Where to go hiking with your kids

Anytime is the perfect time to take your family for a hike or walk but we especially love late spring and early fall excursions because the weather is usually warm (but not too hot) and, if you’re lucky, you’ll get to see budding trees and blooms or the lovely autumn foliage magic.

Hiking with little ones can be a little challenging so always remember to let them set the pace, bring plenty of snacks and water in your backpack and make sure to pack some bug spray and a small first aid kit for scratches, stings and bumps along the way. Long pants are encouraged for densely wooded areas so bugs don’t bother your kids and closed toed shoes (sneakers, hiking boots, etc.) are a must; no flip flops or sandals. You can find more safety tips from the experts here.

Heads up: Because many of these hikes are through NH state parks there may be nominal fees associated with entering the park.

Now that you’re all packed and ready to go, here are some suggestions on where to hit the trail!

Beaver Pond at Bear Brook State Park in Allenstown, NH
You’re probably familiar with Bear Brook State Park, maybe your family has gone swimming, camping or canoeing here but we think the hiking and walking trails around Beaver Pond are a must-do. Bear Brook is home to a number of picnic tables, playground area and bathroom facilities so you could definitely turn a hike into a day of fun.
Fee: state park fees
View the trail map

Rockingham Recreational Trail at Massabesic Lake in Auburn, NH
The Rockingham Trail is one of our favorite biking spots but it’s also great for walking and meandering through the woods. You can enter the trail along Londonderry Turnpike (Bypass 28) or pick up the paths via the Massabesic Audubon Center, which is free to visit and explore.
Fee: free

Mount Kearsarge at Winslow State Park in Wilmot, NH
If you’re looking to climb up the side of a mountain and a beautiful summit view of the Connecticut River Valley, Mount Monadnock and the Green Mountains, then Mount Kearsarge is the hike for you. The 2.75 mile loop is a little steep but your kids will love climbing up the rock staircases and reward yourselves with a picnic at the flat summit.
Fee: state park fees
View more information and trail maps

Pack Monadnock at Miller State Park in Peterborough, NH
The Pack Monadnock hike is very kid-friendly and rated easy to moderate but it’s about a 6 mile round trip so make sure you give yourself plenty of time to accomplish the hike and set out earlier than later in the day. Kids will enjoy this hike because it leads to a fire tower and is especially beautiful covered in fall foliage.
Fee: state park fees
View directions and trail tips

Welch-Dickey Trail Loop in Waterville Valley, NH
While many experienced hikers set out to climb the challenging Mount Cardigan, families should head for Welch Mountain and Dickey Mountain, which is a moderately challenging hiking alternative with similar summit vistas. The 2.5 mile round trip is a great hike for ages 6 and up that should take a couple hours with a scenic payoff of the Waterville Valley and Franconia Ridge areas. You can park at the lot on Upper Mad River Road, located off of Route 49 (off exit 28 on 93 North).
Fee: Parking fees may apply
View more information and directions

Mount Israel in Sandwich, NH
Start your journey at the Mead Conservation Center, operated by the Squam Lakes Association, and take the Wentworth Trail for this 4 mile roundtrip journey. Although the hike can be a little ledgy and is recommended for children ages 9 and up, it’s a rewarding journey because after reaching the summit you’ll be able to enjoy stream swimming in Beede Falls.
Fee: free
View more information and directions

West Rattlesnake Mountain in Holderness, NH
The kids will love this quick and scenic 2 mile hike to the top of West Rattlesnake Mountain where they’ll be able to see Squam Lake and its many islands below. The most popular hiking path with an easy grade is the Old Bridle Path off Route 113. Don’t forget to pack a picnic to enjoy at the summit.
Fee: free
View more information

Bald Mountain and Artists Bluff in Franconia, NH
The Old Man is long gone but this short (1.5 mile) but steep path is easy and offers great views of Echo Lake. While you’re in the area, reward yourself with a trip to the Flume Gorge and visit Franconia Notch State Park.
Fee: free

Other spots and paths to check out:

Categories: Fall Fun, Outdoor Sports, Summer Fun