After a general hiatus from most hiking activities in the winter, we really look forward to spring hikes in New Hampshire!
Sometimes spring can take a while to arrive in the Boston area, with random snowfalls or flurries that can continue well into April. Once the temperatures stay consistently above freezing and the snow begins to melt, we are once again eager to begin our hiking adventures in New Hampshire.
Though it may be considerably warmer in spring, cooler temperatures and rain are likely. During this time, micro-spikes are your best friend, as well as numerous layers and warm socks. It's important to have the proper equipment and be prepared for spring hikes in New England!
New Hampshire offers plenty of options for beginner, intermediate, or advanced hiking. After seven years of living in the Boston area, we haven't even scratched the surface of all the great hiking spots right near us, but we've definitely done a lot of them.
With that said, here are the four trails perfect for spring hikes in New Hampshire. These are the trails we visit again and again to get us back in the habit of hiking after winter. You'll be refreshed and recharged for the summer ahead!
The trails here are listed in order of difficulty based on personal experience. Some trails can be steep, but short, while others are longer and more gradual. Big thanks to Dylan for helping me out with the names of the trails that we typically use!
Ready to spend a Saturday hiking in New Hampshire? Let's get to the list!
Great Spring Hiking Spots in New Hampshire
Spring Hike #1: Mount Cardigan (Easy)
Mount Cardigan is a relatively easy trail that you can also combine with Mount Firescrew. At 3,121 feet and with no trees at the summit, you can see the views of New Hampshire, Vermont, and Maine from the summit on a clear day. This is one of the easiest spring hikes in New Hampshire and one we tend to hike once a year.
We typically hike Mount Cardigan via the Holt/Clark trail, then over to Mount Firescrew via the Mowgli/Manning Trail. It's a loop that will bring you right back to where you started.
Total Mileage: 5 miles
Elevation Gain: 1900 feet
More information on Mount Cardigan can be found here.
Spring Hike #2: Mount Monadnock (Steep, But Still Easy)
While the false summit can quickly give you "false hope" for your efforts, this 3,166 foot mountain is well worth the climb. As the highest point in the area of Jaffrey, NH, you can see clearly for miles. The top of the mountain is completely bald, so you have nothing blocking that view. It's very steep, but you get up to the top that much quicker!
We enjoy hiking Mount Monadnock in all seasons - even winter! We've also hiked to the top for the sunrise in the fall. But when the snow melts and the flowers appear once more, Monadnock is one of my favorite spring hikes in New Hampshire.
We typically hike Mount Monadnock in a loop trail as well, via the White Cross and White Dot trails.
Total Mileage: 3.7 miles
Elevation Gain: 1800 feet
More information on Mount Monadnock can be found here.
Spring Hike #3: Mount Moosilauke (Gradual, But Long)
Another one of our favorite spring hikes in New Hampshire is Mount Moosilauke. It also has more of those majestic 360 degree views at its bald summit. While this one has a significantly higher elevation gain, it's still comfortably manageable. The trail is gradual and not very steep, making for an easier hike. You'll have great views of the White Mountains at the top!
One summer, Dylan did a sunset hike to Moosilauke and saw a moose on the road. A moose! At Mount Moosilauke!
We typically hike Moosilauke in another loop via the Gorge Brook Trail, Carriage Road, and Snapper Trail.
Total Mileage: 7.2 miles
Elevation Gain: 2500 feet
More information on Mount Moosilauke can be found here.
Spring Hike #4: Mount Chocorua
(Gradual, but Steep At The End!)
Another excellent bald top summit, Mount Chocorua sits at 3,478 feet with a bit of a longer trail to the top. This one is the most challenging spring hikes in New Hampshire, especially due to the last push when you reach the true summit in the photo above. With lush forests to stroll through, the trail is considerably rocky. The scramble to the top at the end is the best part!
Chocorua is an out & back trail that we typically do via Champney Falls Trail. Don't forget to stop and see the falls along the way!
Total Mileage: 6.6 miles
Elevation Gain: 2200 feet
More information on Mount Chocorua can be found here.
Looking for more New England travel guides?
Check out my guide to Witch City - Salem, Massachusetts in all seasons.
Learn more about visiting New England's national park - Acadia, in Maine.
Discover our favorite secret spots for leaf peeping in New Hampshire during the fall.
These four trails are usually our go-to's for spring hikes in New Hampshire when the weather finally warms up. Sometimes we can have small amounts of snow or ice on the trails, so it is best to be prepared.
By starting with these treks, our legs get back into the business of hiking for summer. It can even help to prep for bigger treks like the Inca Trail in Peru - one of our favorite hikes to date! Read more about our experience here.
Happy spring hiking, everyone!