Camping in New Hampshire

10:22 p.m. on September 2, 2007 (EDT)
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My boyfriend and I live in the Boston area. We have been camping in campgrounds but we are a little tired of it since campsites are really close to each other. As a consequence, we decided to get back country camping gear and we are ready to camp for the first time. The question is where to go. It seems that in a lot of places they do not encourage back country camping since people get lost and start bonfires. Another question is where to park the car.
We have been camping in the White Mountains and we really like the area but we can consider any other area that is within considerable driving distance from Boston.
Thanks in advance.

1:38 p.m. on September 3, 2007 (EDT)
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The Whites are a really great place to go hiking and camping. Get the Appalachian Mountain Club's guidebooks to the Whites, the Vermont Greens, and the Maine guidebook (Baxter is a great area). These give a lot of detail to trails and campsites, plus they include fairly detailed trail maps. The Adirondacks are also good, but a bit of a longer drive from Boston (driving time, not so much distance) The places to park for the trailheads are also described. The books are small enough to stick in the top pocket of your pack.

There are so many excellent places that I would have to write even more than my usual long dissertations. When you build up some experience with short overnights, I will suggest doing the traverse of the Presidentials - you can do this as a loop, or in 2 segments, each of which is a loop, or a point to point (2 cars, one at each end). Barb and I preferred the south to north direction for scenic views and lots of photo opportunities.

This is getting close to the best time of year, with fall colors coming out in another few weeks. Take a very large capacity card for your digital camera, since you will be clicking lots of photos.

2:04 p.m. on September 3, 2007 (EDT)
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There is a website for hikers in the Northeast called Views from the Top, where you could get suggestions. One of the forums is called Q&A New England and I bet if you ask there or look at the archives, you will get some good ideas about where to go.

2:41 p.m. on September 4, 2007 (EDT)
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Natalia wrote "they do not encourage back country camping since people get lost and start bonfires. Another question is where to park the car."

For getting lost - learn to use a map and compass before heading out and stick to marked trails until you really get your wilderness legs under you. Some outdoors shops and clubs offer basic M&C classes. Once you learn to read a topo map and use a compass the doors of the wilderness open just a bit wider.

For starting bonfires - well - carry and use a stove for cooking rather than starting a fire - and if you do decide to have an open fire - keep it small and only use established fire rings.

Where to leave your car? Sometimes you get lucky and find parking at a trail head. Other times you need to arrange for parking, at times paying someone near a trail head to park at their facility. No matter what - don't leave expensive or tempting items in clear view when you park.

Do tell someone responsible where you're headed, when you plan to be back and when to start looking for you if you don't return - not trying to scare you out of the woods - it's just good common sense that some of us (pointing a finger at himself) forget to do from time to time.

Above all - have fun!

10:05 a.m. on September 5, 2007 (EDT)
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Hi, Natalia. As has been mentioned already, there are a ton of great places to hike and backpack in New Hampshire (as well as Vermont and my own state of Maine).

While you said you've been camping at N.H. state campgrounds up till this point, you didn't mention what you and your boyfriend's hiking and other outdoor experience is, if any. If you're very active and experienced hikers, making the move to backpacking will be less of a switch than going from only car camping to backpacking. Either way it would be good to start out simple, making sure you have the appropriate experience and proper gear.

If you don't have much hiking experience (and even if you do) consider joining the AMC ( They have hikes and trips for members and non-members of all experience levels, as well as skills classes. They also have local chapters, including in Boston (, which plan lots of activities. You could get involved with your local group and gain a lot of knowledge from other hikers and backpackers as you get started. This would be an excellent resource.

I also highly recommend the AMC guidebooks for the New England states.

5:58 p.m. on September 26, 2007 (EDT)
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For NH start with a book called 50 Hikes in NH or 50 More hikes in NH, google the title. Pick out a day hike you might like and make into an overnight. For example, you could hike up Mt. Paugus (behind Mt. Chocorua) and back in a day. Take your overnight gear and spend the night at a campsite near the summit. Another great hike also starting near Lake Chocorua is the hike into Black Mt. Pond. It is a level hike along a wide trail in from the east. Day two, leave your shelter and bags and day hike up to the summit of Sandwich Mt. In fact there is a ledge only about a mile up that will get you a great view. It's a nice spot for a picnic lunch! This a beautiful hike in foliage season. Before you go to the guide books, look at the maps. There are some good ones covering many miles of trails. One is published by Map Adventures for NH and Maine. It has the mileage marked on the trails. It is waterproof, too. Another book is "Loop Hikes in NH Whites and Maine" from Mountaineers Books. Do not plan on covering big mileage with your loaded packs. Hike into an area, set up camp, and do day hikes to the peaks, returning to your "base camp." Look at some of the Mts. like Cube and Smarts, between Hanover NH and Mt. Mousilauke. Okay. One more. From the Willey House site in Crawford Notch (Rte. 302) Hike up the Ethan Pond Trail. It is also the AT. Head for Shoal Pond and camp along its shore. Be sure to take the side trail to Thoreau Falls. Only a few minutes into the hike you will be cussing me. It will be steep, but as you near the top it flattens out. You will cruise into Shoal Pond. There is also a shelter at Ethan Pond. Check your map you can make this a longer hike. The Wilderness trail, the Shoal Pond Threau Falls and Ethan Pond trails have very little grades. (Ethan Pond trail was once a RR bed.) It runs through a beautiful valley. Learn to read contour lines. Have fun. Can't write about the Whites without including this site:

3:38 a.m. on November 17, 2007 (EST)

Loong paragraphs above again make for tough reading ...

If you go to the popular places in New Hampshire, for example, at prime seasons, you will find parking is difficult and the so-called backcountry camping will be mobbed.

Yet northern New England has vast areas that may not be so obviously spectacular as Mt. Washington or etc... where you can go without any of the crowds of Columbus Day weekend or similar dates.

How to find them? Your own research might easily pay off...Going back to archives of my memory for New Hampshire, I might suggest hikes to east of Evansville Notch, or Canada Lakes, or possibly Sandwich Range. But there are much better places if you can find them.............

4:52 p.m. on January 30, 2008 (EST)

Hi i was wondering if there are any good back country camping sites that are located along a river or a lake, somwhere where there are fish that i could stay at for a few days. I am obviousally talking about New Hampshire but if you know of any in VT or maine that would also be helpful.

6:37 a.m. on April 10, 2008 (EDT)
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Check out the web site: You can access the AT trail thru Maine and NH that will give you access to plenty of camping/hiking/fishing spots. Try the Jo-Mary/ K.I. area north of Brownville. Plenty of access to the AT trail, hundreds of ponds/lakes to fish and places to camp. Jo-Mary and the K.I. area is off RT. 11 that goes to Millenocket. Delorme map #42 and 43. Hope this helps...

2:34 p.m. on May 7, 2008 (EDT)
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Ethan Pond campsite. It's in Bethlehem NH. Just off 93. A relatively easy hike in, a couple of hours if I remember correct. there's several tenting platforms as well as an ATC lean to style shelter. A nice campfire ring, as well as beautiful views of Ethan Pond (trout if you are good with a rod and reel). Take a day hike from there to Thoreau Falls. The two night trip is relatively easy and great from the Boston area. It's hands down my favorite place to be in the northeast. I can't tell you if I like it better than camping in Hell's Bay in Everglades National Park, but it's definately less humid and buggy.

June 23, 2018
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