By Kelsey Perrett
By Miles Howard
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- 150 Outdoor Getaways including easy day hikes and multi-day backpacking trips
- Diverse Hiking Options from breathtaking seaside walks in Coastal Maine to challenging backcountry treks in the Berkshires
- Find Your Hike: Choose from strategic lists like the best spots for a swim, high-elevation vistas, New England oddities, and hikes with nearby breweries, plus a breakdown of the best hikes for each season
- The Top Outdoor Experiences: Cool off under a cascading waterfall, pick wild blueberries from a meadow, and take in views of endless autumnal foliage. Take a dip in the ocean after scaling the cliffs in Acadia or meander through shorebird habitats in Rhode Island. Visit a replica of Thoreau’s cabin at historic Walden Pond, enjoy a peaceful afternoon on a secluded trail, and marvel at the Boston skyline from afar
- Nearby Fun: Relax after your hike at a local brewery, find a nearby campground, or stop for lunch at a mom n’ pop eatery
- Essential Planning Details: Each hike is described in detail and marked with round-trip distance and hiking time, difficulty, terrain type, elevation gain, and access points
- Maps and Directions: Easy-to-use maps, driving directions to each trailhead, and details on where to park
- Full-color photos throughout
- Expert Advice: Seasoned hikers Miles Howard and Kelsey Perrett reveal their experienced insights, local secrets, and honest opinions of each trail
- Tips and Tools: Advice on gear, first aid, protecting the environment, and getting park passes, plus background information on climate, landscape, and wildlife
New England Hiking Top Experiences
Hit the Trail
Best by Season
Best Spots for a Swim
New England Oddities
NEW ENGLAND HIKING TOP EXPERIENCES
1 Feel the spray from majestic waterfalls.
2 Take in Classic New England views.
3 Spot waterfowl and shorebirds.
4 Admire wildflowers and fall foliage.
5 Watch the sun set.
6 Reach new heights on high-elevation hikes.
7 Wander secluded paths.
8 Reward yourself with tasty local brews.
9 Enjoy ocean breezes.
10 Catch a glimpse of elusive wildlife.
HIT THE TRAIL
Chiaroscuro birch trees. Chuckling streams. Mossy slabs of granite. These are the ancient woodlands that Hawthorne’s characters wandered, the waters that the Abenaki Native Americans charted by canoe, and the mountains on which generations of American peak-baggers have left their sweat, blood, and tears.
These regal yet rugged places are the backbone of New England, largely untouched by the breakneck pace of modern life. The forests are thick with curious sounds, lush colors, and inquisitive furry faces. The trails can get steep enough to leave even the most dedicated athletes longing for an ice bath. The alpine zone—where only the toughest flowers and vegetation can grow—is home to some of the most spectacular sunsets, wind gusts, and thunderstorms in the world.
There’s something for every adventurer in New England—verdant valleys, roller-coaster ridges, crystal cascades, acres of wildflowers, 17th-century villages—and almost all of it is conveniently located within a day’s drive of Boston, the region’s largest city and air hub. Every enclave of New England wilderness offers not only natural beauty, but also the opportunity to experience everyday life in such an arresting place. Here you can chase a good day’s hike with a bowl of lobster stew, a mug of locally brewed dunkelweizen, or a performance by an outdoor puppet circus famous for its civil rights-era activism. And yet, diverse as these amenities are, all of them are grounded by the serenity, rigor, and timeless quality of the New England scenery.
Taking a walk in the woods in New England is both exhilarating and humbling. Hiking here has always been an act of discovery, of sublime wonder, and of hill-or-high water, rain-or-shine grit. You will get wet. Your muscles may feel the mileage and at times, the elevation. But the longer you spend clomping around here and savoring every beguiling sight and sound, the more you’ll begin to feel unstuck from time itself.
This is New England. We wouldn’t have it any other way.
Long Strange Coast
Experience the magic of the northern New England seacoast in two nights and three days.
Start your expedition by admiring the ecological diversity of New Hampshire along the Sweet Trail. From there, head north to Portland, Maine, to explore the city’s renowned food and nightlife circuit and spend the night.
In the morning, take a jaunt over to the city forest and hike to Fore River and Jewell Falls. Then jump on US-1, grab a bite to eat at any of the lobster and clam shacks near Wiscasset, and continue north to Rockport for an afternoon climb up Ragged Mountain. Decamp in nearby Rockland or Belfast for dinner, drinks, and lodging.
