New England Hiking Trails
Most of New England's many state parks have short hiking trails. There are longer trails in the national forests, and several much longer trails traverse whole states.
Every New England state has at least a dozen hiking trails, shorter or longer, often maintained by local governments or non-profit associations.
Whenever you go to enjoy New England's forests, fields and meadows, be aware of the danger of tick-borne illness.
The grand-daddy of all American hiking trails—the Appalachian National Scenic Trail—starts at Mount Katahdin in Maine and wends its way through every New England state except mountain-less Rhode Island, ending at Springer Mountain in Georgia, 2158 miles (3481 km) to the south.
Officially called the Appalachian National Scenic Trail, this 2158-miles (3481-km) footpath through the wilderness meanders from Mount Katahdin in Maine through Maine's forests to New Hampshire's White Mountains, Vermont's Green Mountains and Massachusetts' Berkshire Hills before crossing into Connecticut and New York State, heading south along the Appalachian Mountain range and ending at Springer Mountain, Georgia (map).
The trail is managed by the US National Park Service, US Forest Service, Appalachian Trail Conservancy, numerous state agencies and many volunteers. More than three million people hike some portion of the Appalachian Trail each year.
Earnest hikers strive to hike the entire trail, but since the trail was opened in 1937, fewer than 9000 hikers have made it all the way. The full-distance hike takes five or six months.
If you're a serious Appalachian Trail hiker, or plan to become a "through hiker" (or "2000-miler") and hike the whole trail, you must adopt a "trail name," some moniker by which you'll be known on your journey.
Two words not heard much among through hikers: dry and easy. The Appalachian Trail is usually neither.
You'll also have to know that nobo means "northbound hiker" and sobo means "southbound hiker."
The rest of us, like Bill Bryson, hike only parts of it (as Bryson recounts in his hilarious Appalachian trail hiking memoir A Walk in the Woods).
The Trail in New England
The most popular portions of the Appalachian Trail in New England are those near Mount Katahdin in Maine, in New Hampshire's White Mountains, Vermont's Green Mountains, and the Massachusetts Berkshires.
Mount Katahdin, Baxter State Park, Maine.
Want to find out what it's like? Join the discussions on WhiteBlaze.net, "A Community of Appalachian Trail Enthusiasts."
History of the Trail
The Appalachian Trail is a wonderful national (and natural) achievement, and its history is long and storied.
If you're interested in knowing how it was accomplished, buy a copy of Blazing Ahead: Benton MacKaye, Myron Avery, and the Rivalry that Built the Appalachian Trail, by Jeffrey H Ryan, published by AMC Books. More...
The Appalachian Mountain Club is the premier organization helping hikers in New England, especially in New Hampshire's White Mountain National Forest. It's the first stop for serious hikers, providing authoritative, highly useful trail guides to routes throughout New England.
The Appalachian Mountain Club is America's oldest (founded 1876) conservation and recreation association, and the most prominent outdoor activities group in New England.
Its conservation, education and recreation activities help to preserve New England's environment and natural beauty for current and future generations.
AMC Hiking Guides tell you all about hiking trails (including the Appalachian Trail) in the White Mountain National Forest and other areas of the US east coast: how long, how difficult, the vertical rise, the average walking time, reference points along the way, and what to see as you walk.
The New England National Scenic Trail (NET) is a 215-mile (346-km) hiking trail from Guilford CT on Long Island Sound to Mount Monadnock in southern New Hampshire. It tracks most of the older Metacomet, Monadnock and Mattabesett trails (also called the Triple-M Trail), traversing 41 communities in Connecticut and Massachusetts. More...
Vermont's Long Trail
New Hampshire's Cohos Trail
The 162-mile (261-km) Cohos Trail, perhaps the most isolated and "wild" of New England's major hiking trails, goes due north from Crawford Notch in New Hampshire's White Mountains to the Canadian border at Pittsburg NH, where it meets the Sentiers Frontaliers trail which continues to Mount Megantic and Mount Gosford in Québec, Canada. More...
New Hampshire's Lake Sunapee is ringed by the Sunapee-Ragged-Kearsarge Greenway Trail System (the SRK Greenway), a 75-mile (121-km) chain of 14 trails describing a ragged loop around the lake, passing through Mount Sunapee State Park, Gile State Forest, Ragged Mountain, Mount Kearsarge State Forest Park and other nature reserves. An excellent trail guide with maps in color is available. More...
The big challenge for mountain hikers are the several trails to the summit of Mount Washington. If that peak, with some of the worst weather in the USA, is too much, try the easier hikes up Mount Monadnock or Mount Cardigan in New Hampshire. More...