Winter is officially here in the Western White Mountains and we’re ready to play. Our ski resorts are open and so is our extensive trail network for cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, hiking, and fat biking. Bundle up and hit the trails for some winter outdoor fun.
The Glades at Loon Mountain and Cannon Mountain
If you’re looking for some backcountry skiing within a resort, both Loon Mountain and Cannon Mountain have you covered with their ski glades. The 3,050-foot North Peak at Loon Mountain offers some excellent off-the-beaten-path glades and trails, such as the Walking Boss Woods. Cannon Mountain, the highest ski area summit in New Hampshire, offers lots of great glad options, especially near the Base lift and Mittersill. Make sure you check the snow conditions as most of the glades only open after a dumping. Cross your fingers for a good winter!
Lincoln Woods Trail
Nestled along the banks of the east branch of the Pemigewasset River in the White Mountain National Forest, the Lincoln Woods Trailhead is a popular beginner-friendly trail for hikers, snowshoers, cross-country skiers, and fat bikers. The trail once belonged to the 72-mile East Branch and Lincoln Railroad built in 1894, so the trail is nice, wide, and relatively flat. Lincoln Woods Trail is part of a larger 9.8-mile trail system that includes other trails such as the Franconia Brook Trail, the Wilderness Trail, and more. One of the best features of the Lincoln Woods Trail is the suspension bridge that spans the Pemigewasset River. Don’t forget to snap a photo for Instagram!
Georgiana and Harvard Falls Trail
Featuring a frozen waterfall during the winter months, the Georgiana and Harvard Falls Trail is a moderate 1.6-mile out and back trail that is great for hiking (with spikes) or snowshoeing. The trail is not marked well, so be careful after a recent snowfall, but the locals will often pack it down and you can follow the footprints uphill.
Mount Pemigewasset Trail
Mount Pemigewasset, also known as Indian Head, is a 2,557-foot mountain in Lincoln and offers incredible views from the open summit. Located near the Flume Visitor Center, the Mount Pemigewasset Trailhead is well marked. The 1.5-mile hike is relatively easy with a few steeper parts. It’s a great hike for snowshoeing to take in the views on a bluebird day of the surrounding White Mountains.
Greeley Ponds Trails
Located off the famous Kancamagus Highway, the Greeley Ponds Trail is a 7.1-mile out and back trail system that is excellent for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing during the winter months. The Greely Ponds are actually located in Waterville Valley and feed the Mad River and there is trail access from Waterville Valley via Livermore Road. But, from the Kancamagus Highway side, the hardwood forest trail leads to two beautiful mountain ponds that will be likely frozen and covered with snow during the colder months. The trail can be rocky so make sure there is enough snow covering for cross-country skiing or take your old beater skis.
For even more information on backcountry ski trails in the White Mountains, visit the Granite Backcountry Alliance website. The non-profit organization was established to advance the sport of backcountry skiing in New Hampshire and Western Maine and to create and improve ski glades, such as the Cooley-Jericho Glade in the Franconia region. Newly developed in 2019, the Cooley-Jericho Community Forest, also known as Cool J Glade, comprises 840 acres in Franconia, Sugar Hill, Easton, and Landaff. The four glade lines range from 400 to over 800 feet with lots of drops and stunning views of Mount Lafayette.
Visit the Western White Mountains This Winter
The Western White Mountains are ready to be explored. Whether you choose to stick to the ski resorts or head into the White Mountain National Forest for some backcountry fun, make sure you stay safe with Granite State Safe.
For state-wide information, head to VisitNH.gov