New England is the perfect place to get outdoors and enjoy nature. Here are some of our favorite places to hike with kids in New Hampshire.
When we moved to New Hampshire we set out to get to know our new home state as fast as we could. We learned with many moves the best way to make a place home is to get to know it and make some favorite places. Okay, so many of those places also include donuts, and I document that well with the best donut shops in New Hampshire. And that, my friends, is all the more reason we also needed to discover the best places to hike in New Hampshire.
Our kids are a bit older, and one of the things that held us back from hiking over the years was the thought of taking young kids hiking. It seemed a little daunting. (Just like letting kids in the kitchen to cook may seem daunting to some of you.) The first place I go when looking for places to hike is recommendations from friends.
The second thing I do is use online resources like Visit NH and the All Trails app. This is how I get the scoop on the best hiking options when we travel across the country. I will note I’ve found the app version of “Easy” is not always the same as mine. That being said, it’s still a helpful tool. Looking at the pictures and other people’s feedback is important there as well as looking at the elevation gain.
Once you know those tricks it makes it a little easier, but I’m going to make it even easier than that. I’m sharing a few great places to hike with kids here in New Hampshire that we’ve hiked ourselves and are comfortable taking younger kids on too. And by younger, I mean 3 years old walking the whole time, or younger a mixture of walking/being carried. Bring a carrier!
- Tower Hill Pond Loop (Auburn, NH)- There is a 3.8 mile loop around the pond. We’ve never hiked the whole thing but we parked off Tower-Hill Rd. in a small parking area and walked to the pond and around the edge a bit with young children and it is relatively flat. I’m told the path around the pond is quite wide and easy to hike also.
- Diana’s Baths (North Conway, NH) – There is a $5 National Forest fee to park and it gets busy in summer, but it’s well-worth the wait to get parking. Bring a change of clothes so the kids can splash in the water. Note: there are some boulders and steep places here that I would not be comfortable with young kids being on. However, there is also a nice flat section they can splash in with supervision.
- The Basin/Cascade Brook (Lincoln, NH) – We’ve only hiked up the right side of Cascade Brook to where it crosses the brook (no bridge). The trail is relatively easy for even a 3-year old and the view along the way is gorgeous with the brook cascading down the mountainside.
- Mink Brook Nature Preserve (Hanover, NH) – This is yet another gorgeous place to hike and is relatively flat. It winds along beside a creek behind some houses and into the woods. When we were there there was a sign warning that there were bears in the woods but we didn’t see any. Like hiking in any woods, always be prepared.
- Lake Massabesic Trail (Auburn, NH) – This is an easy trail that is popular in the area. There is an Audubon Center here that is great to visit with kids when it is open. (If you’re reading this in May, 2020 it’s not currently open due to the current world environment.)
- Odiorne Point Loop Trail (Rye NH) – This is one of my favorite places to hike. There’s nothing better than hiking along the ocean. Plus there’s bathrooms and a nice playground for the kids. The Seacoast Science Center is also located here. You do need to pay to park in the lot because it’s a state park. If you have a NH State Park pass you can get in for free. Residents, check your library for passes!
- Pulpit Rock (New Boston, NH) – You’ll find this one listed as Kenard Trail to Martin Trail. My family hiked this one on a day I wasn’t able to. My understanding is that most of it is easy to hike with a couple tougher spots for kids.
- Dorrs Pond Loop (Manchester, NH) – this is an easy 1 mile hike around the pond. Plus, there’s a really nice playground for a variety ages to play on.
- Andres Institute of Art Trails (Brookline, NH) – This is a trail we haven’t been to yet but has been recommended as great for families to hike and enjoy art at the same time. This seems like a win-win for families. It’s on my list to visit soon.
- Old Bridle Path (Center Sandwich, NH) – We haven’t been to this trail yet. However, I felt it was a good one to share as multiple friends with young children find this to be a doable hike or “starter trail.”
These are just a few of the great hiking trails New Hampshire has to offer families with young kids. We’ll be sure to add more as we discover them. What are some of your favorite kid-friendly hiking trails in your area? Leave a comment with the trail name and where it’s located in the comments.