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Top 27 Best Hikes & Views in New England (From a Local)

Wondering about the best hikes in New England?! Whether you’re looking for the tallest mountains, the best views, hikes along the famous and longest hiking footpath in the world (the Appalachian Trail), or lesser-known or kid-friendly hikes worth doing – you’ve come to the right place!

woman on top of most epic hike in new england franconia ridge
Best ridgeline hike in New Hampshire, number 2 on our list!๐Ÿ’—โ›ฐ

In my decades of living and hiking in New England and since I plan my weekends around where I’m going to hike – you can trust that you’ll find amazing views and hikes you may have never heard of on this “must-do” hikes in New England list.

Here are 27 hikes that stand out above all the rest, the hikes that I think are worth doing not once but twice or more even if difficult!

I am always hunting for the best views where I live in CT and often drive for day or weekend trips in New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, and Maine.

While we’ve got several states and millions of acres of national parks and forests to wander, don’t be overwhelmed by the vastness of New England’s wilderness. Instead, get out your notepad ๐Ÿ—’ and start making out your New England hiking list.

We are about to embark on a multi-state New England hiking tour. Lace up your boots and let’s start our adventure!

best hike in new england, franconia ridge trail
Franconia Ridge, New Hampshire

It’s time to break down the best places to hike per state… let’s go! ๐Ÿฅพโ›ฐ

Table of Contents

The Best Hikes in New England – By State

New Hampshire

If there was ever a dream hiking state in New England, it would be New Hampshire! When I think of New Hampshire I think its dozens and dozens of mountains.

New Hampshire is where you should go for your big mountain adventure!

Home to the rugged White Mountains (in the 800,000-acre White Mountain National Forest) which make up about a quarter of the state and 160.9 miles of the Appalachian Trail, there is no shortage of amazing hikes here!

There’s so much to hike in NH that there are even TWO hiking lists; the NH 48 (48 mountains over 4,000 feet) and the 52 WAV (52 with a view!).

The White Mountains, NH 48 list, and 52 WAV list have some overlap but all contain the very best hikes in New England.

With all that being said (hope I didn’t confuse you! ;)) let me list the top hikes here in New Hampshire:

1. Mount Washington via Tuckerman Ravine and Lion Head; Tallest mountain in New England

I had to lead off this best New England hiking list with the king of them all! The tallest mountain in New England at 6,288 feet, Mount Washington.

mount washington hike in winter

Once you catch the outline of this beauty from afar you’ll love being able to point it out. Mount Washington looms in the distance from the tops of many other hikes on this list and being able to climb it and say you’ve climbed it is an accomplishment!

A popular and well trodden route up this bad boy is the Tuckerman Ravine and Lion Head Trail. I don’t advise doing this one in the winter, but I am assuming you are maybe new to hiking in New England and weren’t going to go for the hardest mountain in the toughest month! If so be sure to do plenty of research as Mount Washington summit is know for having the world’s worst weather and highest ever recorded wind speeds.

Check weather conditions before hiking here. And if you do want to consider it in winter, check out my post about hiking Mount Washington in the winter!

2. Mount Lafayette & Franconia Ridge Trail Loop; Most Scenic Ridgeline

This hike deserves to be the number two spot on this best New England hikes list. The infamous Franconia Ridge is perhaps the most popular (and challenging) ridge hike on our list.

Top 10 Best Hikes in New Hampshire with Amazing Views

It will take you about 3.1 miles and almost 2,900 feet of elevation to get to Haystack Mountain which but from there you’ll encounter spectacular panoramic views for a whole mile while up on Franconia Ridge.

This hike is more like an unforgettable adventure taking you up Haystack Mountain (the first 4,000 footer), Mount Lincoln summit (the second) and last on the ridge will be Mount Lafayette (the third).

A quintessential New England hike giving you a true taste of the gorgeous views and rugged hiking trails in New Hampshire.

3. Welch-Dickey Loop; Best Views Moderate hike

You’ll be challenged by this 4 mile loop with it’s almost 1,800 feet of elevation gain.

best hike in new england
with black dog and pink tongue with green mountains in the background
Captain so happy!! :)))

This is not a NH48 hike but it is listed on the 52WAV (52 with a view).

And there will be multiple views you’ll ooh and ahh at here. But don’t think this is an easy hike!

