HIKING TRAILS OF NORTH CONWAY, NH


summit of Middle Sister near Mt. Chocorua Glen Ellis Falls Cathedral Ledge

Welcome to the Newenglandwaterfalls.com guide to the best hiking trails within close proximity of North Conway, New Hampshire!

North Conway is one of the finest hiking base towns in the United States. There are literally 1,500 miles of trails within 90 minutes of the town. But which trails close to town are the best? We've put together this online guide so that you can quickly and easily review and select a hike that's perfect for you or your group.

If you are looking for detailed information on hiking in or around North Conway, I highly recommend picking up a copy of the latest edition of the most trusted hiking guidebook the hiking in this area: The AMC White Mountain Guide. This guidebook offers detailed instructions and maps to all of the trails listed below.




TRAIL / HIKING AREA
TRAILHEAD
(Town/City)
OVERALL
RATING
TOTAL MILEAGE DIFFICULTY DESCRIPTION / NOTES TRAIL
GUIDE
BLACK CAP MOUNTAIN Hurricane Mountain Road
(Intervale)
Good 2.4
miles
Easy / Moderate although views are slowly dimishing due to tree and vegetation growth, there are still some nice views (and low-bush blueberries, in season) to be found on this family-friendly and relatively easy uphill hike AMC Guide
BOULDER LOOP TRAIL Dugway Road off the Kancamagus Highway
(NH 112)
Excellent 3.1 mile
loop
Moderate this is the best easy loop hike on the Kancamagus Highway; several viewpoints along the way AMC Guide
CHAMPNEY FALLS Kancamagus Highway
(NH 112)
Great 3.4 miles round-trip Moderate scenic waterfall on the northern slopes of Mt. Chocorua; visit in May or after heavy rains as the waterfall is seasonal and is often dry during the summer and fall AMC Guide
DIANA'S BATHS Diana's Bath trailhead on West Side Road
(North Conway)
Excellent 1.2 miles round-trip Easy an extremely popular and enjoyable set of waterfalls and swimming holes AMC Guide
ECHO LAKE STATE PARK & CATHEDRAL LEDGE off West Side Road
(North Conway)
Great up to 4 miles Easy to Moderate walk the easy trails around Echo Lake and/or hike the steep and challenging trails up to the viewpoint atop Cathedral Ledge; see trail map here: AMC Guide
GLEN ELLIS FALLS NH 16
(Jackson)
Outstanding 0.8 miles round-trip Easy beautiful 64-foot plunge in Pinkham Notch off NH 16; there are stairs that bring you down to the base of the falls that can be very slippery when wet or icy, so be careful AMC Guide
HEDGEHOG MOUNTAIN Kancamagus Highway
(NH 112)
Great 4.8 mile
loop
Moderate this moderate loop is one of the most popular hikes off the Kancamagus Highway; this mountain is part of the extremely fun NH 52 With-A-View hiking list. AMC Guide
IRON MOUNTAIN / SOUTH CLIFFS Iron Mountain Road
(Jackson)
Great 3.2 miles round-trip Moderate enjoy the views from the trailhead and also the southern cliffs a short distance beyond the summit of Iron Mountain; this mountain is part of the extremely fun NH 52 With-A-View hiking list. AMC Guide
KEARSARGE NORTH Hurricane Mountain Road
(Intervale)
Excellent 6.2 miles round-trip Difficult gorgeous views of the eastern White Mountains from the empty but enclosed fire-tower on the top; ledges on this trail can be difficult when icy or wet; one of the finest 1/2 day hikes in the White Mountains; trailhead is plowed in winter, so this is a great 4-season hike (once the snow base is deep enough, it is an awesome snowshoe trip); this mountain is part of the extremely fun NH 52 With-A-View hiking list. AMC Guide
MADISON BOULDER Boulder Road
(Madison)
Good < 1.0 mile round-trip Easy take a short walk along Boulder Road in the town of Madison and visit the largest glacial erratic/boulder in New England; you used to be able to drive right up to the boulder, but the state closed the road (permanently?) in 2015 AMC Guide
MIDDLE MOUNTAIN Thompson Road,
(North Conway)
Good 5.0 miles round-trip Moderate one of two peaks close to downtown North Conway that offer solid views; you can easily combine this with a trip to Peaked Mountain as well (adds about 0.8 mile round-trip if you take the Middle Mountain Connector trail) AMC Guide
MOAT MOUNTAIN TRAVERSE Diana's Bath trailhead on West Side Road
(North Conway)
Outstanding 9.7 miles one-way Difficult using two cars (one parked at the Diana's Baths trailhead in North Conway and the other parked at the Dugway Road trailhead in Conway), hike across all three fantastic peaks of the Moats; outstanding views from several points along the trail AMC Guide
