Whether you’re new to hiking with your baby or toddler, or you’re looking for a new trail to explore, the Hike it Baby community is a valuable resource for finding family hiking trails around the country. In this article, we share three kid-friendly hikes in New Hampshire to explore at your next opportunity.
New Hamphire is a beautiful state with plenty of opportunities to enjoy the outdoors. Of all the possible trails to explore, local Hike it Baby members have recommended the following three. These are three great hikes for families with kids and are guaranteed not to be too much for the little ones. Explore these trails with confidence and have fun!
Crotched Mountain Accessible Trails (Greenfield, NH)
The two trails at Crotched Mountain make up the longest handicap-accessible mountainside trail system in the United States. They are specifically designed for wheelchair and mobility-impaired individuals. Both have info kiosks along the way to learn about different animals and plants or even help identify the mountains in the distance. They also feature story walks at different times of the year. These trails are open to the public and are great hikes for families, especially those who prefer strollers over carriers.
Gregg Trail is an uphill hike on dirt that utilizes numerous switchbacks and ends at a large observation deck with views of the Monadnock Region of New Hampshire. The round trip is 1.6 miles. For those who want a bigger challenge, at the end of the Gregg Trail, you can follow a series of further trails to the peak of Crotched Mountain. The second trail, Dutton Brook, has minimal elevation change and features a series of boardwalks and observation decks around a beaver pond. It is a 2-mile lollipop trail, so you’ll repeat much of it on the return trip.
- Go prepared and print out a copy of the trail map to take with you.
- Service animals are allowed, but pets are not.
- For your own protection and that of the environment, please stay on the trail. Also, plan on carrying out any trash with you.
- Don’t forget plenty of water, sunscreen and insect repellent!
Franconia Notch Recreational Trail (Lincoln, NH)
The Franconia Notch Recreational Trail is an 8.8-mile paved pathway through the heart of Franconia Notch State Park. There are multiple trailheads for the path, allowing families to decide where and how much they want to hike. Picnic areas can be found along the way, as can many great views and scenic attractions. Most notable of these are the Flume Gorge (more on that later); the Basin, a large glacial pothole; and the Cannon Mountain Aerial Tramway, a gondola ride to the top of one of New Hampshire’s 4K peaks. Heading south to north, there is an 800-foot elevation gain, and the trail features many small rolling hills. Families who wish to bike the path can rent bikes and trailers, as well as arrange for transportation from one trailhead to another.
- Note that hikers share the trail with cyclists.
- Restrooms and other facilities are conveniently located at parking areas throughout the park.
- Pets are allowed only at the designated dog walk areas at the Flume and Tramway parking lots.
Flume Gorge (Lincoln, NH)
The Flume Gorge is perhaps the most spectacular of the attractions in Franconia Notch State Park (above). The full loop is almost 2 miles, but you can choose just to walk the gorge. Either way, those who visit will tell you it’s totally worth the admission fee. The “trail” is meticulously maintained with boardwalks throughout the hike, allowing visitors to get up close and personal with the many waterfalls that flow through the gorge. While the walkways make this an easy hike, there are a lot of stairs, so you can expect some carrying of small children. The stairs take you deeper and deeper into the chasm, and are well worth any trouble. Throughout, you’ll see gorgeous waterfalls and granite rock formations shooting up 70-90 feet.
In addition, signs along the path clearly mark noteworthy sights, such as a giant glacial boulder that was once suspended between the sheer walls and now lies deep in the chasm. Another fun thing kids will love is running through the bright red Flume Covered Bridge. From this point, the path also goes past Boulder Cabin and Table Rock, a huge granite slab worn smooth by the river over a very long time. Discover the rest for yourself!
We loved that walking on the boardwalk allowed us to walk over waterfalls and also inspect the flowers, mosses and ferns that grew on the rocks. – Daphne Earley
- Admission fees are $16 for adults and $14 for children 6-12. Kids 5 and under get in free.
- Peak time is in the middle of the summer. Since you may end up in a long line to purchase a ticket, be ready to entertain your little one(s).
- The Visitor Center has restrooms and other amenities. Make sure to catch the 20-minute film showcasing Franconia Notch State Park.
- The rocks can be slippery, so it is very important to stay on the walkway. Watch small children closely since openings in the railing could allow them to slip through.
MORE RESOURCES FOR FAMILIES WITH YOUNG CHILDREN
New Hampshire offers an abundance of trails for families with young children. For more family hike ideas, see:
- Hike it Baby calendar (or connect with local branches)
- Hike it Baby Family Trail Guide
- New Hampshire State Parks Trail Maps and Information
- Hike it Baby: 100 Awesome Outdoor Adventures with Babies and Toddlers – New Book by Hike it Baby Founder Shanti Hodges
Looking for more information or recommendations on trails in New Hampshire? Or looking to join a group hike? The nearest Hike it Baby branches are Concord Hikes, Merrimack Valley Hikes, Monadnock Hikes and Seacoast Hikes.
- 3 Fun Family-Friendly Hikes in Maine
- 3 Gorgeous Hikes in New York for Young Children
- 3 Great Trails for Young Kids in Pennsylvania
What are your favorite hikes in New Hampshire for families with babies, toddlers and young children? Leave a comment below!
Crotched Mountain Accessible Trails and Franconia Notch Recreational Trail reviews contributed by Lyndsey Vaillancourt.