You’ll be walking on your toes up the steep steep slabs of rock feeling like a mountain goat! But this hike is favorite and should definitely be on your best-of-New England hike list!a

4. Artist Bluff Trail; Kid-friendly & short

At 1.5 miles total, Artist Bluff is a super scenic, short, and POPULAR hike in New Hampshire. It is one of the best shorter hikes in New Hampshire.

woman on artists bluff hike in winter with snow
Artists Bluff on a winter day โ„๏ธโ˜ƒ๏ธ
view from artists bluff hike in fall
Same spot in the fall ๐Ÿ๐Ÿ‚ (September)
view from artists bluff hike in winter
View from the parking lot in winter! ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ“ธ

It’s an iconic view that you may have seen before when researching the best hikes in New Hampshire.

Sit on top of a ledge high above and over Echo Lake and the roads of 93 and Rt 18 stretched out before you. Just make sure you go early on a weekend or weekday!

5. Mount Willard; Most Dramatic Views for a Moderate Hike

Can you believe these views for just 3.1 miles round trip?! I couldn’t either!

mount willard hike new hampshire
Highway 302 below
woman and two dogs on top of mount willard in new hampshire with gorgeous green mountain views
My boys ๐Ÿถ๐Ÿ’š๐Ÿ’™

I had to include this moderate but short hike on oour best of New England list and perhaps you recognize this view.

After about 900 feet of climbing you’ll be perched high on Mount Willard with an incredible view of the Crawford Notch Valley and Route 302 below.

And if you’re in the area, check out my post of 9 other amazing hikes in Crawford Notch State Park!

6. Frankenstein Cliffs & Arethusa Falls; Views + Tallest Waterfall in NH

These views plus the tallest waterfall in New Hampshire?! This hike must be on your New England hiking list!

Top 10 Best Hikes in New Hampshire with Amazing Views
Wow, that fruity pebble fall view! Doesn’t get much better….
tallest waterfall in new hampshire arethusa falls in summer
Arethusa Falls, tallest waterfall in NH

A 4.9-mile loop with about 1,700 feet of elevation gain, taking the trail counter-clockwise you’ll first hit Frankenstein Cliffs which is an experience in itself.

Enjoy the views of Crawford Notch State Park endlessly stretched out before you and then continuing on you’ll hit Arethusa Falls, the tallest in NH, at the 3.4 mile mark. Enjoy this beautiful day!

7. North & Middle Sugarloaf; Best for Sunrise

While not a 4,000-footer, this is a super scenic hike with TWO different mountains and vistas with sweeping views.

new hampshire middle sugarloaf hike for sunrise with golden sun and green mountain layers
Summer sunrise on Middle Sugarloaf ๐ŸŒ…
north sugarloaf hike view in new hampshire in winter with snow
Winter sunrise from North Sugarloaf

I’ve done a sunrise hike up both North Sugarloaf and up Middle Sugarloaf. The view from Middle Sugarloaf is more expansive with almost 360-degree views so if I had to choose one it would be Middle.

Luckily, you can cover both North & Middle from the 3.3-mile Sugarloaf Trail which has just over 1,000 feet of elevation gain.

8. Mount Pierce; Best for Sunset

Mount Pierce is a great hike for your first 4,000-footer or warm-up mountain for the hiking season.

spring view at top of mount pierce in new hampshire with wildflowers
Mount Pierce in late May ๐ŸŒธ
black dog at top of mount pierce at sunset in summer
Mount Pierce at sunset time in June
view from mount pierce in new hampshire for sunset
Sunset in June

Summiting Mount Pierce via Crawford Path is a 5.9-mile round trip trek with about 2,400 feet of elevation gain.

This is a rocky trail and getting to the top won’t come easy but if you want a bench with a western view toward Mount Washington as the sun goes down – then set your sights on the top of Pierce!

Check out my post outlining 3 different trails to take to hike Mount Pierce!

9. Mount Crawford; NH’s Best Kept Secret!

I am calling Mount Crawford hike via Davis Path Trail the best kept secret because it doesn’t get the attention that I think it deserves!

black dog on top of mount crawford in new hampshire at dusk with green mountain layers in distance
Overcast sunset
black dog on top of mount crawford in new hampshire at dusk with green mountain layers in distance
Look at all those layers!! โ›ฐ
mount crawford in new hampshire at dusk with green mountain layers in distance
View from the false summit on the way up to Pierce

It’s not a 4,000-footer which takes it off the table for those obsessed with that NH48 list, and it’s not easy!

But its views of Crawford Notch State Park and the valley below rival those of any 4,000-footer! And, it was nice not to encounter many people on the trail.

10. Mount Jefferson via Caps Ridge Trail; Most Thrilling & 2nd Tallest in NH

There are so many big mountains and epic hikes in New Hampshire but I wanted to put the second tallest mountain in New England on this list.

woman on top of Mount Jefferson in new hampshire in fall
Wow, don’t forget to turn around on your way up! ๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ

This hike, at 5.6 miles and 2,700 feet of elevation gain, is a challenge! But as you climb up you’ll slowly forget all about it as you are rewarded with the most amazing views.

