Description - White Mountain National Forest encompasses over 770,000 acres of mountains, streams and forests. New Hampshire has four wilderness areas (the Pemigewasset, Dry River, Great Gulf and Sandwich Range) in four ranger districts offer 1,200 miles of hiking, 20 developed campgrounds and 53 shelters. Spectacular views and alpine elevations draws over 6 million visitors annually.
Copyright: USDA Forest Service
White Mountain National Forest
- Cloaked with forests and laced with streams, the White Mountain rise in dramatic relief north of New Hampshire's central plateau. Among the ranges and ridges are the highest mountains in the Northeast, the Presidential Range, which culminate in the bare granite summit of 6,288 foot Mount Washington. Mounts Adams, Jefferson, Monroe and Madison also exceed 5,000 feet in elevation.
Nearly 800,000 acres (that's a little larger than Rhode Island), the Forest covers a landscape ranging from hardwood forests (which give us spectacular fall foliage) to the largest alpine area (where trees don't grow over 8 feet tall) east of the Rocky Mountains and south of Canada. There are campgrounds,hiking trails, scenic drives, historic places and plenty of space just to sit back and relax.
The Kancamagus Scenic Byway is 34 miles long and traverses the heart of the White Mountains. Route 302 offers spectacular views of the Presidential Mountain Range. The Patte Brook Auto Tour is a self-guided tour on the Androscoggin Ranger District. Views are spectacular during the fall foliage color changes.
The White Mountain National Forest has five designated Wilderness Areas: the Great Gulf with 5,552 acres; the Presidential Range/Dry River Wilderness with 27,380 acres; the Sandwich Range with 25,000 acres; the Pemigewasset Wilderness with 45,000 acres; and the Caribou-Speckled Wilderness with 12,000 acres.
The White Mountain National Forest has four downhill ski areas: Loon Mountain, Waterville Valley, Attitash/Bear Peak and Wildcat. There are also two cross country permits, Bretton Woods and Jackson Ski Touring Foundation. There is an undeveloped spring skiing area at Tuckerman Ravine.
Recreation - The White Mountain has over 1,200 miles of hiking trails, 23 campgrounds and 14 picnic grounds. In the summer months some of the possible activities include camping in developed campgrounds and dispersed areas, hiking, backpacking, horseback riding, mountain biking, wildlife watching, fishing, hunting, picnicking, swimming and canoeing.
Winter brings ample snow for winter recreation activities including, downhill and cross-country skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing, snowmobiling.
Climate - White Mountain's weather is unpredictable. At any time of year, you should be prepared with warm clothing and good rain gear. Winters can be very cold, with plenty of snow for winter recreation activities. Spring and autumn are transitional periods, with normally mild temperatures but occasional seasonal fluctuations. The area is renowned for its spectacular autumn colors. Summers bring mild to warm temperatures.
The White Mountain National Forest lies in mostly in northern New Hampshire, with a small section in southwestern Maine. The Forest Headquarters is located in Laconia, New Hampshire with other Forest offices in Bethlehem, Plymouth, Gorham and Conway New Hampshire. There are Forest Visitor's Centers located in Bethel, Maine, and New Hampton, Gorham and North Woodstock, New Hampshire.