Wake up early the next morning, enjoy a nice local breakfast, and make your way to nearby Camden Hills State Park and climb Mount Megunticook for a final ocean vista. If you find yourself pining for the beauty of the seacoast as you begin the journey home, stop by Wells Reserve or Odiorne Point State Park for a lush, meditative stroll alongside the Atlantic before it’s time to hang up your boots.
Challenge yourself to three mountain summits in three New England states in three days!
Get a good night’s sleep and rise at dawn to drive north through the greenery of Vermont to Camel’s Hump (aim to summit before 2pm). Balance the adrenaline rush with a hearty locally sourced dinner and a few craft beers in Montpelier, and spend the night in Vermont’s capital.
Get up early the next morning and head east into New Hampshire where—depending on how tired you are after yesterday’s formidable ascent—you can work your way up the moderately difficult Welch and Dickey, or the easier and shorter Mount Willard. Knock both off if you feel like it! Then drive to either North Conway or Gorham for another round of decadent cooking and craft libations. But don’t stay up too late. You’ll finish big on day 3.
For on the third and final day, you’ll drive north across the Maine border and climb the mighty Old Speck—one of the most thrilling hikes in this book. At least, that’s the ideal finale. If you’re feeling beat after two days of summits, you can easily swap Old Speck for Mount Agamenticus on Maine’s southwestern oceanside, a two-hour drive from the White Mountains.
Hike three of New England’s scenic offshore islands on this easygoing tour around the Atlantic seaboard.
Head east through Massachusetts and cross over the bridged canal marking your arrival in idyllic Cape Cod. Park at the Steamship Authority lot in Hyannis and enjoy a leisurely ferry ride to Nantucket. Take a bus or taxi a few minutes outside Nantucket town to explore the varied local terrain at Sanford Farm, Ram Pasture, and The Woods. Stay and play on the island, or hop back on the ferry to spend the night in Hyannis.
Wake up and drive approximately 25 miles southwest to Woods Hole, where you can pick up the Steamship Authority ferry to Martha’s Vineyard. From either Vineyard Haven or Oak Bluffs, where the ferries drop off, catch a ride to pastoral Chilmark, about 15 miles away, and spend some time admiring the sweeping ocean views at Menemsha Hills Reservation. Treat yourself to a night on the Vineyard, or return to Falmouth for dinner and a good night’s sleep.
Get up early to beat the Cape Cod traffic and get a jump on your 2-hour (85 miles) drive to Rhode Island. From Falmouth, make your way west around Buzzards Bay. After a scenic crossing of Narragansett Bay, you’ll arrive in Narragansett, where the ferry to Block Island departs. The pleasant ferry cruise will deliver you just a few minute’s drive from Clay Head Preserve, an easy walk around the beach and the imposing clay cliffs of Block Island.
BEST BY SEASON
▪ South Bubble and Jordan Pond: The forests around Jordan Pond are shimmering with gold once October rolls around, and the rocky peak of South Bubble makes for a fine overlook.
▪ Mount Kineo: Jutting up from an island on Moosehead Lake, this isolated peak features sheer cliffs and a fire tower with stunning views of the autumnal Maine frontier woods.
▪ Caribou Mountain: The 360-degree vista from the top of Caribou Mountain is already one of the finest in New England, but when you add a palette of fall colors, it’s unforgettable.
▪ Zealand Valley and Thoreau Falls: A long stroll through Zealand Valley’s vast beaver marshes during fall foliage season is pure New England ecstasy.
▪ Mount Lafayette and Franconia Ridge: Summiting Mount Lafayette is an uncommonly scenic ascent, with spectacular views of Franconia Notch—and the ridge traverse ups the ante.
▪ Table Rock: The pinnacle of this dizzyingly sheer 700-foot-tall rock formation is the perfect crow’s nest from which to admire the autumn forests of the remote, quiet Dixville Notch.
▪ Bald Mountain: Vermont views do not get any better than those during peak foliage season from this impressive fire tower overlooking Lake Willoughby and the Northeast Kingdom.
▪ Mount Horrid: Survey a sea of fall color from the Great Cliff of Mount Horrid, an easily reached ledge overlooking a marsh and a series of rolling hills.
▪ Mount Greylock: Stony Ledge, a secluded vista overlooking the Greylock Range, pops with fall color in mid- to late October.
▪ Bartholomew’s Cobble: The expansive view from Hulburt’s Hill looks out on the Berkshires draped in fall color—all for the price of just a short, leisurely hike.
▪ Undermountain Trail: The highest peak in Connecticut, Bear Mountain is the best place to watch the leaves turn with views across three states.