It may not seem like a lot of elevation or miles but as you near the top you encounter two huge piles of rocks! Is the best way to describe it.

It will be tiring, stepping on each one as if you’re on a stairmaster and it seems like it will never end. But, looking back on it and through these photos, I’d love to try this hike again!

Vermont

You can’t think about hiking in New England without thinking of the rolling green mountains of Vermont!

Vermont is home to the Green Mountains and more than 400,000 acres of the Green Mountain National Forest.

The Appalachian Trail (the nationโ€™s oldest long-distance hiking route) runs through Vermont for about 160 miles, overlapping with a portion of Vermont’s Long Trail.

While Vermont doesn’t have as many mountains as New Hampshire (just 5 over 4,000 feet), it has plenty of rolling hills, ledges, and scenic trails. Several of New England’s best hikes exist in Vermont.

11. Mount Mansfield; Tallest Mountain in Vermont

Endless and dreamy views atop Vermont’s tallest mountain, 4395 feet in the sky!

woman standing at the top of mount mansfield in summer with green mountains
Feeling proud!! And tired…
woman hiking up mount mansfield trail in summer surrounded by green trees
Just one of the view on the way up to the top..
trail signs at the top of mount mansfield

The hike up Mount Mansfield is definitely a journey and it’s not easy. But if you are looking for an epic hike with some of the best views in New England then look no further than Mount Mansfield!

And there are a few different routes to get up there so get all the details in my hiking Mount Mansfield post!

12. Camel’s Hump; VT’s 2nd Tallest & Best for Sunset! ๐ŸŒ…

Another spectaculr hike in VT for big summit views that will make your head spin!

woman and two dogs on top of camels hump in vermont at sunset with golden sun and green mountains
See the sunset over Lake Champlain in the distance! Wow ๐Ÿ’—

I mean, seriously, look at all the beauty you’re surrounded by up here.

The only thing that made it better was hiking here to watch the sunset in the west over Lake Champlain.

I wrote about 3 scenic trails to the top of Camel’s Hump so take your pick and put this mountain on your New England hiking list!

13. Mount Pisgah: Most Unique (Lake Willoughby!) Views

For just 4 miles round trip and about 1,650 feet of elevation gain you encounter multiple ledges where you’ll be perched way high above the glistening waters of Lake Willoughby in northern VT.

mount pisgah hike in vermont in winter
Lake Willoughby, Vermont
best hike in new england at lake willougby in vermont
drone shot of lake Willoughby in vermont winter
Drone shot of the lake

The view of the lake flanked by rolling Vermont mountains on either side is breathtaking. In the summer the water takes on a turquoise, Caribbean green look, and in winter it is deep blue.

This is a hike I will most definitely keep coming back to and telling people about. A top hike in Vermont, you will not be disappointed with the views here!

14. Ice Beds Trail; Best Kid-Friendly (Short) Hike

Just north of Manchester is this super short (1.6-mile round trip) hike in the 36,400 acres White Rocks National Recreation Area.

With views like this for less than a mile, this is a perfect short hike in Vermont if you are looking to bring a beginner but want to get big New England summit views.

15. Mount Tom, Woodstock; Quintessential Vermont view:

We hear of National Parks out west but did you know that there’s a National Park right in Vermont?

That is where this Mount Tom hike is located; in the idyllic town of Woodstock’s very own Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Historical Park.

At just 2.8 miles round trip you’ll experience an enchanting walk amongst the tall Pine, Spruce, and Hemlock trees that make up this National Park. At the top enjoy a view of the village of Woodstock, Vermont where you’ll be able to spot its white steeple churches, the historic Woodstock Inn, and the rest of the downtown.

16. Killington Peak; Best Ski Mountain Trail

Killington is Vermont’s 2nd tallest mountain and you can get to the top of it by following the wide ski paths for just 2 miles (4.1 round trip).

man and woman and dogs atop killington hike in vermont in summer
Jared & I at top of Killington in June

This hike is a great experience as you get to summit a New England mountain above 4,000 feet but without any difficult or scary ledges or scrambles that a lot of the other mountains have.

So if you consider yourself a beginner to medium hiker but are looking for BIG views and a moderate challenge then check out Killington Peak. How it felt to me was just like being on a treadmill incline for a couple miles. ๐Ÿฅด No sweat! ๐Ÿ™‚

Massachusetts

You may not think of Massachusetts for having some excellent hiking but you may only be thinking of the area around Boston!

