Outdoor backpack trips are a highly popular summer activity. Beginner hikers may wonder, “where can I go”, other than local trails, for an extraordinary experience with incredible views and doable challenges? Here are eight amazing New England areas to hike that will leave you in awe and bragging to friends how gratifying your trip was.
Hikers; Check Out Pitcher Mountain Trail In NH
Perhaps not the most well-known hiking trail, but this trail in Stoddard, New Hampshire is preferred by nature lovers who truly want peace during their hike. This light hike of a half mile round trip is easy to navigate, which makes it perfect for a beginner. This hidden mountain gem is located in the midst of the Andorra Forest in southwestern New Hampshire. You will stumble upon plentiful delicious wild blueberries on your hike. The panoramic vista from Pitcher’s peak is truly breathtaking, even compared to bigger mountains with longer hikes. The view includes many surrounding hillsides, pastures and mountains.
This is the perfect hike for a non-crowded zen experience of nothing but true nature sights and sounds. There is a fire tower you can climb for an excellent 360 degree view. Leave traffic and tech devices behind and enjoy the mind-clearing gift of the pure outdoors. Birds, rustling leaves and gentle breezes await your time on the trail. If you long for a beautiful sunset, Pitcher Mountain is the perfect place to be at sundown.
A Great Trek; Blue Trail In The Charles Ward Reservation
An outdoor backpack will be perfect for this 2.2-mile hike in the Ward Reservation. This area boasts 704 acres of conservation land open to the public in Andover, MA. Your hike will take you along three hills: Boston, Shrub, and Holt, which is the highest elevation in Essex County. The trails link three major hills; Shrub, Boston, and Holt. Each of their summits shows how the property melds with the surrounding landscape. The “Solstice Stones” mark Holt Hill, which is a grassy summit and the highest point in Essex County. There you will see the compass-like arrangement of stones. These stones portray the cardinal points on a compass, the points of the summer and winter solstices, and the points of the spring and autumnal equinoxes.
At the base of Holt Hill, you’ll step onto a boardwalk that leads to Pine Hole Pond. This “pond” is a rare quaking bog, comprised of concentric rings of floating vegetation, each with unique growing conditions. Here you’ll see many interesting plant species, including orchids and insect-eating pitcher plants. This area has numbered stations along the way where you can get interesting botanical and geologic facts. This rare natural phenomenon is truly worth seeing on this hike.
This compass-like arrangement of stones indicates the cardinal points on the compass, the points of the summer and winter solstices, and the points of the spring and autumnal equinoxes
Hike The Skyline Trail At Middlesex Fells Reservation
Outdoor backpack hikers, are you looking for a bit more of a challenge? Often referred to simply as the Fells, this public recreation area in Stoneham, Massachusetts covers more than 2,200 acres in Malden, Medford, Melrose, Stoneham, and Winchester, Massachusetts. There are eleven hiking trails of varying difficulty are at your feet in this 2,575-acre park. If you take the popular 6.9-mile Skyline Trail to the observation tower atop Pine Hill, you’ll be rewarded with views of the Boston skyline and harbor. You’ll love the woodsy feel to this hike. There is some New England stone on the trail, so wear good comfy boots. There are elevation gains and descents, but nothing overly strenuous. You’ll want to give yourself 4-5 hours for this magnificent backpack trek.
If you proceed to the Virginia Wood Trail, you’ll be pleased to discover a beautiful hidden waterfall bridge. Deep within the reservation, this charming stone bridge crosses an 18th-century dam on Spot Pond Brook, The bridge and waterfall are located along the 0.8-mile of the Virginia Wood Trail. This is an easy to moderate hike depending on your skill level and perfect for explorers with dogs or older children.
Backpack Hike To The Tower Trail In Sleeping Giant State Park
This outdoor backpack trek in Hamden, Connecticut features six trails that run through this park. If you’re looking for views of New Haven and the Long Island Sound, take the popular 3-mile roundtrip graveled Tower Trail to the stone observation tower. Beautiful wildflowers adorn this trail. All skill levels of hikers could easily tackle this trip even though it is a gradual uphill hike.
Two miles of mountaintop resemble a large man lying in repose, the “sleeping giant”, which is a popular feature of the south central Connecticut skyline. A 1 1/2 mile scenic trail leads to the stone observation tower on the peak of Mt. Carmel which provides an excellent view of Long Island Sound and the New Haven area. In 1924 Sleeping Giant was designated as a state park.
Grab A Hiking Bag And Head to The Summit Trails And Mount Major
Mount Major in Alton, New Hampshire, is an awesome hike that provides spectacular panoramic views of Lake Winnipesaukee. If you follow the 1.5-mile path to the top of Mount Major, you’ll have plenty of nature and views to take in. There’s a loop hike leading to Mt. Major State Forest, which is in the Belknap Range. This loop is a perfect half-day hike whether you are 5 years old or 65 years old; a first time hiker or an experienced trekker during any season.
