The longest journey begins with a single step.
Lao Tsu, Tao Te Ching
|The White Mountains include a huge variety of terrain, from windswept alpine areas above treeline to dense boreal forests, sheer cliffs and low-lying intervale and swamp land. There are 48 peaks over 4,000 feet in the White Mountains, and a number of notches (called passes or gaps in other mountainous regions). These include Pinkham, Crawford, Franconia, Bear, Kinsman, Jefferson, and Carter Notches. The terrain can be very steep and rocky, so plan accordingly, as short sections of trail can take much longer than anticipated.
Before you set out, it's always advisable to consult a topographic map so you'll be familiar with the type of terrain you'll encounter. You can find these maps in local outdoor stores, bookstores and online. They're also included in the AMC's "White Mountain Guide: Hiking Trails in the White Mountain National Forest," considered by many to be essential for those hiking the White Mountains.
Venturing Into the Alpine Zone: Hiking Above Treeline
The land above treeline is one of the most beautiful and heavily used areas in the White Mountains. In the White Mountains, the treelines ends at a surprisingly low elevation because of the harsh weather.