Have you ever been hiking in the Berkshires? Located on the westernmost side of Massachusetts, the Berkshires scenic are highlands  that lie between the Housatonic and Connecticut Rivers. The segment of the Taconic Mountains in Massachusetts is often considered a part of the Berkshires.

Named among the 12 Last Great Places by The Nature Conservancy, I was lucky enough to live and explore here in the Berkshires for several years and often make the trip up from CT.

And in the Berkshires, the Appalachian Trail runs for 91 miles from South Egremont to the top of the Berkshires in North Adams.

Along this section of the Appalachian Trail in MA is where you’ll find some of the best hikes in New England and in Massachusetts.

17. Mount Greylock; Tallest Mountain in MA

If you’re in southern New England, then put Massachusett’s tallest mountain on your New England hiking list!

Living in the Berkshires for several years, everyone knows about Mount Greylock. There’s the observatory tower at the top and Bascam Lodge to visit for lunch, snacks or history of the mountain.

It’s a mountain you can drive to the top of in non-winter months, but I’ve always loved the climb!

18. Mount Race; Best Open Ridge in MA

Journey up Mount Race for a wide open ridge that’s big enough to host a whole party up here!

woman in pink tank top and shots with dog in summer on mountain top with green hills and view behind them in massachusetts

Really, just when you think the view is good you walk around and find a new favorite spot. This is the kind of wide-open summit top where you drop your pack from exhaustion and wander around the top like it’s your home.

Located on the Appalachian Trail the views aren’t the eastern facing views aren’t the only reason to hike here.

You’ll also encounter the super tall (67 feet) Race Brook Falls! And if you’re in the area and looking for more to do check out my post on 10 must-see waterfalls in the Berkshires or 13 beautiful hikes in the Berkshires!

19. Alander Mountain; MA’s Best Secret

Alander Mountain is right where CT, MA, and NY meet. It’s a favorite for me and for 5.8 miles round trip you’re treated to a true mountain hike with sweeping views before you.

pink mountain laurel bush on top of alander mountain in massachusetts with green mountains in background
Love the pink mountain laurel! (June) ๐Ÿ’—๐ŸŒธ

The views up here face west in NY state and would be an epic place to watch the sunset. I haven’t tried that yet!

20. Monument Mountain; Most Popular (and Kid-Friendly) in MA

Everyone’s favorite small mountain to climb in the Berkshires. ๐Ÿ™‚

But look at it! for just 2.4 miles total you’re treated to a wide-open ridgeline (careful with dogs and kids, it’s steep!) and views that make you want to do this one again.

sunrise view from monument mountain in great barrington with orange strip in sky
View at sunrise from top of Monument Mountain
woman in coral tank top sitting atop rock on monument mountain in great barrington looking out at the view of green hills and grass below with blue skies
Angle angle in summer
sunrise view from monument mountain in great barrington with orange strip in sky

The location just minutes outside of downtown Great Barrington and the downtown of Stockbridge makes this a perfect hike if you want to take in the little Berkshire towns, bakeries, and endless cafes and good places to eat!

Connecticut

If you think the best hikes in New England belong only to states with the big boys โ›ฐโ›ฐ then think again!

Connecticut has lots of amazing hikes and views. A lot of these can be found in the Berkshire mountain range which extends from western MA down to the northwest corner of CT.

We’ve also got about 50 miles of the Appalachian Trail running through the northwest corner of CT which is where you will find some of the best hiking in southern New England.

Don’t skip out on hiking in CT! Let’s check out some favorite and worthwhile hikes below,

21. Bear Mountain; Tallest mountain in CT

Come on and give CT hiking a chance! ๐Ÿ™‚

If you’re looking for the best hikes in New England then don’t forget about our state and the tallest mountain in CT!

woman in white tank top smiling feeding black dog on top of bear mountain in ct in summer with green grass mountains in background
woman in white tank top smiling feeding black dog on top of bear mountain in connecticut in summer with green grass mountains in background

Check out my post on hiking Bear Mountain which offers 3 different routes to get here.

I think my favorite is the third route in that post which takes you through all the waterfalls of Sage’s Ravine and then up to the top of Bear!

22. Cobble Mountain; CT’s Best Secret

Located in the incredibly scenic 2300-acre Macedonia Brook State Park in Kent, this 3.5 mile loop will take you through the park and up to the top of Cobble Mountain.

woman in white short sleeve shirt and brown dog on top of cobble mountain in kent connecticut looking out at all the green mountains with the blue sky
man looking out from top of mountain at green hills in connecticut
See all the way to the Catskill Mountains here

From here you can see west to the Catskills in NY and north to the Berkshires in MA. If you are looking for the best hikes in southern New England this is a worthwhile hike to put on your list.

