Hiking the highest peaks in New Hampshire may be a goal of yours. Maybe even hiking the highest peaks in New England is something you have your eye on! You’ve likely seen breathtaking photos from a friend, seen people on Washington who hiked all the way up (and down!) on their own two feet, or read an inspiring book about the 48 4000 Footers in New Hampshire and want to hike the list too!

Trail to 4K Challenge

An iconic NH 4K Destination!

You’re in just the right place. The Trail to 4K Challenge is made for you. I’ve created a pre-4k series to get you on the trail ready to succeed. Before we get into the details of the challenge, let me properly introduce myself.

Hey there, I’m Allison!


I’m your coach!

I am the founder of Trail to Summit, a site aimed at helping other hikers, especially those who hike in New England. I actually started this very site as an online documentation of my own journey on the NH 4000 Footers. Somewhere within my journals and trip reports, other hikers found bits of information invaluable as they too were hiking the very same peaks. Some found the updated trail information or weather related data useful while others were pleasantly surprised by my honesty of the challenge of it all or new routes they never thought of taking. Eventually Trail to Summit evolved into a full blown website with more than just trip reports. I have some advice articles, female specific tips, gear reviews and lists of what I bring hiking, interviews with other hikers and companies, as well as some good old fashion trip reports.

I’ve completed the NH 4000 Footer list four times- once in each season. I hiked many peaks solo and sometimes at night. While I’ve mostly moved onto other great lists and goals, I still visit the 4Ks often.

Southern Presidentials in Winter

Southern Presidentials in Winter

The list didn’t start easy for me. In fact, I accidentally bushwhacked up the Osceolas. Yup. I was by myself and dragged myself up the side of a mountain without a trail because I knew the summit had to be up. Yes, it was stupid and that’s kind of why I’m starting this challenge!

east osceola

definitely not the right route…

I’ve heard from a lot of people who feel lost or unsure if they can or should take on the 4Ks. Some feel intimidated by hikers in online forums, while others don’t have much support. I gotcha! Let’s prep together.

So, what’s this challenge!?

The Trail to 4K Challenge is a series of hikes intended to prepare you for your first New Hampshire 4000 Footer. Some might tell you to just jump in and knock out a tough peak. Personally, I think that’s a poor choice. You could end up hating the experience, or worse- end up dragging yourself up the side of a mountain!

Each hike will help you with a particular skill you’ll need to successfully hike a 4000 Footer. You’ll also receive some tips, support, and coaching from me! Throughout the process I will check in with you and provide information on gear, tips for beginners, and even some online hangout sessions!

Additional Details

This year’s challenge is free, but I am taking voluntary donations that will support Pemigewasset Valley Search and Rescue. I will send an email with the details on how to support this group partway through the challenge!

Throughout the challenge you will be able to connect with others through a private Facebook group and share your progress and experiences with the tag #trailto4k. I will be sharing your photos weekly on Trail to Summit’s Instagram account!

The challenge will officially start this April, but you can register today! This will get you on a special email list to receive updates for the challenge. The goal will be for you to complete the challenge and hike your first 4000 foot peak!

You will receive an email February 1st with the peaks and routes for the challenge as well as a couple pre-hike emails to prep you for the challenge!

You can purchase official Trail to 4K merchandise online! We have tees, buttons, and stickers. More products to be added soon!

Is This Challenge For Me?

If you live in or near New Hampshire and have never hiked a 4000 footer but would like to, definitely! This will help you physically prepare for hiking the 4000 footer list and boost your confidence before you do!

If you’ve taken a “leave of absence” from hiking and are looking to get back into it, you belong here as well!

Let's do this!

Let’s do this!

If you are moderately active (ok, if you walk from your desk at work to your car) you CAN do this challenge! The hikes included are designed to work on the following elements common with hiking the 4000 Footers:

Hike One: Get into the groove

Sometimes the biggest challenge is just getting out there. This peak is closer to home for most, has easy footing, and wonderful views. You need somewhere to start!

Hike two: Caves and Ladders

Some trails to the summit of the 4Ks include steep slopes, ladder sections, loose rocks, and possibly a cave or two. This hike will prepare you with a fun but challenging day of exploration.

Hike Three: Peak Bagging

Some peaks are just better together. This adventure will send you over two peaks for the ultimate peak bagging experience.

Hike Four: Bigger Miles

Hiking longer days can be hard on your body if you’re not used to it. This hike is longer than the rest but is a doable day hike.

Hike Five: No Views, Great Attitude

A number of 4ks don’t actually have views on their summits. This hike will take you to the height of land without the views you’re used to getting. Show us you don’t need views for a fun time by tagging #trailto4k!

Sign up for the 2016 Trail to 4K Challenge!

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You will receive an email the first of February with the peaks and routes for the challenge!