Hiking in New Hampshire is wonderful. No matter where you choose to walk, there are almost always guaranteed to be beautiful views. But with so many large mountains and a wilderness that goes on for miles and miles, hiking in the Granite State can be intimidating. But it doesn’t have to be! These 10 hikes under 5 miles in New Hampshire, will take you to some of the most beautiful hiking spots, making them manageable and enjoyable even for beginners.
1. West Rattlesnake Mountain, Holderness
This easy two-mile hike will give you a view that is picture perfect. Overlooking Squam Lake, the view from the summit is unlike anything else in New Hampshire – for just a short hike!
2. Arethusa Falls, Bartlett
This 3.2 mile hike is moderately tough, but the view of Arethusa falls, the highest single-drop waterfall in New Hampshire, will make it all worth it!
3. Mount Kearsarge, Warner
The shortest route up Mount Kearsarge is just over two miles. This easy hike can be done any time of year, and offers beautiful views of the Sunapee region of New Hampshire.
4. Mount Cardigan, Orange
Mount Cardigan is a great hike because you can change it to fit your needs. The shortest loops are about 3.1 miles, and the most popular hike to the summit is 5.5 miles. The mountain has smooth trails that are popular with inexperienced hikers, and treacherous rock trails that are best left to the pros.
5. The Sweet Trail, Durham
The Sweet Trail is a 4-mile stretch through Crommet Creek Conservation Area in Durham. The trail offers the chance to hike through a New Hampshire marsh teeming with wildlife.
6. Mount Monadnock, Jaffrey
Mount Monadnock is one of the most famous mountains in New Hampshire because it is so popular with climbers. The loop to the summit (called the lollipop loop) is just 4.4 miles, and is fairly easy for a summit trip. On a sunny summer day the rocky summit can become crowded.
7. Welch and Dickey Loop, Thornton
This 4.4-mile loop takes you to two summits in just about three hours. The views from the summits of Dickey Mountain and Welch Mountain look out over Crawford Notch, making this a perfect fall foliage hike.
8. Mount Major, Alton
Mount Major, on the southern side of Lake Winnipesaukee, offers majorly awesome views over the Granite State’s largest lake. The four-mile loop is short, although it’s moderately challenging. This is a popular spot for people who want a New Hampshire hiking experience without driving all the way to the White Mountains.
9. Pitcher Mountain, Stoddard
This short, family friendly hike is just 0.7 miles long. If you’ve got kids in tow, this is a perfect way to introduce the family to hiking. Plus, the blueberry bushes along the way are sure to entice the little ones.
10. Sugarloaf Mountain, Bethlehem
Hiking Sugarloaf Mountain gives you bang for your buck. The mountain offers two sweeping views of the White Mountains – Middle Sugarloaf and North Sugarloaf. To hike to just the middle 2.6 miles round trip, and to hit both is 3.2 miles. The views will leave you feeling as if you’ve walked much further.