"White Mountain Area" Top 5 Page for this destination North Conway by goingsolo

North Conway Travel Guide: 82 reviews and 218 photos

The good and the bad of North Conway

North Conway is a small town located at the base of the White Mountains. It is a friendly place that, in the summertime, caters to tourists eager to explore the trails and recreational opportunities among its rolling hills. It serves as a launching point for exploring Mount Washington and the other Presidential Peaks, or for anyone aspiring to climb the 4,000 footers of New Hampshire. The town also has an artsy feel to it with dozens of craft shops along and near the main highway that runs right through it. The fall brings visitors who are checking out the New England fall foliage that I hope to see someday. Winter brings the opening of ski areas and ice climbing.

North Conway is also home to numerous outlet malls and a large crowd of tourists who flock to this pretty area to shop. As a result, a drive along the main highway brings memories of Gatlinburgh with its crawling traffic. Although, thankfully, the tackiness that has invaded the Tennessee gateway into the Great Smokies is not present in New Hampshire. I am simply not a shopping person so I can't tell you much about the excellent opportunities to pursue the outlet bargain of your dreams while in North Conway. But I can tell you a bit about the natural pursuits you'll find here.

No mere walk in the woods.

I visited North Conway for the first time in the summer of 2003. I was preparing for a Grand Canyon hike and figured that a trek up Mount Washington would be great training. On that trip, I learned never to laugh at mountains that are only 6,000 feet tall. New Hampshire has some of the toughest, steepest hiking in the country. I also learned that New Hampshire is the granite state and is quite proud of the large, slippery and unstable rocks that line the path to the summit of its tallest mountain. After a long day of falling, slipping and ankle twisting along the path to what I'd described as a "foothill", I was eager to leave the Granite Mountains behind.

In July, 2006, I decided to return. I think my ankles had finally healed. Since Mount Whitney was coming up in a month, it seemed a good idea to head back to what I'd recalled as a brutal training ground. This time, my only views of Mount Washington were from the distant summit of lesser peaks. 4,000 feet didn't seem like such a walk in the park anymore.

Upon returning, I discovered the beauty of the rolling hills of New Hampshire and was surprised that I'd missed it the first time around. Once you get past the outlet malls, this is truly beautiful country. The White Mountain National Forest is a hiker's paradise with a network of trails that are perfect for dayhikes and beyond. Let's talk a walk in New Hampshire's woods and explore the beauty first hand. Just make sure to watch out for those rocks.

Mount Washington in the winter

Mount Washington summit in the winter. Quite different than the crowds of summer.

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:Magnificent wide open forest area with expansive views
  • Cons:Expensive and lots of traffic
  • In a nutshell:A good place to stay for touring the Mt. Washington area
  • Last visit to North Conway: Feb 2011
  • Intro Updated Feb 24, 2011
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Reviews (16)

Comments (2)

  • johncudw's Profile Photo
    May 15, 2008 at 4:01 AM

    Nice pictures and tips on White Mountain area. I am a fan of mountain areas and hiking. Greetings from John in NJ

  • mtncorg's Profile Photo
    Aug 21, 2006 at 7:17 PM

    The Presidents are a nice warm up for the Sierra. a nice warm up for the Mountaineers Route would be Madison Gulf 'trail'.


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