Hiking is a great way to get kids outdoors (and away from electronic devices), foster their appreciation of nature, create family bonds, and get some exercise. Plus, it’s free! The North Country (aka, Great North Woods) of New Hampshire is blessed with an abundance of hiking trails that are ideal for families with young kids, or beginner hikers in general. Here are 5 of the best:
This short hike to the source of the Connecticut River crisscrosses the international boundary with Canada. At just over half a mile long, the trail is the ideal length for young kids, who will enjoy the scenery and the thrill of technically standing in another country and at the headwaters of a mighty river that flows 410 miles to Long Island Sound.
Dixville Notch State Park offers several scenic hikes. The most popular is the Table Rock Trail. This short loop trail brings you to Table Rock, which offers stunning views from the top of a sheer cliff rising several hundred feet. The eastern section of the trail to Table Rock is steep, while the western section offers the easiest approach. *Note: Table Rock itself features some narrow, steep, and dangerous sections, so be sure to keep an eye on your kids once you reach the top.
This hike in nearby Averill, Vermont, takes hikers along a well-marked trail through a scenic forest. The climb to the top of Brousseau Mountain (2,714 feet) is steady and takes roughly 30 minutes. The summit is covered by trees, but a short side trail leads to a lookout where you can enjoy stunning views of the surrounding forest, as well as the White and Green Mountain ranges in the distance.
This trail begins at Second Connecticut Lake and offers an easy walk along the Connecticut River to a scenic cascade and gorge. Along the way, you’ll cross wooden walkways through swampy areas and enjoy beautiful meadows along the river.
Few hiking experiences can compare with encountering a moose in the wild! It’s something your kids—and you—will remember for years. While you can spot a moose in many places in the North Country, one of the most reliable is the Moose Alley Trail in Pittsburg. This easy, mostly level trail cuts through scenic forest where you can often spot moose and deer in their natural habitat.