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Best Backpacking In New Hampshire

Our comprehensive guide to the best backpacking you can find in New Hampshire.

Presidential Range

Spectacular, challenging, overwhelming: Adjectives fail to capture the magnificence of the King Ravine Trail. It leaves Lowes Path and forges upward to jumbled boulders, gushing waters, and blow-you-away views among New Hampshire’s highest peaks. A bit farther, a section called the Subway turns the trail into a belly-crawling obstacle course. In good weather, surefooted hikers can hug the cliff faces of the Chemins de Dames and return via the knife-edge Air Line Trail.

Contact: White Mountain National Forest, (603) 528-8721; www.fs.fed.us/r9/white.

Appalachian Trail

A great crescent of alpine exposure, this premier AT traverse ticks off 5,000-foot peaks in a review of American history. Washington, Jefferson, Adams, Madison, and five others will test your constitution with the longest above-treeline ridge and worst weather east of the Rockies. Prime time is late summer and fall—go midweek to avoid crowds.

Contact: Appalachian Trail Conference, 304-535-6331; www.atconf.org.

Pemigewasset Wilderness

Less popular than the AT through the White Mountains, the North Twin, Twinway, and Bondcliff Trails offer five peaks above 4,000 feet, plus a mile of exhilarating ridge walking. Stay up high, or descend to various deep-woods paths in the vast, roadless “Pemi.” Either way, you’ll discover country that’s remote and wicked wild.

Contact: White Mountain National Forest, (603) 528-8721; www.fs.fed.us/r9/white.