Do you need to burn off some candy calories? Or maybe you want to take in the fall foliage on foot but don’t have much time? There are thousands of miles of hiking trails through New Hampshire’s White Mountain region, but here are a few local short hikes to get your blood pumping.
PRKR MTN Trails
PRKR MTN Trails is a community-driven 22-mile trail network in the heart of Littleton. Open to hiking, mountain biking, cross-country skiing, and more, PRKR MTN trails are a mix of single- and double-track winding through the woods and up to the 1,905-foot summit of Parker Mountain. The trails are maintained by local volunteers and are open year-round. The views from the summit, known as Linda's Lookout, are absolutely stunning.
Named the best “locals-only hiking trail” by Best of NH in 2015, the Kilburn Crags Trail is a pleasant 1.4-mile roundtrip hike on the northeastern shoulder of Walker Mountain. Standing at 1,300 feet, The Crags offers incredible views of the Presidential Range, Ammonoosuc River Valley, and more despite its small stature. The trail is beginner-friendly, dog-friendly and open year-round.
The Mount Agassiz Trailhead is on Rt. 142 in Bethlehem, 1.1 miles south of Rt. 302. There is a small parking area on the left just before 577 Agassiz St. Follow the paved road (no motor vehicles permitted) to the privately owned summit which is also the location of an observatory built at the site of an old fire tower. The easy 1.6 miles out and back is well worth the views of the Presidential Range from the top.
Pine Hill Trails
Pine Hill Trails is a bit of a local secret, but we’re going to spill the (jelly) beans. The trailhead is located on Pine Hill Road near Remich Park, so it’s within walking distance of Main Street. The trail is connected to PRKR MTN and is only a mile roundtrip making it a great hiking trail for people of all ages and abilities. Pine Hill Trail leads you across the ridge of a hill past huge glacial boulders that are common in the White Mountains. The 1,100-foot “summit” is marked by Pine Hill “Summit Boulder.”
Ammonoosuc Rail Trail
The 19.2-mile Ammonoosuc Rail Trail is a multi-use gravel trail that runs along the Ammonoosuc River from downtown Littleton to Woodsville. Lace up your walking shoes or hop on a bike and enjoy a few or a lot of miles on the rail trail. Over the course of the trail, you’ll experience shaded forests, farmlands, rail trestles and more.
The Rocks is a 1,267 acre Forest Society reservation in Bethlehem. Famous for its Christmas trees, the historic estate is home to several hiking trails. The Christmas Tree Trail meanders through The Rocks Christmas trees plantation and wetland habitats. The Michael A. Gozzo Trail is the longest trail at 4.6 miles and leads hikers through various ecosystems. Please note that The Rocks' trails, fields, and parking lots are currently closed to the public due to construction work at the Carriage Barn, except for special events and programs. Forest Society North is a multi-year restoration and renovation project at The Rocks that started in 2020 and that we will complete by fall 2023. Save the date for the grand re-opening on Saturday, September 23!
Bretzfelder Memorial Park
Stretch your legs on a nice walk through the woods at Bretzfelder Memorial Park. From Route 302 in Bethlehem, travel down Prospect Street for about 1 mile to reach the parking lot. You'll explore a pond, ancient pine trees, educational signs and more on several trails that loop through the park.
Nubble Mountain Trail
Located in the charming nearby mountain town of Bethlehem, Nubble Mountain Trail is a 2.6-mile out-and-back trail through the forest to the summit of Nubble Mountain. The trail can be muddy after recent rain and is not well known, so it’s a bit more wild than other trails in the area. The summit offers stunning 360-degree views of the surrounding mountains.
Enjoy a short nature walk through The Dells Pond trail system with multiple picnic tables and grills. The park is open year round, so you can also enjoy cross-country skiing or snowmobiling in the winter months. There are two parking areas for the Littleton trails: a Northern and Southern lot.
The Flume Gorge Trail
The Flume Gorge in Franconia Notch State Park is one of New Hampshire’s most popular attractions. A walk through the Gorge will leave you awestruck. The Flume Gorge Trail is a one-way 2.2-mile loop trail through the Gorge surrounded by 90-foot granite walls. The trail is made of wooden boardwalks and includes lots of uphill and stairs but is otherwise an easy hike for people of all ages.
Artist Bluff Trail
Artists’ Bluff overlooking Echo Lake and Cannon Mountain is one of the most picturesque locations in the western White Mountains. For centuries, artists and travelers have hiked the small mountain to draw, paint, or photograph the incredible views. The trail is only 1.5 miles long and steep at times but well worth the effort.
Basin Cascade Trail
Located in Franconia Notch State Park, Basin Cascade Trail is the perfect family-friendly hike to experience the New Hampshire’s most popular state park. The trail is partially paved and is 2.6 miles roundtrip. The scenic trail follows along the Cascade Brook with views of multiple waterfalls. On a hot summer day when the water is low, there are many pools to stick your feet in while eating a picnic lunch.
Lace Up Your Hiking Boots
There are a ton of awesome hiking trails near Littleton, and many locals are happy to give you directions to their favorite spots, but please remember to be respectful to the trails. That means “leave no trace” and carry out your trash and any pet waste. Once you’re done with your adventures, make sure you stop by Main Street and refuel at the many eateries downtown.