Zealand Notch and the eastern part of the Pemigewasset Wilderness.