Snowshoeing is such a great outdoor winter sport for the whole family. If you love to get out and hike then snowshoeing is right up your alley. Generally, the trails are less crowded in winter and the views and vistas are stunning especially with snow on the trees.
We got our daughters snowshoes for Christmas last year and have been enjoying them ever since. Although snowshoeing can be more work than just hiking the rewards are huge. I personally love being in nature during the winter. The woods are so quiet and still. We also love looking for animal tracks.
Here are some of the best places to snowshoe in New Hampshire. These hikes aren’t too long and they all have amazing views. Check them out.
Thank you to fellow hikers for the use of your pictures in this post.
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Prior to hitting the trails, you do need to either purchase or rent equipment. In New Hampshire, you have many options which are great. I would suggest calling ahead at any location to reserve your equipment since stores are still under restrictions and working on limiting capacity inside. Here are some stores I recommend renting from. Don’t forget hiking poles.
- REI in North Conway
- Great American Ski Renting Co. in North Conway
- Mount Washington Resort in Bretton Woods
- Rogers Ski and Sport in Lincoln
- Plymouth Ski & Sports in Plymouth
- EMS – Eastern Mountain Sports in Concord
Before You Go Snowshoeing
As with any hike make sure to bring plenty of water. It is also a great idea to make sure you are hydrated prior to heading out. This means you are NOT thirsty in any way. I like to make sure everyone has their own water bottle or camelback. This way we can drink as we need.
Make sure your cell phone is fully charged. If you use your phone for directions to the trailhead, plug the phone in while you are driving so you don’t deplete your battery at all. We also bring our MiFi just in case the cell coverage isn’t good where we will be hiking.
It’s of course always a good idea to have an emergency kit in your car and another one you bring with you on the trails. Having food in your car for you at the end of the hike is a good idea too.
Know your trail. In fact, download your trail map just in case you don’t have cell coverage. Use Alltrails.com to get the latest info on the trail you will hike. I love this app because people are always leaving feedback on the trail condition and anything else they think is helpful. I personally love it when people leave photos of their hikes.
My theory is no matter how short a hike is, someone will always get hungry so bring snacks. High energy snacks like Kind bars or trail mix. These have great protein which helps keep you going plus some chocolate for quick energy. I love to hold back some of my kid’s Halloween candy and give it to the girls when we are hiking and skiing for some quick energy. Plus food like oranges and grapes are great for hiking as well.
Trail etiquette is super important especially when snowshoeing. If you see cross-country ski tracks – Do Not Step In Them! As snowshoers, we must hike on the side of the trail to preserve the ski tracks.
What to Wear Snowshoeing
Dress in layers. No matter what the weather is you should dress in layers. Non-cotton next to your skin and layer up from there. We start with fast-wicking long johns then we have fleece layers. Lastly, we have snow pants and our jackets.
Good snow boots to keep your feet dry. I highly recommend using wool socks like Bombas ski socks. You are sure to be warm wearing these.
Don’t forget a good set of gloves and a hat. If it’s snowing when you start out a pair of ski goggles is helpful as well.
Easy New Hampshire Snowshoeing Trails
These hikes are categorized as easy which means they are good for all athletic levels. Therefore, if you are new to snowshoeing or if you have very young children, I’d suggest you start with hikes like these ones. You can get your feet wet with the sport without too much effort.
Bear Brook State Park
Bear Brook State Park is in Allentown, New Hampshire, and has 10,000 acres for you and your family to enjoy. There are many great hikes for beginners to snowshoeing in this state park.
The Little Bear, Bobcat, and Broken Boulder Loop Trail is 5.1 miles on a loop trail. I’d suggest downloading a map for this trail, not all intersections have the best signage but the trails are really nice and this is certainly a good warm-up hike if you are just getting into snowshoeing.
Another great hike within Bear Brook State Park is Lynx and Beaver Pond Trail Loop. This loop trail is 4.8 miles long and has two nice ponds for you to take pictures around. This is a great trail for beginners.
Since this travel only has an elevation of 164 ft it is a great trail for beginners. The Bobcat Broken Boulder and Salt Lick Loop is 4.7 miles in a loop trail that meanders through woods and if you’d like to include a pond just add in Pitchpine Trail which will bring you to Spring Pond.
