The White Mountains surrounding the Valley offer seemingly endless recreational opportunities within an easy drive for much of the East Coast. With so much to do in and around Mt Washington Valley in winter, here’s a list of ways to enjoy the outdoors!
Before you do anything though - sign the MWV Pledge! This ten-point responsibility code helps guide our collective behaviors as we recreate in the outdoors. It's a reference point for how to treat the trails, wildlife, waterways, and one another! Help protect the White Mountain National Forest by following the tenets of the MWV Pledge, to ensure the forest, and all it encompasses sticks around for years to come!
The best thing about snowshoeing is that it’s easily accessible and if you can walk, you can snowshoe. Choose to head to the trails at any of the six cross-country ski centers, which altogether offer 450+km of trails to snowshoe on!
You can also head out into the woods to create your own trail. Snowshoe rentals and sales are available at most of the XC Centers plus through REI North Conway, in North Conway. You can often access clinics via these rental locations too. Another great option is for all those staying at the AMC’s Highland Lodge, you can borrow snowshoes (and any other winter gear) from the LL Bean Gear Room found there.
Your days of biking no longer must be confined to spring, summer and fall. Both Great Glen Trails and Mt. Washington Ski Touring & Snowshoe Foundation have opened their trail networks for fatbikes. Need gear? Stan and Dan Sports plus the Great Glen Trails rental shop offer fat bike rentals and equipment to purchase.
Bretton Woods also opens part of its cross-country trail network to those looking to fat bike. Ride a portion of its 100km trail network that follows along the stunning Presidential Range vistas, and trails that meander along the Ammonoosuc River. Fat biking at Bretton Woods includes a bike and helmet rental, along with a trail pass. Bikes are available for adults and children.
There’s a good reason that North Conway – at the center of Mt Washington Valley – has been named the #1 ski town in North America. With 13 ski resorts and XC Centers, there is more skiing terrain here than anywhere else in New England. From steeps and deeps, glades to groomers and easy peasy for first-timers, you’ll find the kind of terrain you seek in the Valley. Plan to enjoy winter at the seven ski resorts and six XC Centers. Need lessons? They’re available for all levels. Would you like to rent or purchase ski equipment or apparel? You’ll have multiple options at Mt. Washington Valley’s tax-free ski shops on and off the mountains. Be sure to check with the ski resort or XC Center where you plan to go. Reservations may be needed and limits on ticket sales may be in place to insure adequate space for safe social distancing.
Another reason that Mt Washington Valley makes the ideal winter destination is the alternative activities for non-skiers at the ski resorts. Look for lighted tubing hills at King Pine Ski Area, Cranmore Mountain Resort, Bretton Woods and Great Glen Trails Outdoor Center. While Mom and Dad are skiing, the non-skiers in the family can enjoy going up and down the hill on inner tubes made for snow sliding.
Each resort offers varying hours and days for tubing. Tickets also need to be purchased in advance. Check with each individual mountain before arriving for your tubing adventure.
With 700,000 acres of White Mountain National Forest surrounding Mt Washington Valley, the options for winter hiking are seemingly endless. It’s best to join a guided tour or go with an experienced winter hiker and bring all the necessary gear. The AMC Highland Center, Redline Guiding, REI and many of the winter hiking tour guides offer guidance, gear rental and ideas for the best places to go. This is one winter activity where it’s important to know before you go, and be prepared before hitting the trails.
Wander the Whites, is another option for guided winter hiking. Led by Lisa Holcomb, a guide and educator, she offers a guided hike and creative writing workshop as part of her signature services.
For more ideas on guided winter adventure and the guiding outfitters and guides who can take you on them, in Mt. Washington Valley, click here!
From Pelham to Pittsburg and right through Mt Washington Valley, New Hampshire offers 7,000 miles of snowmobile trails and not one leads to your office! Corridor 19 trails surround and wind through Mt Washington Valley. These snowmobile trails are made possible through the partnerships with thousands of landowners who generously open up their land for the recreation of snowmobiling along with State Parks throughout New Hampshire. Countless club volunteers work tirelessly to construct and maintain this vast trail system, including the Mountain Meadow Riders, who groom and maintain the Corridor 19 trails surrounding Mt Washington Valley. In addition, Northern Extremes Snowmobiling rents sleds, clothing and gear and provides guided tours from their location in Bartlett. Northeast Snowmobile & ATV Rentals offers snowmobile and ATV rentals plus guided events too. Both offer expert trail advice and guidance.
Trail running has increasingly become a popular sport in the Valley, as the Mt Washington Valley Trails Association is dedicated to the creation of a sustainable off-road non-motorized trail network in the Valley. Focused on trails designed for mountain bike, trail running and backcountry (non-groomed) cross-country ski use, the MWV Trails Association and the White Mountain Milers – the region’s dedicated running club – offer both events and terrain perfect for those dedicated to outdoor trail running.
Get to know the amazing sled dogs at Muddy Paws Sled Dog Kennel. Enjoy a winter adventure from their kennel in Jefferson, NH. You’ll get instruction then have the chance to drive the sled yourself or simply sit back and take in the beautiful scenery with 1.5 hour and three hour dog-sled tours!
Hoping to get out into the mountains this winter, but not sure of your ability or gear for winter adventures? Choose from a number of guided programs and instructional workshops from outfitters like Redline Guiding, or Eastern Mountain Sports. With programs designed to help you learn everything from basic winter hiking and backcountry skiing skills to frozen waterfall rapelling, ice kiting and other mountaineering adventures. They can even perform an outdoor winter wedding officiated by JPs that are also guides!
The Canopy Tour at Bretton Woods also offers an incredibly unique way of exploring the mountains. Fly through the air by nine zip lines, two sky bridges and three rappels. This excursion is the only one of its kind in the Mt. Washington Valley area, and sweeping views of Mount Washington and the Presidential Range. The longest zip is over 1000 ft. long and about 165 ft. high off the forest floor. Each tour can accommodate up to eight participants who descend 1000 feet in elevation with two Adventure Guides, from the top of Rosebrook Canyon to the base of Bretton Woods. Group sizes allow for anywhere from two people to eight. Reservations must be made in advance.
Wander the Whites guiding service also offers a unique way to explore the White Mountain National Forest, through a guided hike, and writing workshop. Led by owner and guide, Lisa Holcomb, her "Wander the Whites and Write;" is focused on spending time in nature and allowing it to fuel your creative outlet as a writer. Another key course developed by Lisa, includes her Wander the Whites and Reiki Certification, where you'll begin the process of earning your Reiki certification amidst the shores of Echo Lake and surrounded by the forest. You'll connect more deeply to the energetic force-fields of nature, and learn how to channel that energy into your work as a practitioner.
Mt Washington Valley is considered one of the best ice climbing destinations in the East Coast. The abundance of terrain coupled with the number of ice climbing schools and outfitters in the Valley make it the perfect place for ice climbers from beginners to expert. The International Mountain Climbing School and its HQ store in North Conway offers everything from new and used gear to the yearly IceFest festival and instruction throughout the winter. Other outfitters like Ragged Mountain Equipment, and REI are ideal places to shop for gear and get great advice. Also, many of the winter guiding companies mentioned above offer day-long or multi-day programs to introduce those interested to the world of ice climbing in the Valley.
For complete trip planning resources and information, explore this site, visitmwv.com, or call 800-367-3364 (800-DO-SEE-NH) to talk to a Mt Washington Valley Chamber of Commerce rep. To learn more about New Hampshire vacations, go to www.VisitNH.gov.