Franconia Ridge Loop (9 miles) - This is in my mind the classic White Mountain day hike. It starts in the heart of Franconia Notch and climbs the Falling Waters trail to the ridge itself. The ridge walk is the finest anywhere in the Whites. After reaching the summits of Lincoln and Lafayette, the route follows the Greenleaf trail to the AMC's Greenleaf Hut. From there, take the Old Bridle Path back to the trailhead. The Hut closes from Columbus Day weekend until late Spring.Trip report #1 -- Trip report #2
Moosilauke Loop (7.5 miles) - Moosilauke is the farthest west of New Hampshire's 4000'ers. This loop, starting at Dartmouth's Moosilauke Ravine Lodge, takes you up trails that have all been rebuilt since 1990. From the Lodge, start up the Gorge Brook trail, past several views until hitting East Peak, just before treeline. From the ruins of the old summit hotel, take the Carraige Road across the ridge to South Peak. Then drop steadily and gently until hitting the Snapper trail which takes you back to the lodge. The access road is gated in winter, adding a 1.5 mile ski or snowshoe each way.Trip report
Mount Washington from Pinkham Notch (8.5 miles) - The summit of Mount Washington is a draw for everyone who sees it from afar. This route is the most popular was of reaching the highest point in the northeast on foot. Starting at the AMC's Pinkham Notch Visitor's Center on Rt 16, take the Tuckerman Ravine trail up to the ranger station known as Hojos. A half an hour later, at the base of the headwall, the real climbing begins. Once out of the ravine, follow the trail through the rocky jumble to the cluttered summit, with parking lots, train station, visitor center, radio station, and cafeteria. To return, take the Lion Head trail, a slightly more gentle route that follows the north edge of Tuckerman Ravine then drops to meet the Tuckerman Ravine trail just below Hojos. Do not attempt this route in winter.
Mount Washington from Marshfield Station (9 miles) - This route is an alternative to the often crowded route mentioned above. Starting at the parking area on the Marshfield Road just before the Cog Railroad, the Ammonoosuc Ravine trail climbs slowly until reaching Gem Pool. Then the route ascends quickly to reach treeline at Lakes of the Clouds Hut. The Crawford Path takes you up the summit cone to the top. For the descent, the Gulfside Trail brings you down to the side of Mt Clay where you meet the Jewell Trail, which desends more gently to the Cog Railroad basestation.
Mount Adams via the Airline and Valley Way (9.1 miles) - North of Mount Washington, Adams is the second highest peak in NH. Starting at the Appalachia trailhead on Rt 2, the Airline trail leads up through the complex web of trails in the Northern Presidentials before coming out at treeline on Durand Ridge. The route is narrow and exposed in places, so great care is needed in bad weather. Near Madison Springs Hut the Airline follows the Gulfside trail for a short ways and then heads straight to the summit. To descend, retrace your steps back to the Gulfside trail and follow it to the hut. From there the Valley Way takes a protected route back to Appalachia.
Mount Jefferson via Ridge of the Caps (5 miles) - This trip has the benefit of starting at the highest trailhead in the Whites. The parking area is at the top of the Jefferson Notch Road, at 3009 feet. From here the Caps Ridge Trail ascends quickly and steadily, going over the "caps", rocky bumps on the ridge that give great views. You can extend this trip slightly by taking the Jefferson Loop Trail, the Gulfside Trail, and the Cornice Trail in a loop around the Jefferson summit.Trip report
Tripyramids (11 miles) - This is a long day trip that takes you over some challanging terrain. The loop starts in Waterville Valley at the Livermore Road trailhead. The first 3.6 miles are along the dirt road; watch for mountain bikers. Then the North Slide trail branches of and soon starts climbing very steeply. This sheer rock slide should not be attempted in wet or icy conditions. The best views on the trip are from the top of the North Slide. Once you reach the top, the trail hits the summit of North Tripyramid and then travels along the ridge to Middle and South, mostly in the trees but with some views on near the summits. The South Slide is loose scree that can be fun or difficult to descend. This trail hooks back into the Livermore Road for the return the parking area.
Welch-Dickey Loop (4.5 miles) - A wonderful loop, this trip is also a short drive from the Boston area. Exit the highway at the Waterville exit and take a left onto the Upper Mad River Rd, following it to Orris Rd and the parking area. It's 2 miles to either summit and .5 between them. There are views from both open summits. You can see the Sandwich Notch area to the south and the Tripyramids to the west. Either peak is a fine day hike, but for a little extra effort, the loop is worth it.Trip report