Craggy peaks and vertigo-inducing trails help the White Mountains live up to the hype. But a road and a railway to Mt. Washington’s summit, combined with national acclaim (yes, we’ve contributed), have made many of the area’s trails more like conga lines. You’ll have trouble finding trailhead parking during peak season, but take heart: Intercity buses drop hikers near the 17.7-mile Carter-Moriah Trail, which delivers on views and solitude.
Turn-by-turn From the Appalachian trailhead on Bangor Street in Gorham, climb 3,300 feet over 3.8 miles to 4,049-foot Mt. Moriah. Continue south on the Appalachian/Carter-Moriah Trail to the Imp Campsite at mile 5.9 ($10/night; first-come, first-serve). Next morning, top off water and set out on a dry, roller-coaster ridge where views open west to the Presidential Range. Drop down to the pond and lodge (sweets shop here) at Carter Notch at mile 12.9 before traversing Wildcat Mountain. Descend to Pinkham Notch to recuperate in the Appalachian Mountain Club’s Joe Dodge Lodge ($76/person; meals included). Next morning, catch the Concord Coach Lines (8:07 a.m. departure) in the parking lot back to Boston.
Get there From South Station in Boston, take the Concord to Gorham ($34, 4 hrs 15 mins; daily departures at 4:15 p.m.). Stay in Hiker’s Paradise Hostel ($24/night) and, next morning, take a complimentary shuttle to the trailhead, 1.8 miles way.
Additional options In summer, the AMC operates a shuttle (starting at $19; bit.do/AMCshuttle), opening up more possibilities for one-way treks along the AT.