View of Mount Sunapee and Lake Sunapee from Sunset Hill (Kidder Tract #40)
There’s no shortage of amazing trails to explore in the Lake Sunapee Region, especially in the winter! Below are four suggestions that we just can’t get enough of--we find ourselves going back to these trails every winter. The first three have amazing views, and this time of year, you might not have to share them with anyone else.
For additional winter hiking suggestions, visit our Snowshoeing and Hiking page.
Newbury Trail, Mount Sunapee
There are three great hiking trails that will take you up Mount Sunapee—our preferred winter trail is the Newbury Trial. Why? There’s almost always parking in Newbury Harbor during the winter which makes accessing this trail easy. The trail is also fairly well protected from the winds coming off the lake. Your reward is the sweeping view of distant mountain ranges that pop up behind the frozen Lake Solitude. A very popular hike in the warmer months, if you go mid-week during the winter (and sometimes on the weekends), you could have this view all to yourself!
Parking: public parking on 103 in Newbury Harbor (cross the street and head up Newbury Heights Road to Lake View Ave, the trail head will be on your right.)
Solitude Junction: 2.4 miles
Mt. Sunapee Summit: 3.4 miles
Sunset Hill (Kidder Tract #40)
A gently winding trail that leads to a small clearing with nice views of Mount Sunapee and Lake Sunapee. We prefer this trail for winter hiking as the views are better when the foliage has fallen. Although not a long trail, this walk is still rated as moderate due to the 556’ elevation gain.
Parking: Small lot off of Chalk Pond Road, Newbury
Trail Distance: .9 mile one way
Cook Interpretive Loop Trail
Located in Wilmot New Hampshire, the Cook Trail winds its way up the hillside past beautiful stone walls. Near the top there is an outlook with great views of Mount Kearsarge. Bring a thermos of hot chocolate or tea and take a few moments to enjoy the calmness the seems to settle in during the winter. Continue on the Cook Trail to complete the loop (you will end just down the road from the parking area, a 2-minute walk). You can also pick up the Pleasant Lake High Trail for some added millage and an outstanding view of Pleasant Lake.
Parking: Small lot on Whitney Brook Road, Wilmot
Cook Loop Only: 1.2 miles
Adding Pleasant Lake High Trail: 2.7 miles one way
Knights Hill Nature Park
Located off of County Road in New London, the park consists of 74 acres of natural habitat providing a sanctuary for wildlife and a peaceful retreat for those looking to escape to a quieter place. A great location for year-round trail walking, we especially love the park during winter! There are four trail loops to choose from, or combine a few for a longer walk! Trails are well marked and you can find a trail map on the New London Outing Club’s website.
Parking: Good sized parking lot located on County Road, New London
Fern Loop: .25 mile
Moore’s Loop: .5 mile
Glen Loop: .75 mile
C.O.R.E. Loop: 1.25 miles
NOTE: Dogs are not allowed in the park
In addition to our winter trail picks above, keep an eye on Ausbon Sargent Land Preservation and Trust for their rotating Trail Series. They have a great DIY Snowshoe Series (PDF) that will help you discover some phenomenal local trails.
Always remember to wear proper cold-weather clothing and footwear! Although some of these trails are not long, ice can still hide under snow cover. Remember to eat and drink--even though it’s cold outside, staying hydrated is important.