There are 35 miles of trails around Beaver Brook for you to explore from 10 different trailheads. All of these trails are great for snowshoeing since there isn’t much of an elevation gain. These trails feature rivers, ponds, streams, and even small waterfalls. I’d recommend Dam Road to Tupelo and Old City Trail for a good starting point. This is a 3.5-mile loop trail that is a bit steep in the beginning but levels out. If you don’t have a thick layer of snow you will see the tree roots. However, it’s a wonderful trail.
There are three trails in this area of Rochester that are good for families to explore. Isinglass Trail, Locke’s Loop, and Watson’s Way make up the circular trail that is 1.4 miles long. However, if you would like to extend your hike add in the full length of the Isinglass trail which will offer beautiful views of the Isinglass River. Adding this to the loop trail will bring the hike up to 4 miles long. Both trailheads can be accessed from Rochester Neck Road.
Tower Hill Pond Loop Trail
This 4-mile loop trail goes around Tower Pond in Auburn with great views of the lake at every turn. This is a very wide trail so you will see some mountain biking and such as you hike. I’m hoping to see a dog sled one day but as of today, I’ve only seen bikers, hikers, and strollers. This is certainly an easy trail so expect to see others out when you go. Make sure your camera is fully charged you will take lots of photos on this trail.
Chamberlain-Reynolds Memorial Forest Loop
This loop trail is 2.3 miles long and located near Moultonborough, New Hampshire right off Route 3 on College Rd by the Dog Cove portion of Squam Lake. This is a perfect place for a first-time snowshoe hike with little kids. It’s not long and you will have plenty of time to see the pond and romp around in the snow on these easy trails.
Mine Falls Green Trail Loop
This trail is on the islands within the Nashua River. There are so many trails whether it’s staying along the outside of the island to see the river or cutting across the island to loop back, you can make this trail as long as you would like it to be. It’s truly beautiful when it’s covered in snow.
More Adventures in New Hampshire
- Looking for another adventure in New Hampshire? Look no farther than my post on this epic White Mountain road trip with kids.
- Another great adventure is the ice castles in New Hampshire.
Moderate New Hampshire Snowshoeing Trails
Once you’ve tried your hand at snowshoeing and you and your family enjoy it, it’s time to get out and do a moderate hike. This might mean a steeper trail but I can assure you the rewards are worth the effort. You will learn quickly how to dig your toes in to get a good grip as you step into the mountain.
Old Bridle Path
The Old Bridle Path 1.7 mile trail leads to a rock ledge on top of Rattlesnake Mountain with an amazing view of Squam Lake where On Golden Pond was filmed. This trail is written up as easy but with the incline, you have to hike and the stairs to navigate, for snowshoeing I rate it as moderate. It is very doable even with kids, you’ll just need to have some poles and extra energy.
Mount Willard Trail
You will be rewarded by a beautiful vista when you reach the summit of this beloved 3.2-mile trail near Bretton Woods. Mount Willard over looks Rt 302 but with the way the mountain rises up on both sides of the road you feel far away and you can really admire the beauty. This is quite a popular trail that starts behind Crawford Station so start off early to beat any crowds.
Lonesome Lake Trail
The Lonesome Lake Trail is located within Franconia Notch State Park and has an AMC hut on the far side of the lake. If you’ve never stayed in an AMC hut this is your chance. Not only do you get a warm place to sleep but also a hot family-style meal. Meeting other hikers is also a priceless experience especially for kids just starting out. Since this trail is a bit steeper I highly recommend poles as well as your snowshoes and take it slow on the way down.
Champney Falls Trail
Now you know I’m a sucker for a waterfall and this trail doesn’t disappoint. This trail is a 3.1-mile loop to these falls in Conway, New Hampshire. However, if you add on the 1.2 miles to the summit of Mount Chocorua you will enjoy a commanding view of the whites. You do cross the river in a few places so be careful doing so. Also, cell coverage can be spotting so be sure to download a map.
Arethusa Falls Trails
The Arethusa Falls Trails to Arethusa Falls is a well-trafficked trail in Bartlett. If you add Bemis Brook Trail you add 4/10th of a mile more but it’s also a really nice addition. The falls do freeze so be aware of this prior to setting out but either way they are spectacular. Make sure to have a set of poles along with your snowshoes.
Pin for Later on Snowshoeing
Final Thoughts on Snowshoeing in New Hampshire
My family has really enjoyed snowshoeing these last couple of winters and exploring new trails is always fun and exciting. I look forward to finding even more trails to explore this winter.
Do you like to snowshoe?