As you walk through the deciduous-dominated forest you’ll notice some large boulders alongside the trail known as glacial erratics. Interestingly, these boulders were deposited during the last ice age by glaciers about 10,000 years ago. Every hike provides historical and current natural sites and discoveries for the avid outdoor enthusiast. You’ll encounter some rocky ledges and mildly steeper terrain on the last half of the hike, but soon the glimpses of Lake Winnipesaukee will be observed. Be sure to pay attention to the wide variety of vegetation along the trail.
Save Some Hiking Time For The Napatree Point Conservation Area
An outdoor backpack haven in Watch Hill, Rhode Island, Napatree is one of the most beautiful and least crowded beach spots in Rhode Island. The 1½ miles of arcing coastline has paths leading off through dune grass, taking you from surf to coves. Plan on getting there early and parking is pricey, unless you are willing to walk through the beautiful little quaint village. There you can observe the oldest operating carousel in the country, and save some money doing so. After your hike you can enjoy the great shopping in the town of Watch Hill.
Hiking pack trekkers and bird watchers love the plentiful wildlife views along this easy beach-side trail, including several nesting areas, off the beach trail, of vulnerable birds.
The first 1.5 miles is on dry or wet beach sand, depending time of day and the tide. The next half mile is on a single track through marshy grass. The .25 mile that rounds the point brings some scrambling across boulders and medium sized rocks. Soon you will emerge onto the smooth beach of Watch Hill which is excellent for cooling off in the ocean or lingering over sunrises and sunsets.
Backpackers Love The Odiorne State Park Loop Walk
Odiorne Point State Park in Rye, New Hampshire has 135 acres of trails with a very dramatic ocean front and rocky shoreline setting. An extensive network of trails wind through the dense vegetation and bisect the park. Hikers can enjoy the sweeping views of the ocean and rocky shore as they trek multiple hiking trails.
This outdoor backpack hike on the Loop Walk is a pleasant hike within The Odiorne State Park, just south of Portsmouth, NH in the village of Rye. Hikers are taken through the largest fodder of undeveloped coast in the state. Once you hit the trail and hike past the ocean, marsh, and a forest, you’ll encounter remnants of the era when the site was used for coastal defenses in World War II. Don’t you love historical discoveries on a hike? Part of your hike should include a visit to the Seacoast Science Center with awesome exhibits and a hands on tide pool tank.
Check out this video for a mini glimpse at this great hiking mecca:
Trek The Coolidge Reservation In Manchester-By-The-Sea MA
Perched on the peninsula known as Coolidge Point in Manchester-by-the-Sea, Coolidge Reservation is a 66 acre hiking area that showcases an unusual variety of rocky outcrops, woodlands, wetlands and a sandy beach. Breathtaking vistas await as you explore.. This notable collection of diverse habitats harbors an assortment of plant and wildlife species that would delight any hiker. If you trek past a scenic pond and through a small forest of pine and oak to reach the tip of the point, you’ll come to a spectacular seaside lawn offering memorable views of Massachusetts Bay and the North Shore.
This area had a beautiful mansion called “Marble Place” but is now an open grassy tract leading to gorgeous Atlantic ocean views.The Ocean Lawn is not the only draw to the Reservation though. Bungalow Hill, the highest point on the reservation provides a panoramic view of the sea. The surrounding woodland is a characteristic New England mix of oak and pine, wildflowers and ferns. This area is home to a vast array of birds and other wildlife, including fisher, fox, and coyote.
Beyond the woodland, a trail leads past Clarke Pond. This pond was a former salt marsh which is now a predominantly freshwater pond, although saltwater periodically washes in during high tides and storms. Along with it come crabs and small fish from the ocean. If you are a bird lover, you will enjoy this habitat for ducks and geese, and heron and shorebirds that feed here. You will love the colorful wildflowers, including trout lilies, jack-in-the-pulpit, and swamp buttercups.
A one-mile trail runs from the parking area to the top of Bungalow Hill, around Clarke Pond to Magnolia Beach, and to the Ocean Lawn. This trail is easy walking, though can be moderate in places. The beauty of a hike in this area is easy access to ocean water to take a swim after your hike to cool off.
Hikers Check Out These New England Treks
For outdoor backpack hikes, New England states offer excellent hiking opportunities. Why not check out one or more of these areas this summer or Fall and enjoy the beauty of nature in many forms. Please comment below if you are familiar with, or have any feedback of these areas, which always helps other hikers. The staff at Nature Trail Backpacks are here to help you try hiking or update your backpack. Happy hiking to all!