MOUNTAIN DIVISION TRAIL US 302 Good 8.0 miles Easy walk, inline skating, bike, cross-country ski, or snowshoe this paved rail trail in Fryeburg, Maine; this trail will eventually span 52 miles from Fryeburg to Portland  
MOUNT CHOCORUA-Middle Sister Loop short dirt road off NH 16 (Albany) Outstanding 9.5 mile loop Difficult a trip that visits both Middle Sister and Mount Chocorua is one of the most challenging but rewarding loop hikes in the White Mountains; here is the loop: Piper Trail > Nickerson Ledge Trail > Carter Ledge Trail > Middle Sister > Middle Sister Trail > Piper Trail > Mt. Chocorua > Liberty Trail > Hammond Trail > Weetamoo Trail > Piper Trail > done; this mountain is part of the extremely fun NH 52 With-A-View hiking list. AMC Guide
MOUNT CHOCORUA-Brook Trail / Liberty Trail Loop Paugus Road
(Tamworth)
Outstanding 7.5 mile loop Difficult this outstanding loop involves some fun scrambling and also a visit to the Jim Liberty Cabin, where you can stay overnight if you wish; this mountain is part of the extremely fun NH 52 With-A-View hiking list. AMC Guide
MOUNT CHOCORUA-Champney Falls Trail Kancamagus Highway
(NH 112)
Outstanding 7.6 miles round-trip Difficult the Champney Falls Trail > Piper Trail route to the summit of Mt. Chocorua is the easiest route on Mt. Chocorua (although it is not easy by any means); take the spur loop trail to Champney Falls on the way up; this mountain is part of the extremely fun NH 52 With-A-View hiking list. AMC Guide
MOUNT CHOCORUA-Piper Trail Piper Trail Road off NH 16 (Albany) Outstanding 8.6 miles round-trip Difficult this is the standard route up Mt. Chocorua from the eastern side of the mountain; this mountain is part of the extremely fun NH 52 With-A-View hiking list. AMC Guide
NORTH & SOUTH DOUBLEHEAD MOUNTAIN Dundee Road
(Jackson)
Great 4.0 mile
semi-loop
Moderate this steep trail climbs up to visit a historic US Forest Service cabin (which you can rent for overnight use) and also reaches short spur trails to several viewpoints; in winter when conditions permit, backcountry skiers can ski from the cabin nearly all the way back to the trailhead AMC Guide
NORTH MOAT MOUNTAIN Diana's Bath trailhead on West Side Road
(North Conway)
Outstanding 10.2 mile semi-loop Difficult the 360-degree views on this magnificent summit are some of the best in the White Mountains region; don't miss splashing in fun Diana's Baths on the way out; you can also hike the Moats (North, Middle and South peaks) as a 9.7 mile traverse from West Side Road to Dugway Road if you have two vehicles; this mountain is part of the extremely fun NH 52 With-A-View hiking list. AMC Guide
PEAKED MOUNTAIN & MIDDLE MOUNTAIN Thompson Road
(North Conway)
Great 6.3 miles Difficult enjoy several viewpoints on this close to downtown North Conway hike; to get to the summit of Peaked Mountain, take the second trail (the Middle Mountain Connector) to avoid the steepest part of the Peaked Mountain Trail; trail map here AMC Guide
PEAKED MOUNTAIN Thompson Road
(North Conway)
Great 4.4 miles Moderate this is the best quick summit hike near downtown North Conway; to get to the summit, take the second trail (the Middle Mountain Connector) to avoid the steepest part of the Peaked Mountain Trail; trail map here AMC Guide
POTASH MOUNTAIN Kancamagus Highway
(NH 112)
Great 4.0 miles round-trip Moderate this is a great short hike off the Kancamagus Highway that provides great views; this mountain is part of the extremely fun NH 52 With-A-View hiking list. AMC Guide
SABBADAY FALLS West Side Road
(North Conway)
Outstanding 0.6 mile round-trip Easy take the short walk to the best waterfall on the Kancamagus Highway; also visit nearby Lower Falls and Rocky Gorge while in the area (both are near-roadside and have well-marked parking areas) AMC Guide
SOUTH MOAT MOUNTAIN Dugway Road
(Conway)
Excellent 7.8 miles round-trip Difficult enjoy excellent 360-degree views from the open summit of this beautiful mountain; this mountain is part of the extremely fun NH 52 With-A-View hiking list. AMC Guide
THOMPSON FALLS Forest Road 379
(Conway)
Good 4.7 miles Moderate a quiet hike, mostly along the Mineral Site Trail, leads to a picturesque waterfall that sees few visitors AMC Guide

summit of Middle Sister near Mt. Chocorua
summit of Middle Sister near Mt. Chocorua

