Don’t Forget to Look Up: A Guide to Hiking in New England

Camels Hump
Hik­er on Camels Hump in Vermont

Hik­ing on the East Coast means spend­ing a lot of time with your head down, but it’s not for a lack of things to look at. The rocky trails can be dif­fi­cult to nav­i­gate, but if you keep your head up there’s a whole lot to see. New Eng­land is home to one of the most remark­able sec­tions of the Appalachi­an Trail, as well as Vermont’s Long Trail and the beau­ti­ful White Moun­tains of New Hampshire.

New Eng­land trails are noto­ri­ous for scenic look­outs and side-coun­try des­ti­na­tions just off the beat­en path. Keep your plans loose and your eyes open, and when you stum­ble upon a detour, take it. Here are a few of the best hikes in New Eng­land and some secret spots that you just might miss if you don’t look up. 

MaineMt. Katahdin

Maine is known for it’s rocky coast­line, but it’s also home to some of the best hikes in the North­east. Being both the high­est peak in Maine as well as the North­ern ter­mi­nus of the Appalachi­an Trail, Mt. Katahdin is a must-see. There are many routes to the top, but if you’re look­ing for some adren­a­line, take the Knife Edge trail. As the trail winds clos­er to the top, one third of a mile lands you on a three-foot-wide sec­tion, com­plete with breath­tak­ing drops on either side.

Little bigelow

A lit­tle fur­ther down the AT you’ll find Lit­tle Bigelow moun­tain in the Bigelow Pre­serve. This area of Maine is seclud­ed and beau­ti­ful, with views of Flagstaff Lake to the North and Sug­ar­loaf Ski Area to the South. You’re sure to be far removed from any large groups of peo­ple, and you just might see a moose or a bald eagle. 

New Hamp­shire Mt. Monadnock

New Hamp­shire is home to the White Moun­tains, and New England’s largest peak—Mt. Wash­ing­ton, but there are cer­tain­ly some gems in the south­ern part of the state as well. Just a quick dri­ve over the Mass­a­chu­setts bor­der gets you to Mt. Mon­ad­nock. It can def­i­nite­ly be crowd­ed on sun­ny sum­mer days, but the hike includes a fresh moun­tain spring and a boul­der­ing dream­land at the top. 

Ver­mont Camels Hump

If you’re up North, don’t miss Camel’s Hump, one of the most notable look­ing peaks in the East. You’ll be treat­ed to views of Lake Cham­plain to the West, and Mt. Mans­field to the East. 

If you’re fur­ther South, check out Mt. Ascut­ney. It’s an easy detour from the inter­state, and you’ll find a num­ber of treats off the side of any of the trails. The Weath­ers­field Trail is a gold­mine, with a manda­to­ry stop at Cas­cade Falls – a beau­ti­ful water­fall and look­out with views of the Green Moun­tain State.

by Kate Maciejowksi