New Hampshire’s White Mountains, only a short car ride from Boston, offer some of the most stunning lakes in New England. Some can be reached by short, easy walks and others by more difficult hikes. Some sit above the tree line and others at sea level. All provide wonderful views, up close and from afar.
Cannon Mountain: Lonesome Lake — The way the mountainous landscape reflects in the water on a bright sunny day on Lonesome Lake is jaw-dropping. A quick detour off of Hi-Cannon Trail in Franconia Notch State Park brings you to the mountain’s edge, where you’ll get a clear glimpse of the glacial lake surrounded by dense forest. If you want to hike alongside the lake, descend Lonesome Lake Trail. The Hi-Cannon and Lonesome Lake trails loop is about 5 miles and rated difficult.
Visit www.outdoors.org/lodging-camping/huts/lonesome for accommodations.
Bald Mountain: Echo Lake — You don’t have to climb a mountain to witness Echo Lake’s beauty, but hiking the family-friendly Bald Mountain loop is worth the view of this picturesque lake from above. On Artists Bluff, you can observe Echo Lake, surrounded by mountains in Franconia Notch that stand up against the shore. This loop is about 2.6 miles and rated moderate.
Visit echolakecampground.com for accommodations.
Mount Monroe and Mount Washington: Lakes of the Clouds — The gentle stream of the Ammonoosuc River guides you to the Lakes of the Clouds, which get their name from their location atop the mountains, at 5,032 feet. Ascend the Ammonoosuc Ravine Trail to the summit of Mount Monroe, or switch to Crawford Path to Mount Washington, to spot these tarns above the tree line. The hike is about 3.4 miles to Mount Monroe and 4.5 miles to Mount Washington, and rated difficult.
Visit www.outdoors.org/lodging-camping/huts/lakes for accommodations.
Elephant Head near Twin Mountain: Saco Lake — A quick and easy way to observe the natural beauty of Saco Lake is by climbing up Elephant Head Trail, located on the north side of Crawford Notch. The ascent begins at the edge of Saco Lake and climbs to a rock that resembles an elephant’s head. The hike is 0.7 miles, round-trip, and rated easy.
Visit www.outdoors.org/lodging-camping/lodges/highland for accommodations.
Mount Lafayette: Eagle Lake — This long, strenuous hike crosses several scenic overlooks all the way up to Eagle Lake, located next to Greenleaf Hut off of Old Bridle Path. As you continue to climb above the tree line to the summit, the scenery around the lake is spectacular. This loop is about 9 miles and rated difficult.
Visit www.outdoors.org/lodging-camping/huts/greenleaf for accommodations.
Lily Hartman lives in New Hampshire and is a recent Emerson College graduate who has written for Road Scholar and AMC Outdoors.