TIPS FOR HIKING IN THE NORTH CONWAY AREA



1. GUIDEBOOKS - Buy the AMC White Mountain Guide guidebook and actually read each relevant chapter before you hike each trail. Doing this will ensure that you don't miss any of the best viewpoints and are aware (upfront) of any potential challenges on the trails.
2. CARRY THE ESSENTIALS -
make sure you carry the following items on each hike: (a) map/guidebook; (b) sunscreen; (c) appropriate clothing; (d) a headlamp or flashlight; (e) first-aid supplies; (f) firestarter or matches; (g) knife; (h) food; and (i) water.
3. USE TREKKING POLES -
Save your knees so that you can still hike when you are in your 70's (tip: use trekking poles 100% of the time).
4. BEWARE OF VEHICLE BREAK-INS - Don't leave anything valuable in your car. Break-ins do occur at traiheads from time to time.
5. BRING $3 CASH FOR PARKING - many trailheads in the White Mountain National Forest require a parking pass. Bring $3 in cash and fill out the parking permit at the self-serve kiosk at these trailheads. If you don't see such a kiosk, there is no fee to park.
6. CARRY APPROPRIATE FOOD -
Carry the appropriate type and amount of food based on the season you are hiking in (some foods will melt in summer, and some foods become rock-solid in winter) and the length of your hike.
7. GET SOME ELECTROLYTES - Bring some Gatorade (or something similar) to get some electrolytes into your system. This is especially important on hot and humid days.
8. MEETUP.COM - If you are short on hiking partners, consider joining a Meetup hiking group (there are several groups and they always have good hikes planned) or ask for partners on a local Facebook hiking 'group'. Once you attend a few of these social hikes, you will likely make enough connections to hike with a few select people that you bond with.
9. BUGS - Bugs can be a real nuisance in this region from mid-May through early July, although some days they are there, some days they are not. You'll probably want to bring some DEET spray with you.
10. CATCH A SUNRISE OR SUNSET - Catch a sunset or sunrise from a scenic vista (bring at least one headlamp to help you get back to your vehicle safely).
11. BRING A REAL CAMERA - Don't forget your camera, and remember to label the pictures after you are done with each hike (you'll want to capture these moments). I recommend that you bring a real point-and-shoot or DSLR camera instead of taking pictures with your smart-phone. The reason is because the camera resolution on your smart-phone will not look good on tablet and computer monitors 10 or 20 years from now. Photos from smart-phones generally don't print or enlarge very well, either.
12. WINTER SEASON - trails are generally snow and ice free in the North Conway area from mid-May through early-to-mid October.

Sabbaday Falls off the Kancamagus Highway (NH 112)
Sabbaday Falls off the Kancamagus Highway (NH 112)

TOP EASY TRAILS IN THE NORTH CONWAY AREA



Here are my selections for the top easy trails in the North Conway area:
  • Echo Lake State Park
  • Diana's Baths
  • Madison Boulder
  • Sabbaday Falls
  • Glen Ellis Falls
firetower atop Kearsarge North, Intervale
firetower atop Kearsarge North, Intervale

TOP MODERATE TRAILS IN THE NORTH CONWAY AREA



Here are my selections for the top moderate trails in the North Conway area:
  • Boulder Loop Trail
  • Peaked Mountain
  • Middle Mountain
  • Iron Mountain / South Cliffs
  • Champney Falls
  • Hedgehog Mountain
  • Potash Mountain
South Moat Mountain, Conway
South Moat Mountain, Conway

TOP DIFFICULT TRAILS IN THE NORTH CONWAY AREA



Here are my selections for the top difficult trails in the North Conway area:
  • Mt. Chocorua
  • Middle Sister
  • Kearsarge North
  • North & South Doublehead
  • North Moat Mountain
  • South Moat Mountain
Glen Ellis Falls, Jackson
Glen Ellis Falls, Jackson

MORE GREAT TRAILS A BIT FURTHER AWAY



If you are willing to drive a little bit further, there are many more excellent hikes within an hour of North Conway.
  • Arethusa Falls
  • Flat Mountain Pond
  • Greeley Ponds
  • Lowe's Bald Spot
  • Mt. Carrigain
  • Mt. Crawford
  • Mt. Pierce
  • Mt. Washington
  • Mt. Whiteface
  • Mt. Willard
  • Nancy Cascades
  • Ripley Falls
  • Sawyer Pond
North Moat Mountain, North Conway
North Moat Mountain, North Conway

Boulder Loop Trail, Kancamagus Highway (NH 112)
Boulder Loop Trail, Kancamagus Highway (NH 112)

Diana's Bath, North Conway
Diana's Bath, North Conway

Cathedral Ledge, North Conway
Cathedral Ledge, North Conway

Madison Boulder, Madison
Madison Boulder, Madison

Jim Liberty Cabin on Mt. Chocorua
Jim Liberty Cabin on Mt. Chocorua

HELPFUL LINKS



Here are some helpful links for those exploring the North Conway area:
  • Top 25 Attractions of North Conway = link
  • Top 25 Attractions of Lincoln & Woodstock = link
  • Top 25 Hikes in the White Mountains = link
  • Guide to the White Mountains = link
  • Guide to the NH 4000 Footers = link

HIKING GUIDEBOOK



The following guidebook is the most trusted resource to finding and leading you to great hikes in the North Conway area. Click on the book to read reviews and/or to purchase it on Amazon.com. I personally own (and have loved) several editions of this guidebook.




AMC White Mountain Guide

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