Route I-93 & I-95 are the gateway highways to New Hampshire.
In a nutshell, The White Mountains National Forest, covering 780,00 acres in New Hampshire and Maine is characterized by forests, gorges, rushing rivers, pristine lakes and ponds, boulder strewn ravines, waterfalls, U-shaped mountain passes called "notches" and dramatic alpine mountain peaks over 6,000 feet including Mt. Washington, the highest peak in the Northeast, rising to 6,288 feet.
All year, a wealth of outdoor recreational activities in White Mountain National Forest are available. There are five designated Federal Wilderness Areas, about 1,200 miles of hiking trails (including 100 miles of the Appalachian Trail), 23 campgrounds and a vast network of forest roads. Several downhill and cross-country ski areas located within or in close proximity to the National Forest become mountain biking and outdoor centers during the warmer months. No wonder the WMNF is one of the most visited National Parks in the United States and the premier mountain biking destination in New Hampshire.
Ranger Districts include Ammonoosuc in the northwest , Androscoggin in the northeast, Pemigewasset in the southwest and Saco in the southeast. Maine's Evans Notch, (a former ranger district) serves as an information center.
The White Mountain National Forest is traversed by several major roads that provide easy access to it's system of trails including the 34-mile long Kancamagus Scenic Byway and Route 302. Both routes offer spectacular views of the Presidential Mountain Range.
The Franconia Notch State Park Recreational Trail (Franconia Notch Bike Path) is one of the most popular road biking tours in the White Mountains. The bike route parallels the Franconia Notch State Parkway. The scenic 20 mile round trip brings riders within easy reach of park attractions which include the Flume Gorge, the Old Man of the Mountain Profile, Profile Lake, Boise Rock, the Basin, Cannon Mountain Aerial Tramway and Echo Lake.
Although mountain biking is prohibited in the Wilderness Areas and on the Appalachian Trail, it is presently unrestricted in the White Mountain National Forest. Biking is permitted on almost all National Forest woods roads, old railroad grades, and most hiking and ski trails. It depends on your cooperation and consideration to remain that way.
The extensive network of unpaved woods roads and trails are excellent for mountain biking and vary in length, locale and degree of difficulty. The time it takes to complete a route varies on the steepness and technicality of the trail as well as your physical condition. Know your limits. We focus mostly on the easy to moderate and less technical rides. and have included some advanced side trails where they branch off or extend from our featured routes.
Note: If you park at one of the White Mountain National Forests trailheads you will need to have one of the following: a year long parking sticker, a one week parking pass, or a ticket from the self-serve parking fee stations at some trailheads. Check the National Forest Parking Pass program for details. It's always a good idea not to leave valuables in the car and lock it before your ride.
If you are planning to bicycle on local highways, remember that summer traffic in the Whites can be extremely heavy, so be careful! Avoid busy summer weekends if possible.
Be considerate of Hikers and Pedestrians. Slow down and yield the right of way when approaching foot travelers or equestrians. To prevent resource damage, Avoid riding on muddy trails or after heavy rain. Stay on designated roads or trails, and avoid trampling vegetation.
The mountains in this region demand respect. The weather is unpredictable. Be prepared for sudden cold, windy or rainy weather conditions. Bring warm clothing, rain gear, food, water, emergency first aid kit, bike repair tools and a good map. Let someone know where you are going and expected time of return.
Maps: Trail descriptions and maps are available at all Ranger Stations and the Supervisor's Office. Regional bike maps of New Hampshire, including one for the White Mountains, are available free of charge at state welcome centers, rest areas and the White Mountains Visitor Center, or downloaded from NHDOT's Bureau of Transportation website.
The AMC White Mountain Guide comes with a set of maps for all the hiking trails in the White Mountains. You can also purchase them a la carte. Delorme and the USGS maps cover most of the White Mountains, but may not be as detailed or up to date as the AMC map.
The White Mountain National Forest is home to a variety of wildlife, including 184 species of birds, whitetail deer, black bear, fox, beaver, river otters, snakes, turtles and moose. Most moose sightings occur at dusk or dawn. During summer months, they eat succulent, sodium rich, aquatic vegetation in or near swamps, bogs, and wet forest edges. The Kancamagus Highway and northern-most sections of the White Mountain National Forest are well known for numerous moose sightings, though moose can be found throughout the forest.
The White Mountain provides a variety of developed camping opportunities in 23 campgrounds scattered around the Forest. They range in size from seven to 176 sites. Some accept reservations, others are first-come, first-served. Some provide running water and flush toilets, others are more on the rustic side. Several can accommodate recreational vehicles, but none offer hook ups, dump stations, or telephones. Check with the Ranger Stations for back-country camping information.
State parks in the White Mountains Region include: Bedell Bridge Historic Site, Crawford Notch State Park, Echo Lake State Park, Eisenhower Memorial Wayside Park, Forest Lake State Park, Franconia Notch State Park, Moose Brook State Park, and Mt, Washington State Park. They offer campground facilities, visitor centers, swimming, road bike touring, mountain biking, hiking, fishing, picnic areas, boating, scenic viewing, spectacular natural and historical features.
There are several towns in the area that offer accommodations, restaurants and shopping. Intervale, Jackson and North Conway are three of the more established towns in the area and offer access to some of the major attractions in the Mount Washington Valley. Those visitors with limited mobility can reach the top of Mt. Washington mountain via the historic Mount Washington COG Railway that leaves from a station just outside North Conway. The Mount Washington Valley is also one of the best places in the state to visit some of New Hampshire's covered bridges.
For More Information:
Pemigewasset/Ammonoosuc Ranger District
Phone: (603) 536-1310
Androscoggin Ranger District
Phone: (603) 466-2713 x 0
Saco Ranger District
Phone: (603) 447-5448 x 0
Phone: (207) 824-2134
White Mountain National Forest Supervisor's Office
Phone: (603) 528-8721
Website: Mountains National Forest Recreation