Best winter walks (and more) with children: White Mountains

You’ve packed the warm clothes, the thermos of hot chocolate and snacks, maybe the snowshoes or cross-country skis, and yourselves. You want a winter outing that doesn’t involve lift tickets or the mall. What to do?

AMC chapter trip leaders and staff have compiled lists of their favorite winter outings for families with children. Suggestions range from short walks for children in backpacks or still finding their cold-weather legs to short-but-steep challenges. Some of the outings include activities, too.

We’ll start with the North Country, explore the suburbs around Boston, and discover winter’s beauty in the Delaware Valley and in Connecticut. I hope you’ll share your own favorite winter walks in these and other areas as we go along.

In this first post of the series, Nancy Ritger, senior interpretive naturalist at AMC’s White Mountains headquarters in Gorham, NH, offers a local’s trio of suggestions at three levels of difficulty.

Diana’s Baths in North Conway. An easy walk on level ground brings you to what could be the winter baths of the goddess of the hunt, complete with crystal and ornate designs, all formed from ice. One mile roundtrip. Take the Moat Mountain Trail off West Side Road about 0.3 mile south of the Conway-Bartlett town line.

Saco River Ski Loop, Bartlett. Ritger suggests that novice skiers explore scenic cross-country ski trails along the Saco River maintained by Bear Notch Ski Touring Center in Bartlett. Some of the touring center trails go right into the Village of Bartlett and by the Bear Notch Deli, where hot chocolate is sure to be on the menu.

Square Ledge, Gorham. Families searching for a more challenging outing that doesn’t take all day need only look across the road from the Pinkham Notch Visitor Center. Square Ledge Trail begins at the same trailhead as the Lost Pond Trail. A steep (500-foot elevation gain) but short (one-mile round trip) walk, snowshoe, or ski offers breathtaking views of Pinkham Notch and Mount Washington, especially the dramatic headwall of Huntington Ravine.

Next: Winter outings in the Boston metro area.

Learn more

- Directions to Diana’s Baths.
- Information about Bear Notch Ski Touring Center.
- Directions and trail information for Square Ledge on the AMC website.
- Read 5 tips from AMC family trip leaders for winter outings.

Great Kids, Great Outdoors” is an AMC Outdoors blog, written by Kristen Laine.

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