White Mountain National Forest

The White Mountain National Forest, located in New Hampshire and Maine is a wonderful place to visit. Spectacular views and a full range of outdoor activities are available. The Appalachian Trail runs through the Forest for 170 miles.


Ranger Offices

Visitor Centers


Sold by the State of New Hampshire to large logging companies in 1867, the WMNF area was a central part of the industry that had 1832 sawmills and 17 logging railroads in the state of New Hampshire. The Weeks Act permitted the repurchase of the lands starting in 1914 with the original purchase of 7,000 acres (28.32 km²). Today the White Mountain National Forest has grown to 800,000 acres (3,237 km²).

Due to the early settlement of the area the Forest contains many historical sites. Early day farms, logging camps, mills, factories, CCC camps, old railroads, cemeteries. The Penobscot, Passamaquoddy, Micman, and Maliseet, and other tribes in Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont see the White Mountains as a spiritual place. The highest peak in the northeast, Mt. Washington, as well as the largest expanse of alpine area in the eastern U.S. were heavily used for vision quests.


Several mountain ranges are in the forest, including the Presidential Range. Mount Washington's summit, at 6,288 ft (1916.6 m) is the highest peak in New England. The Forest includes four designated wilderness areas in which no logging is allowed.

Flora and fauna

Get in

By car

Interstate 93 passes through the Forest and is a direct route from Boston. Interstate 91 approaches near to the west side of the Forest. RT. 16 North

By air





In Winter:



Lisbon, Franconia, Glen, Jackson, Lincoln, North Conway, and Waterville Valley


There are 23 campgrounds in the Forest. Some are year-round, but most operate mid-May to mid-Oct. They have tent pads, picnic tables, fireplaces or fire rings, running water and toilets. All campgrounds provide basic services, with no hookups. Daily fees are charged to help cover costs and entrance signs identify fee areas.

Southern White Mountains NH

Kancamagus East and West NH

Zealand Valley NH

Northern Presidential NH

Evans Notch NH


The following restrictions apply to all of the Congressionally Designated Wildernesses, that is: Caribou-Speckled Mountain, Great Gulf, Presidential/Dry River, Sandwich Range, Pemigewasset.

Additional regulations for Presidential/Dry River and Pemigewasset:

No camping, wood or charcoal fires within 200 feet (61 m) of any trail except at designated campsites.

Additional regulations for the Great Gulf Wilderness:

Special Restrictions for the Cutler River Drainage (Including Tuckerman and Huntington Ravines)

Camping in the Alpine Zone (where trees are 8 feet (243 cm) tall or less)

Stay safe

For any emergency in White Mountain National Forest, dial 911 from any phone.


Black bears, moose and deer roam the White Mountains. Never leave food or scented items (deodorant, air fresheners) in your car or bring it into your tent. Bears have a keen sense of smell and will detect them. Do not approach animals, particularly young ones as the parent may be nearby. To avoid bear encounters while hiking, make noise so that the animal knows you are coming. Give all animals their space, and never feed any park wildlife. Stay alert and do not exceed the speed limit while driving. Hundreds of moose are hit each year, with fatal results for some drivers.


WARNING: The trails are most empathetically NOT FOR BEGINNERS! The weather in certain areas has a reputation the worst in America, as tons of snow can fall and cold weather can cause hypothermia. Even in the summer. There have been many deaths of unprepared hikers from exposure. There are signs which warn you about this. If bad weather does come along while in one of those areas, turn back immediately.

Other natural dangers in the park come from the weather. Hypothermia is a concern at higher elevations where temperatures can drop below freezing throughout the year. Dress in layers, and be prepared for storms and rapid changes in temperature. When storms are approaching avoid open areas such as the summits of the park's many granite domes; lightning strikes these areas regularly. If a storm does approach, get off of high, open ground. When hiking wear sturdy footwear and drink plenty of water - if you are thirsty that is an early sign of dehydration.

Go next

Vermont or the Maine Southern Coast are good next stops.

This article is issued from Wikivoyage - version of the Monday, February 08, 2016. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.