While here check out the cute town of Kent with its quaint downtown and award-winning restaurants! Read all about my post on things to do in Kent and where to eat after your hike!

23. Caleb’s Peak; Best CT AT Lookout

There are shorter versions to get to Caleb’s Peak but the link included in the title above is the 8.9 mile, 2700 feet of elevation gain journey on one of the most beautiful sections of the Appalachian Trail in CT.

24. Rands View; Best Non-Summit View in CT

Rands View is a jaw dropping view that emerges after just a couple miles on the Appalachian Trail.

Unlike all the other views on this list that arrive at the top of something, Rands View emerges out of the level woods and what feels like out of nowhere!

black dog in open field meadow view with green grass and orange colored leaves in distance in early fall in connecticut
Spectacular!!
Connecticut appalachian trail green meadow view and orange trees in distance
Connecticut appalachian trail green meadow view and orange trees in distance
Does it get more scenic?! ๐ŸŒณ๐Ÿงก๐ŸŒณ

Check out my post about 3 different hikes to Rands View to choose which one you’ll take.

I think this is such a unique view; the whole wide open valley looking north into the Berkshires and other hikes on this list like Bear Mountain in CT. It will have you spinning like Julie Andrews in the Sound of Music! โ›ฐ๐ŸŽถ

25. Pine Knob Loop; Best Short Hike

All this beauty for just a 2.5 mile loop?! And waterfalls, too?? Sign yourself up!

man in red flannel sitting atop pine knob lookout in connecticut at rolling green mountains speckled in orange
Housatonic River Valley below
pine knob loop hike along bread loaf mountain connecticut
View at sunrise in November

I had to put Pine Knob Loop on the list because it’s a gorgeous southern New England hike that makes you feel like you’re somewhere more remote in Vermont.

Maine

Maine is huge and there’s a lot to explore that’s spread out.

The Maine highlands houses the state’s tallest mountain, Katahdin in Baxter State Park, about 209,000 acres located in the top half of Maine.

Then you have Acadia National Park which is mostly located on Mount Desert Island, the largest island off the coast of Maine.

Then you have Kennebec Valley and Maine’s midcoast in between. As the VisitMaine website says; Trying to choose the greatest Maine hiking spot is as pointless as trying to pick the prettiest Maine tree in autumn. There are just too many good ones.

26. Mount Katahdin; Tallest mountain in Maine

Maine’s tallest mountain at 5,270 feet is one of the hardest and best single mountain hikes in New England.

It doesn’t come at an easy price though with its 10.9 miles and over 4,200 feet of elevation gain.

mount katahdin maine
best hike in new england mount katahdin maine
Photo Courtesy of AllTrails

While I haven’t done Katahdin yet I have heard all about its glory and it’s very high on my hiking list. I wanted to include it here for you as it is one of the ultimate hikes in New England.

Here is a snippet from AllTrails:

The Hunt Trail begins in the forest and then begins a very rocky climb up to the summit of Mount Katahdin. Sections of the trail are exposed with steep drop offs, so hikers should be prepared for this type of terrain. The route spends big stretches above tree line and treats hikers to incredible views for almost the entire way.

27. Precipice Trail; Thrilling with scrambles & ladders!

Another Maine hike that’s on my list! The Precipice Trail is a difficult and very steep loop trail using iron rungs and ladders on exposed cliffs providing spectacular views of Acadia National Park.

precipice trail in maine hike in fall
Photo Courtesy of AllTrails
precipice trail in maine hike in fall
Photo Courtesy of AllTrails

From AllTrails: Acadia National Park charges a fee to enter. Fees are per vehicle or per motorcycle. If you are entering on foot, horse, or bike the fee is per person. You can also purchase a park-specific annual pass. Please check with the park’s website for current rate information. โ€ข Protective Closure: This area is subject to closure due to falcon nesting (approximately mid April – mid-August). For more information, please visit https://www.nps.gov/acad/planyourvisit/conditions.htm The Precipice Trail is a difficult and very steep loop trail using iron rungs and ladders on exposed cliffs providing spectacular views of Acadia National Park.

So that’s it folks!

I hope you enjoyed this round-up of New England’s very best hikes and views.

While of course, there are several more that can be mentioned, these are the ones that stand out the most and I will continue adding to this list as I get more hikes under my belt. ๐Ÿ™‚

I hope you found your next hike (or two or three) on this list. While it sometimes feels like we have so many we want to do and so little time, it’s nice to have some picked out to look forward to.

Happy trails!! ๐Ÿ’—๐Ÿถ๐Ÿฅพ

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