12 Best Family Hiking Trails in the Upper Valley—with the Best Views


Submitted 4 months ago
Created by
Tom Haushalter

Virtually every community in the Upper Valley has access to a wooded trail, and it's that easy to immerse our senses in the natural state of things. It’s why we live here, right? And raising kids means building an early appreciation for these precious aspects of this place.

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With great organizations like the Upper Valley Land Trust, Vital Communities, and municipal park associations that preserve and promote the many trails to explore, we honestly couldn’t be luckier.


Thanks also to the Upper Valley community for your valuable input on this list of trails that (for the most part) the whole family can manage and enjoy. Click on each trail’s name for a trusted link to more information, including trail location, distance, incline, highlights, and other helpful tips.



VERMONT


Mount Ascutney State Park - Windsor, VT
In the summer season, drive the toll road up to within a mile of the summit’s lookout tower for spectacular 360-degree views.


Mount Tom - Woodstock, VT
Try the Faulkner Trail and reach Mt. Tom’s South Peak in just under two miles, or continue on for another mile to the summit.


Gile Mountain - Norwich, VT
Recently reopened after repairs, this 1.4-mile gentle hike leads to the fire tower, on top of which see the NH’s Presidential range on a clear day.


Wright’s Mountain - Bradford, VT
Catch great views of the Waits River Valley, and then go down and explore the cool caves of Devil’s Den.


Owl’s Head Mountain - Groton, VT
Take an easy walk to a scenic vista of Lake Groton, Kettle Pond, and the Green Mountains.


Eagle’s Bluff - Fairlee, VT
Part of a network of Lake Morey trails in Fairlee, the best views of the lake are from Eagle’s Bluff.



NEW HAMPSHIRE


Colette Trail - Enfield, NH
The real view on this trail is Bicknell Brook and its series of gorgeous waterfalls all leading down to Crystal Lake. Best in late winter or early spring!


Pinnacle Hill - Lyme, NH
Follow the Valley Quest guide in the link above, and spot all kinds of cool trail features on your way to the pinnacle.


French’s Ledges - Plainfield, NH
All gentle paths lead to the namesake ledges, which require a steep but brief climb to the top. And wow, you won’t regret it.


Lone Oak Trail - Bath, NH
Short (0.8 miles one way) but steep (700 foot elevation gain), the views once you reach the “lone oak” itself are some of the best anywhere.


Moose Mountain Ridge Trail - Etna, NH
Climb to the highest peak within Hanover’s town boundaries and catch glimpses of Mt. Cardigan and Kearsarge in the distance.


Cardigan Mountain State Park - Orange, NH
One of the gems of the region, see peaks in three different states from atop Cardigan.



No doubt we missed some of your favorite family hikes. So comment below and share the intel!


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