White Mountain National Forest is a place where time stops. It’s a place of epic adventures and endless views of nature’s most delicate art. So don’t waste your time here, but instead make the most of every minute. You can go sightseeing, skiing, hiking, and so much more. We’ll fill you in on the details and when to visit. Let’s check it out.
Where Is White Mountain National Forest?
White Mountain National Forest, established in 1914, is in northeast New Hampshire and western Maine. The majority of the forest lies between Mt. Moosilauke and Mt. Washington, the highest peaks in the White Mountains. It comprises more than 800,000 acres, and it’s one of only two national forests in New England. The area is a beautiful getaway for local New Englanders and RVers passing through.
Why Are the White Mountains Called the White Mountains?
The White Mountains are part of the Appalachian Mountains. They got their name from the native tribes because of the mountains white glowing peaks which are actually caused by the granite reflecting the sun. Previously, British colonists referred to them as the White Hills.
Best Time of Year to Visit White Mountain National Forest
You can visit White Mountain National Forest year-round, but the best time of year is late spring to mid-fall. The summer months are warm and a popular time for hiking and biking. You can catch the leaves changing color in late September and early October.
If you’re into winter sports, the winter months are a great time to visit. You can ski and snowshoe while taking in stellar views. Mountaineers also enjoy wintertime experiences in the White Mountains. However, be aware that weather conditions can be extreme.
Keep in Mind: Off-season camping can be beautiful, but here are nine things you need to know about winter camping.
Top 5 Attractions in White Mountain National Forest
Among the many experiences you can have in White Mountain National Forest, we’ve compiled the top five. Let’s take a look.
The Kancamagus Highway is a 34.5-mile scenic drive along New Hampshire’s Route 112. It goes up to about 3,000 feet at Mt. Kancamagus just outside Lincoln. You can take in views of the White Mountains, waterfalls, and gorges along the byway.
The highway is beautiful year-round, but it hits the next level when the fall leaves are in full color. There are also many trails you can hike or cross-country ski along the Kancamagus Highway. We recommend the Champney Falls Trail. It’s a 3.1-mile out and back moderate hike that features a waterfall. The trail is dog-friendly, and you can access it all year for hiking, snowshoeing, and bird watching.
Seven Birches Winery
Seven Birches Winery is in the RiverWalk Resort at Loon Mountains in Lincoln, N.H. It has a tasting room and wine bar. They produce their wines on-site with handcrafted European grape varietals and locally sourced fruits. We highly recommend stopping in for a tasting and some time relaxing on the patio. You can also participate in a tour of the winery.
Flume Gorge is about five miles north of Lincoln. It’s a natural gorge at Mt. Liberty that’s about 800 feet of granite walls. Viewing the gorge also gives you access to beautiful foliage, wildflowers, and moss. The trail to get to the gorge is a two-mile loop and takes about one and a half hours to walk. There are some uphill climbs and a lot of stairs. You’ll need to make a reservation to see the gorge, and there’s a check-in booth at the beginning of the trail.
The Mount Washington Cog Railway
Mount Washington Cog Railway is one of the most remarkable attractions in White Mountain National Forest. It was built in 1868 to transport travelers up the mountain via steam engines. Today, you can ride on one of two coal-fired steam locomotives, built in 1875 and 1908. They’ve been rebuilt several times but rest assured you’ll still get back in time as you chug up the mountain.
Riverwalk Covered Bridge
The Riverwalk Covered Bridge is about 25 miles north of Lincoln in Littleton, N.H. The bridge, completed in 2004, is 352 feet long. It serves as a tourist attraction and allows access to a senior center. It’s a fun photo opportunity and sits within the Riverwalk, which is main street in Littleton. You’ll experience quintessential New England in the quaint downtown area with many shops and restaurants.
Where to Camp in White Mountain National Forest
White Mountain National Forest is a great RV destination. We recommend staying at Hancock Campground while you explore the White Mountains.
The campground is on the Kancamagus Highway, five miles east of Lincoln. It has 56 wooded campsites that are first-come, first-served. Hancock Campground is open year-round, with no services available in the winter months. It has toilets but no showers or hookups.
Pro Tip: We’ve camped in a lot of places, here are ten reasons campgrounds and better than boondocking.
Is White Mountain National Forest Worth Visiting?
Don’t waste your time in White Mountain National Forest, but make the most of it. It’s a destination worth visiting and exploring as much of as you can. We highly recommend this national forest in New Hampshire for its endless beauty and year-round activities. Ready to add it to your RV road trip list? Let us know about your experience if you visit!