▪ Sleeping Giant State Park: This commanding mountain in central Connecticut reveals vista after vista as hikers move along its colorful ridgeline.
▪ Androscoggin Riverlands: When the woods of Androscoggin Riverlands get nice and snowy, winter hikers, cross-country skiers, and even snowmobilers head here to play.
▪ Mount Agamenticus: This prominent peak at the southern tip of Maine (complete with ruins of an old ski resort) draws visitors year-round thanks to its views and easy trails.
▪ Arethusa Falls: New Hampshire’s tallest waterfall somehow manages to look even more dramatic when it freezes for the winter—tempting not only hikers, but ice climbers.
▪ Sweet Trail: Even when its flora and fauna are buried under snow, the Sweet Trail still makes for a charming woodland stroll to the Great Bay Estuary.
▪ Mount Willard: A family favorite for all seasons, Mount Willard offers a gentle ascent, a frozen cascade, and a view of Crawford Notch that would make Robert Redford weep.
▪ Mount Chocorua: Take the Champney Falls Trail to visit two gorgeous frozen waterfalls, and if you’re feeling adventurous, keep climbing to summit the mighty Chocorua itself.
▪ Abbey Pond Trail: The easy elevation of this short trail makes it ideal for winter hiking, and the peaceful pond is an idyllic place to spot Vermont wildlife.
▪ Stratton Pond Trail: A long, scenic walk through flat forest culminates in great views of Stratton Pond, a secluded lake at the base of the mountain of the same name.
▪ Tully Trail: Experience the magic of a frozen waterfall—or three—on this relatively flat trail along the Tully River and its nearby cascades.
▪ Carriage Paths, Worlds End: This wind-whipped park, designed by Frederick Law Olmsted, is particularly scenic in the snow, with frosty vistas of the Boston skyline.
▪ Housatonic River Walk: A flat, gentle section of the Appalachian Trail along the Housatonic River is welcoming even in wintertime.
▪ Tillinghast Pond: Stroll the banks of this quiet Nature Conservancy pond with terrain that alternates between quiet forests and snowy fields.
▪ ore River and Jewell Falls: For a magical day in Portland, take a walk through the woods of Fore River Sanctuary, where you’ll find wildflowers, great blue herons, and a waterfall.
▪ Cadillac Mountain: Beat the summer hordes and take the beautiful Gorge Path up Acadia’s highest mountain for one of the most sweeping seacoast vistas anywhere in Maine.
▪ Purgatory Falls: Spring comes sooner in southern New Hampshire, and the brookside hike to Purgatory Falls is the perfect way to kick off a new season of backcountry exploring.
▪ Markus Wildlife Sanctuary: New Hampshire’s iconic loons get restless during the spring season, and you might catch one taking flight around this mossy lakeside sanctuary.
▪ Giant Falls: This aptly named yet little-known cascade just north of the White Mountains becomes a rip-roaring 80-foot monster during spring snowmelt.
▪ Hamilton Falls: Catch this spectacular waterfall at its finest, when spring rains and snowmelt amp up its flow.
▪ Lye Brook Falls Trail: Snowmelt from the peaks of the Green Mountains builds to a rush during spring at this 125-foot waterfall, one of the tallest in Vermont.
▪ Sterling Pond: Your boots will get muddy, your quads might quake, but the climb to Vermont’s highest-elevation trout pond will leave you feeling serene and rejuvenated.
▪ High Ledges: Featuring some of the finest displays of wildflowers—including rare orchids—to be found in New England, High Ledges is a must-see in spring.
▪ Rand’s View: Hike to a meadow dotted with wildflowers and emerging greenery on this lovely destination along the Appalachian Trail.
▪ Devil’s Hopyard: A shroud of misty spring rain adds to the mystique of this lore-steeped trail that includes a waterfall, vista, and strange rock formations.
▪ Arcadia Management Area: This lush path along the Falls River looks best in the spring colors of fresh greenery and blooming wildflowers.
▪ Lane’s Island Preserve: This enchanting hike on the island of Vinalhaven—replete with wildflowers and pebble beaches—might make you reconsider your return to the mainland.
▪ Tumbledown Mountain: Few things are more romantic than catching a golden summer sunset on the banks of Tumbledown Mountain’s summit pond or its rolling granite ridge.
▪ Mount Katahdin: The window for summiting New England’s toughest mountain is a short one—August and September are your best bets for glorious weather and panoramic views.
