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New Hampshire 48

Hiking the AMC 48 4,000 footers in New Hampshire

The Appalachian Mountain Club (AMC) New Hampshire 4,000 Footers list (NH48) consists of the 48 peaks in the White Mountains of New Hampshire that stand at 4,000 feet of elevation or higher. Hiking them is certainly challenging and extremely rewarding. The mountains are truly world class, with rugged trails leading to stunning vistas over wide swaths of wilderness.

Years ago, when Kevin started working on hiking the Catskill 3500 list in New York, he also came across the NH48 list and filed it 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 hiking 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 hiking the 48 was actually within 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, the Presidential Traverse, and a single day Pemi Loop.

In September 2019, we finished our NH48 journey on Owl’s Head with beer and the camaraderie of fellow hikers. In March 2022, we finished hiking all the NH48 in winter. Since then, the White Mountains have felt more and more like home. We return almost every weekend to re-hike the 48, to hike other lists like 52 with a view (52WAV) and the New England Hundred Highest (NEHH).

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NH 48 Tips

  • We used AllTrails and Gaia for GPS tracking during hikes. GPS tracking is not perfect, but we really like using Gaia to create our routes and to track our stats. 
  • In order to be officially recognized by the AMC for hiking the NH48, you need to complete and submit an application that includes a sheet where you track when you hike each peak, a brief essay, and a small processing fee. We suggest tracking your hikes as you go! 
  • Along the way, we also kept our own google spreadsheet to document our hiking dates, stats, and notes. 

  • Find a community that has similar goals so you can share experiences, trail conditions, recommendations, and advice!
  • We joined a hiking Facebook group – Hike the 4000 Footers of NH, followed fellow hikers on Instagram who used hashtags, started chatting with people at summits, and read other blogs. Seeing pictures of the trails and people’s experiences kept us motivated when the drive from Boston felt long.

  • 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. 
  • Work your way up. Be strategic about which peaks you hike 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.
  • 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.
  • String together multiple peaks. If you like to do bigger hiking days, start looking into combining multiple peaks into a hike. We loved doing the Pemi Loop, the Presidential Traverse, and the Wildcats and Carters Traverse (minus Moriah). 

  • Know yourself. Only you know what you are capable of. Listen to your body and plan hikes that make sense for you and where you are. There are so many ways to hike the 48, somebody else's approach is not always going to match up with yours. 
  • 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! Turning around and saving something for another day is not a bad thing. The mountains will always be there. 
  • Be with nature. The beauty of the White Mountains are unparalleled. Take the time to soak in your surroundings. 
  • Celebrate along the way. Make sure to recognize your growth and accomplishments! 
  • Have fun! There is nothing like hiking in 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 often hiked multiple peaks on the same trip, 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! 

1 and 2: Franconia Ridge Loop
(Lincoln and Lafayette)

3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, and 9: Presidential Range
(Madison, Adams, Jefferson, Washington, Monroe, Eisenhower, Pierce)

Presidential Traverse_Presis_View of Northern Presis

Presidential Traverse

Hiking the Presidential Range in one day, which includes the highest peak in the northeast...

10 and 11: Liberty and Flume

12 and 13: North and South Kinsman

Kinsmans in Winter

Hiked the Kinsman Trail to North and South Kinsman where we saw the most breathtaking...

14, 15, 16, 17, and 18: Wildcats and Carters (Wildcat A, Wildcat D, Carter Dome, Middle Carter, South Carter)

19, 20, and 21: The Bonds
(Bond, Bondcliff, and West Bond)

Single Day Pemi Loop

Hiking a single day Pemi Loop (31.5 mi, 9,000+ft of elevation gain) is a bucket...

2 day Pemi Loop

More than 33 miles over 2 days backpacking the Pemi Loop through some of the...

22: Isolation

Isolation_Sunrise Landscape

Mount Isolation in Winter

Hiking Mount Isolation was the most difficult test of our entire NH48 journey: winter route-finding,...

23: Owl's Head

Owl's Head_Summit Cairn

Owl’s Head

While not a fan favorite, we loved this 18.5 mile hike of Owl's Head to...

Summits in Solidarity

On June 27, 2020, we participated in Summits in Solidarity, a peak-bagging initiative with three...

24: Garfield

Single Day Pemi Loop

Hiking a single day Pemi Loop (31.5 mi, 9,000+ft of elevation gain) is a bucket...

25: Carrigain

26: Moosilauke

27: Jackson

28: Cannon

29 and 30: Osceolas (Osceola and East Osceola)

Osceolas in Winter

A cold but perfectly clear and windless day on East Osceola and Mount Osceola in...

31 and 32: The Twins (North and South Twin)

2 day Pemi Loop

More than 33 miles over 2 days backpacking the Pemi Loop through some of the...

Single Day Pemi Loop

Hiking a single day Pemi Loop (31.5 mi, 9,000+ft of elevation gain) is a bucket...

33: Waumbek

Waumbek_Sunrise by Presis

Mount Waumbek

Our winter sunrise hike of Mount Waumbek in the White Mountains of New Hampshire with...

34 and 35: Hancocks (North and South Hancock)

Hancocks in Winter

Spent Valentine’s Day hiking up North and South Hancock in the White Mountains.Read the postHancocks...

36: Galehead

2 day Pemi Loop

More than 33 miles over 2 days backpacking the Pemi Loop through some of the...

Single Day Pemi Loop

Hiking a single day Pemi Loop (31.5 mi, 9,000+ft of elevation gain) is a bucket...

37: Cabot

38, 39, and 40: Tom, Willey, Field

41 and 42: North and Middle Tripyramid

43 and 44: Whiteface and Passaconaway

45: Tecumseh

46: Zealand and Hale

47: Moriah

NH 48 Photo Highlights

Single Day Pemi Loop

Hiking a single day Pemi Loop (31.5 mi, 9,000+ft of elevation gain) is a bucket...

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