Bretton Woods Zip Line Canopy Tour| White Mountains Winter Fun
Photo Credit : Courtesy Mount Washington Resort
In “A Breath of Fresh Air” (season 4, episode 11), Weekends with Yankee was in Bartlett, New Hampshire, for an ice climbing adventure at Cathedral Ledge, where those who survive the cold and make it to the top are rewarded with views across the Saco River Valley to the White Mountains. Read on for a list of even more notable New Hampshire winter adventures.
New Hampshire isn’t just a summer or fall-foliage destination — it’s also a place that knows how to have fun in the snow. From thrill-inducing zip-lining to idyllic cross-country trails to a heart-racing mountain coaster, the Granite State is home to some of the best winter action in New England. Feeling inspired? Then read on for a round-up of our favorite cold-weather adventures in New Hampshire.
Best Ways to Have Fun Outside in New Hampshire This Winter
After learning the basics in their Intro to Ice Climbing course, sign up for bigger single-day or multi-pitch adventures at spots like Mount Webster, Cathedral Ledge, Cannon Cliff, Huntington Ravine, and more.
If you like going along for the ride, consider zipping up to 165 feet above the ground at speeds of up to 30 mph in the heart of the White Mountains. The three-hour guided tour offers a little bit of excitement, a little bit of education, some pretty incredible views, and a whole lot of fun.
There’s snow tubing, and then there’s cosmic snow tubing. Granite Gorge Ski Area in western New Hampshire offers some of the state’s best snow tubing with the unique added fun of neon lights, disco balls, glow-bead necklaces, and a DJ on Saturday nights.
With 50 trails and 11 operating lifts, this smaller full-service resort rarely sees large lines. Plus, all the trails are covered by snowmaking technology, freeing skiers of dependence on finicky Mother Nature. The warmer, south-facing slope is an added bonus for those who aren’t big fans of the chill factor.
It’s like a fair ride but much bigger and in the middle of winter. The Giant Swing at Cranmore Mountain in North Conway allows up to four people at a time to swing high into the sky — a thrilling new way to enjoy mountain views.
If immersing yourself in a winter wonderland sounds tempting, head to Jackson, where you’ll find 56 expertly groomed cross-country skiing trails, including easier backcountry skiing and more intense skate skiing on an international racecourse. Cold? Stop at the warming cabin, grab a hot beverage at Cocoa Café, or try out any of the pubs, inns, and eateries right off the trails.
Strap on some snowshoes and go for a walk among waterfalls, meadows, riverside views, and hills along the 40-plus miles of groomed trails at Bear Notch Ski Touring Center in northern New Hampshire. Grab some rentals if you don’t have equipment, and be sure to warm those fingers and toes afterward with hot chocolate or soup in the warming hut.
Mount Washington in the winter is an awe-inspiring place. Given that it’s home to some of the most extreme winds and weather in the world, getting above its tree line in the winter is only for expert mountaineers. Less experienced adventurers, however, can hop aboard the SnowCoach, a 12-passenger vehicle that rides on four tracks rather than wheels, for a trip into the subarctic environment as it journeys two-thirds of the way to the summit and back down again.
Can’t make it to Florida? Meet New Hampshire’s winter take on Disney World. The Mountain Coaster’s two-person carts chug uphill through the forest before plunging down and around at speeds of up to 25 mph. You can use the cart’s braking system to slow the ride to the pace of your comfort.
There’s plenty of great shopping and dining to be had in the beautiful Seacoast region of New Hampshire, but a great addition to any winter day here involves putting on some skates and gliding out onto Puddle Dock Pond at Strawbery Banke Museum in Portsmouth. Rentals and lessons are available.
Does biking through the Mount Washington Valley sound like a dream? Add the elements of winter and a bike with supersized tires, and you’ve got yourself a terrific way to do some wintertime exploration. Mount Washington Valley Ski Touring Center in Intervale has groomed trails in the Whitaker Woods specifically for biking, making it a perfect place to try out this relatively new winter sport.
If you’re in the Woodstock area and are up for a chilling but delightful experience, Ice Castles is a magical place where you can wander through towering ice structures or play on ice slides. Since all the attractions here are carved from approximately 25,000 pounds of ice, the start and end dates each year are weather-dependent, but recent seasons have run from mid-January until early March.
Northern New Hampshire has some of the best snowmobiling in the country, so if you prefer to get your winter fix at high speed, consider heading to the Great North Woods. The Pittsburg Ridge Runners, the state’s largest snowmobile club, grooms more than 200 miles of trails connecting to Canada, Vermont, and Maine.
Hurtle through snowy scenes of the White Mountains behind a team of rescue dogs at Muddy Paw Sled Dog Kennel in Jefferson. There’s a variety of tour options, and guests are given the opportunity to harness and hitch the team — and maybe even help drive the sled.