I am often asked which peaks are the easiest by hikers looking to start New Hampshire 4000 Footer list. Today’s post is my recommendation for where to start! It is difficult, if not impossible to rank the NH4Ks. Why? There are many factors that affect the difficulty of a hike. This can include trail choice and weather as well as your own personal health. There are some days that my legs just don’t want to cooperate while other days I can breeze through difficult sections. You will also become stronger as you hike. Take a long period of time off? That will affect your future hikes as well.
This is, by no means, a complete list of possible first hikes, but it’s a list that I would recommend to a friend who is just starting out. While these are easier 4Ks, they are still pretty darn tough! Condition yourself on smaller peaks. After all, the best way to get in shape for hiking is to hike!
Looking to turn your friend/significant other/family member/pet into a peakbagger? These picks will not only ease them in, they have that “wow factor” to reel them in!
- Bugle Cliff is a great outlook as you look back at the Highland Center and see how far you’ve gone already. It’s a great motivator
- You get rewarded with gorgeous views of the Southern Presidentials including Mount Washington atop Jackson’s summit
- I’ve always seen grey jays atop Jackson
- There are a couple of steep rock slabs right before summiting that are doable, but might make some hikers nervous.
- The Crawford Path is the oldest, continuously maintained, hiking path in America
- Beautiful views of the Presidentials just before the summit
- Although much of the trail is below treeline, the final push to the summit can be dangerous in foul weather.
- The official summit veers to the right and is wooded. Be careful not to mistake the gorgeous viewpoint for the summit!
Recommended route: Edmands Path
- 360-degree views of all the Southern Presidentials which includes Mt Washington.
- The AMC’s Mizpah Spring Hut is located approximately 2.5 miles to the southwest of the summit of Mt. Eisenhower and AMC’s Lakes of the Clouds Hut is located approximately 2.5 miles to the northeast of the summit of Mt. Eisenhower. Either can be used as an overnight stop for those who wish to continue hiking in the Presidential range. Both huts require a reservation and are not open year round. Check AMC for more details.
- spectacular 360 degree views from its summit including a stunning vantage of Franconia Ridge, as well as the Green Mountains and Adirondacks in the other direction.
Considerations: The “chimney” can be rather nerve-racking, especially when wet or icy. There is a bypass available, though. This would only be used if you include East Osceola in your route. Note- with East peak, the hike will be 8.4 miles, 2950′ elevation gain, and a book time of 5:40
- Really amazing trailwork and some fun sections heading up! A perfect beginner hike.
- There are some beautiful views from the summit, plus next time you ski Waterville, you can say you hiked it! 😉
- While it is a great beginner hike for those new to the NH 4K list, don’t let the numbers deceive you. Prepare for this hike by training on smaller peaks as there are some long, steady climbs that do get fairly steep.
- Views are beautiful but not as dramatic as some of the options above as it is in the Waterville Valley area and not surrounded by many taller peaks.
And there you have it! With these peaks, you will be on your way to becoming a peak bagger! Make sure to consult the many resources available online and in book form before you start your hike.
Are you planning on starting your New Hampshire 4000-footer journey this year? I’d love to hear from you. Leave a comment below!
Last modified: October 14, 2015