▪ Mount Washington via Tuckerman Ravine: Scaling the steep and waterfall-festooned bowl of Tuckerman Ravine surpasses the thrill of summiting New England’s highest peak.
▪ The Flume: This 800-foot-deep natural gorge is the perfect misty environment in which to cool off during the height of summer, as well as take in some spectacular waterfalls and mossy cliffs.
▪ Falls of Lana: Enjoy a vista of lush greenery from the Rattlesnake Cliffs before descending to the Falls of Lana, where you can find multiple swimming holes along the river.
▪ Mount Pisgah: Beat the heat after a hike up Mount Pisgah with a swim in the scenic, cliff-bound blue waters of Lake Willoughby.
▪ Chazy Fossil Reef: Searching for fossils along Vermont’s Chazy Reef is best done when nearby fields of wildflowers are blooming and fireflies are dancing in the dusk.
▪ Great Island Trail: Extraordinary sunsets and swimmable waters make this long beach-and-dune hike a great destination for summer.
▪ Castle Neck, Crane Beach: Crane is one of the most scenic beaches in the Northeast, and while the dunes are quite hot in summertime, a jump in the ocean is never far away!
▪ Clay Head Preserve: Summer on Block Island is made even more magical with a hike along this scenic clay bluff, which hikers can follow with a dip in the Atlantic Ocean.
▪ Sachuest Point: Marvel at the beach rose in bloom on this short hike around the tip of the Rhode Island coast, then spend the rest of the day at one of many nearby beaches.
▪ Mount Katahdin: The Penobscot Native Americans were right—when it comes to panoramic views of verdant wilderness and crystal-blue lakes, the craggy and titanic Katahdin is truly “the Greatest Mountain” in Maine, and arguably New England.
▪ Caribou Mountain: The bumpy granite summit of Caribou might sound modest at only 2,850 feet above sea level, but hikers who make the climb are amply rewarded with views of the Carter, Mahoosuc, and Presidential Ranges and the Cold River valley.
▪ Mount Carrigain: The view from Carrigain’s observation tower is worth the trek into the vast Pemigewasset Wilderness—you’ll begin your hike in the depths of those woods and finish with a 360-degree vista of the “Pemi” and the neighboring Presidential and Sandwich Ranges.
▪ Mount Washington: On a clear day, you can glimpse the Atlantic Ocean from the notoriously windy pinnacle of New England’s tallest mountain—or you might find yourself looking down at a sea of thick white clouds flowing past the summit cone.
▪ Mount Horrid: “The Great Cliff” is a short hike, and not particularly high, but it overlooks the wide valley of Brandon Gap where the Green Mountains roll out toward Lake Champlain.
▪ Mount Abraham: After climbing endless granite slabs towards the 4,017-foot summit of Mount Abraham, hikers are rewarded with 360-degree views from the Champlain Valley to the Adirondack Mountains.
▪ Bald Mountain: One of the finest fire tower views in New England, this less-traveled trail in Willoughby State Park features an expansive vista of the Northeast Kingdom.
▪ White Rocks Cliffs: This drop-off overlooking glacial ice beds is a unique mountainside vista named for its alabaster-hued Cheshire quartzite.
▪ Mount Mansfield: The tip-top of Vermont’s tallest mountain offers sterling views of Stowe and the Northeast Kingdom to the east, and the exposed descent down Sunset Ridge is set against the backdrop of Lake Champlain and New York’s distant Adirondacks.
▪ Alander Mountain: The vistas are nonstop as you wander across the long ridgeline of Alander Mountain, which boasts a strategic vantage point at the corners of Massachusetts, New York, and Connecticut.
▪ Stony Ledge, Mount Greylock: A lesser-known vista on the west slopes of Mount Greylock, this secluded overlook of the Greylock Range and the cavernous Hopper cirque rivals the mountain’s summit.
▪ Buck Hill, Blue Hills Reservation: The iconic Boston skyline is the highlight of the Buck Hill vista, but jetliners cruising toward Logan Airport add an air of excitement.
▪ Rand’s View: Enjoy the spaciousness of an open meadow hemmed by the Berkshire Range on this gem of a hike along the Appalachian Trail.
▪ Ragged Mountain: Overlook the Hartford skyline and pristine forests surrounding crystal reservoirs from the red traprock outcroppings of the Metacomet Range.
▪ Bear Mountain: The tallest peak in Connecticut offers iconic views across three states on this last stop before the Appalachian Trail plunges north into Massachusetts.
- On Sale
- Mar 31, 2020
- Page Count
- 550 pages
- Moon Travel