Years ago, when Kevin started working on hiking the Catskill 3500 list, he also came across the AMC New Hampshire 4,000 Footers list (NH48) and filed them away in the back of his mind. However, when we moved from New York to Boston, the possibility of hiking these peaks in the White Mountains reemerged. In October 2017, in search of elusive peak fall foliage, we hiked our first 4,000 footer, Cannon Mountain, and we were hooked. We loved the incredible views, the quiet of the woods, and the challenge of the rugged terrain. Kevin bought the AMC’s White Mountain Guide (known as the hiker’s bible) and we slowly started bagging the “easiest” (honestly, there is nothing easy about hiking in the Whites) peaks within the closest driving distance to Boston. After a year of leisurely progress, we tackled the Pemigewasset Loop, which included 10 peaks, and realized that our goal was in reach. We started to love hiking in winter conditions and ventured to the mountains as often as we could, in snow and sun, to complete tough routes like Mount Isolation and the Presidential Traverse. In September 2019, we finished our NH48 journey on Owl’s Head with beer and the camaraderie of fellow hikers.
NH 48 4000 Footer Tips
- Track your hikes. We used AllTrails and Gaia for GPS tracking during hikes, the NH48 list from AMC (you will send this in as part of your application to join the NH 4K Club), and our own google spreadsheet to document our hiking dates, stats, and notes.
- Seek support. We loved joining a hiking Facebook group – Hike the 4000 Footers of NH. Seeing pictures of the trails and people’s experiences kept us motivated when the drive from Boston felt long.
- Check the weather and trip reports. The White Mountains are notorious for unpredictable weather and tough trail conditions. Check our NH48 Trip Reports and Weather Links page for links to the National Weather Service for all 48 4,000 footers. You could also look at the Higher Summits Forecast from Mt. Washington Observatory. Conditions can change drastically from peak to peak and throughout the day. Trip reports will give you the latest intel on trail conditions. They are especially useful in late fall and winter so you know what kind of traction to bring. For spring hiking, check the streamflow conditions for New Hampshire, published by the USGS. The Northeast Snow Depth Page should be useful for winter hikers.
- Get the right gear. You don’t have to spend tons of money on gear to be safe and comfortable. We updated gear slowly throughout our journey. See our gear list for suggestions.
- Expand your hiking season. If you are willing to get the gear, consider winter hiking. The trails offer more solitude and arguably, more beauty with the landscape covered in ice and snow.
- Work your way up. Be strategic about which peaks you tag first. Start with more moderate hikes with less elevation and mileage as you build your mental and physical strength and endurance.
- Think about what peak you want to finish on. All of the 48 are remarkable, so there is no wrong choice, but make it meaningful.
- Tell a friend. Make sure somebody knows where you are hiking and when you plan to return so they can contact search and rescue if you run into an emergency.
- Be kind to yourself. Getting out to the trail isn’t always easy or convenient. Some days, you might just not want to hike. There were a couple of times that we started a hike and realized that we were just not ready. That’s okay!
- Have fun! There is nothing like the White Mountains. Enjoy the journey.
Our 48 Rankings
These rankings are entirely subjective! The weather, our moods on those particular days, how our bodies felt, and a number of other things affected how we experienced these hikes. We bagged multiple peaks on the same hike, so it was impossible for us to rank them in isolation. Also, all of the 48 are incredible, so do not let a “low ranking” deter you!
- Franconia Ridge Trail: Flume, Liberty, Lincoln, Lafayette
- Southern Presidential Range: Monroe, Eisenhower, Pierce
- The Bonds: West Bond, Bond, Bondcliff
- Northern Presis: Adams, Madison, Jefferson, Washington
- Tom, Willey, Field
- The Twins: North and South Twin
- Cabot and Waumbek
- Owl’s Head
- Kinsmans: North and South Kinsman
- Wildcats and Carters: Middle Carter, South Carter, Carter Dome, Wildcat A, Wildcat D
- Tripyramids: North and Middle Tripyramid
- Hancocks: North and South Hancock
- Whiteface and Passaconaway
- Osceolas: Mount Osceola and East Osceola
What are your rankings?