Having completed the hikes in this section, you will have visited many of the finer wild corners of the Upper Valley. Your hiking boots should be well broken in by now, and your heels shielded by protective calluses.
At this point you should obtain an additional hiking guide that covers your area of interest. If you enjoyed the easier hikes and rambles in this chapter, try 25 Hikes in the Dartmouth-Lake Sunapee Region. Seasoned Vermont dayhikers might be interested in 50 Hikes in Vermont and the Day Hiker’s Guide to Vermont. On the Hew Hampshire side, consider 50 Hikes in New Hampshire and 50 More Hikes in New Hampshire. Those of you on the straight and narrow might prefer the Appalachian Trail Guide to New Hampshire & Vermont. Committed hikers should read the Green Mountain Club’s Long Trail Guide and the Appalachian Mountain Club’s White Mountain Guide.
Those in strong physical shape and possessing a healthy respect for mountains may be interested in climbing New England’s higher peaks. Vermont’s five peaks above 4,000 feet are a worthy goal. From Mansfield in the north (Vermont’s highest peak) to Killington in the south, these four-thousand footers and their adjacent ridges reveal the beauty and subtlety of Vermont’s gnarled Green Mountains spine.
In New Hampshire, both Mount Chocorua and Mount Osceola are fun dayhikes with excellent views. Also in New Hampshire, Mount Washington and the Presidential Range are home to the largest area of alpine vegetation east of the Mississippi River. Hikers can and have spent whole lifetimes just exploring the crags and ravines of this spectacular mountain range.
Finally, consider Maine’s Katahdin, some six hours away from Hanover. Rising alone above the lakes and softwoods of the North Country, Katahdin in many ways is a distillation of the best of New England’s mountains. The northern terminus of the Appalachian Trail is here, amid acres of alpine tundra. Desolate Chimney Pond, with steep cliffs and chutes rising 2,000 feet to the knife edge above, is as rugged as anything in the East. Traveling to Katahdin is also an opportunity to experience a different New England — an older New England — complete with wild rivers, softwood forests stretching north into Canada, and paper mills in company towns.
New England is fortunate to have not only rugged peaks and alpine areas, but also several Wilderness Areas. Hiking here is less focused on peaks and achievements, and more on intimacy and understanding. Consider packing a tent and stove in order to spend a few days living in these wild areas. Dayhikes abound. Rather than returning to your car at the end of the day, you will have the pleasure of remaining in the neighborhood and meeting the locals. Consult the AMC White Mountain Guide for details.