One of the best ways to explore the Lake Sunapee Region is on foot. Whether you’re in search of 360-degree mountain views or exploring winding forested paths, here’s a round-up of some of our favorite trials to visit when we are looking to get back to nature.
Located in not one but two NH State Parks, Mount Kearsarge is one of the most popular hiking destinations in the region. There are four main trails that take you to the top where hikers will be rewarded by 360-degree views dotted with lakes and distant mountain ranges. On a clear day, you can expect to see the ridgelines of the White Mountains to the north and the peaks of several mountains in central Vermont.
Hiking from Winslow State Park, Wilmot, NH
There are two trial options from the parking area, The Winslow Trail (1.1 miles, one way) and The Barlow Trail (1.7 miles one way). For hikers looking for variety, you can combine these two trails for a loop hike! Click here to visit the Winslow State Park webpage.
Hiking from Rollins State Park, Warner, NH
For those looking for a short hike but amazing views, this one is for you! The access road in Warner will take you a good portion of the way up the mountain and to a nice picnic area with beautiful views. From here, you can pick up The Rollins Trail head for a ½ mile hike to the top. Be careful to take the same trail back to your car, the others will take you a few towns over to Wilmot! Click here to visit the Rollins State Park webpage.
The Lincoln Trail
If you’re looking for a longer hike, then seek out The Lincoln Trail. Located off of Kearsarge Valley road in Wilmot, this 5-mile trail traverses the ridge line of Black Mountain before taking you to the Rollins picnic area. Used less frequently, the trail does get narrow in spots. At the start of the hike, you will climb a dirt road and head through some sand pits—the remaining part of the hike is beautiful and worth the effort.
Parking and Fees
There is ample parking at both Winslow and Rollins picnic areas. Restrooms are available during open season. Adults $4, Children ages 6-11 $2 (please visit the NH State Parks website for the most current operating schedule and fees).
Best known for its ski trails, Mount Sunapee also offers some great hiking trails with impressive views. There are three main trails that will take you to the summit. Our favorite is the Andrew Brook trail during fall—once you view the impressive foliage from the White Ledges overlooking Lake Solitude…you’ll know why!
Elevation: 2,745 ft.
Summit Hiking Trail, Newbury
Park at Mount Sunapee Ski Resort and pick up the trail head behind Sunapee Lodge and to the right of Lower Ridge ski trail. 2 miles, one way. For the best look-out, head to the start of Skyway ski trail and take in the sweeping views of Lake Sunapee.
This out-and-back trail starts at Lake View Ave, off of NH Route 103. The trail climbs moderately all the way to Lake Solitude and the White Ledges. From here, take the Solitude Trail to the summit.
Andrew Brook Trail to Solitude Trail
Pick-up the Andrew Brook trail head off of Mountain Road in Newbury. From here, follow the trail for 1.8 miles to Lake Solitude. For an outstanding view of the lake, hike to the top of the White Ledges (great spot for lunch!). To reach the summit, continue on the Solitude Trail to the top of Mount Sunapee. During the spring, the beginning of the Andrew Brook trail can be very wet so plan footwear accordingly!
Note: the parking area is not large and can be crowded in peak season. This is a residential road that is winding and narrow, so be courteous when parking.
SUNAPEE RAGGED KEARSARGE GREENWAY
The Sunapee-Ragged-Kearsarge Greenway (SRKG) is made up of 75 miles of scenic day-hiking trail corridors through 8 towns. Whether you’re looking to go for a 3-mile adventure or 10, there are numerous options to choose from. The SRKG coalition has created an impressive online guide to the trails, and trail maps are available for purchase on their site. For the most up-to-date trail information including closures and new trail openings visit srkg.com.
TRAILS AT THE FELLS
Located in Newbury, The Fells Historic Gardens and Estate is best known for their beautiful gardens. However, their nature trails are equally stunning and should be on any Lake Sunapee Region visitor’s to-do list! Our favorite is the Lake-Loop Trail which winds through the forest and takes you along the water’s edge of Lake Sunapee.
Hours and fees are dependent on the season, so make sure to check out the visiting hours page!
OTHER TRAILS WORTH CHECKING OUT
Some of our favorite trails in the Lake Sunapee Region have been made available to enjoy thanks to Ausbon Sargent Land Preservation Trust and the Conservation Commission of New London. Thanks to their phenomenal advocacy work in land conservation, we have trail networks that extend far beyond our State Parks, allowing for even more exploration and fun.
A couple of our all-time favorites are listed below, but for a complete trail list visit:
This ½ mile trail (one way) will take you to some of the most outstanding scenic lake views in the area! Pack a picnic and enjoy lunch while looking out at Lake Sunapee. This trail is recommended for all seasons! The trail head is conveniently located on 103 A across from the Park and Ride in New London.
Kidder Tract #40 (Sunset Hill)
The trail description rates this hike as moderate due to the 556-foot elevation gain in just under a mile. The trail winds it’s was up to a view spot that’s worth the effort. Although this trail is enjoyable year-round, our favorite season to hike it is the winter! You’ll be rewarded with beautiful views of Lake Sunapee and the ski trails of Mount Sunapee. From NH Route 103A in Newbury, take Chalk Pond Road for .4 miles, the trail head will be on the right.
Morgan Pond Trail
One of our favorites! Located off of Twin Lake Villa Road in New London, there is a small parking area right at the trailhead. Start by crossing over the picturesque stone bridge (Kidder Brook bridge) and follow the red blazed trail which skirts the brook and some beautiful rock formations. The trail rises nearly 600 feet taking you to the high point above Morgan Pond. 3 miles, one way.
Pleasant Lake High Trail and the Cook Interpretive Loop Trail
If you’re looking for a hike that will reward you with a pretty awesome view, this one is for you! Start out on the Cook Interpretive Loop Trail off of Whitney Brook Road in Wilmot (another one of our favorite trails!). enjoy the winding path, old stone walls and at the height of the Cook trail, a beautiful view of Mount Kearsarge. After the view point continue on, the Cook Interpretive Loop trail will split off to the right and the Pleasant Lake High Trail will continue on up the hill. This hike is rated moderate and the distance is 2.7 miles one way. If you want a shorter hike, stay on the Cook trail which will loop you back around to Whitney Brook Road, a short distance away from the trail head.
Cook Interpretive Loop trail head and views of Mount Kearsarge from the trail summit.
Love the outdoors? You may also be interested in viewing our favorite road bike routes in the Sunapee Region.
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