The White Mountain National Forest is an extraordinary place. To better understand it, our Guided Nature Tours will immerse you in the unique ecology and history of the region. These hiking adventures may feature shorter mileages to allow for a relaxed pace so there is plenty of time to learn and explore, but one should expect distances to be measured in miles over rugged terrain, complete with elevation gain.
We can offer a simple half-day tour lasting 3-4 hours or so, or a full 6-8 hour day. It may depend on the tour objective. Some tours will be offered only for a very short period of time, others are more readily available. Look for special announcements about special group tours and events in our blog or on Facebook. Specify tour type in the comments box of our Booking Form.
Nature Tour Options - Click to Expand
Nature Tour Options - Click to Collapse
- Alpine Garden Tour
- Rare plants bloom on the Northeast’s highest peak for just a few weeks every year. Learn about the ecology of the alpine zone on our tour of Mt Washington’s beautiful alpine garden! Be driven up by can, then hike across the Alpine Garden in a loop. This tour is very limited, available early June only!
- Lonesome Lake Bog Tour
- Lonesome Lake is a pristine glacial tarn featuring a fascinating bog habitat. Hike up to the bog to look for rare carnivorous plants and learn about the unique adaptations required to survive in this ecosystem, then stop at the AMC hut for a snack or sit on the dock and enjoy the spectacular view of Franconia Ridge. Available May-September.
- Mt Washington Tour
- Enjoy a ride up the historic Mt Washington Auto Road by van, then hike down to the AMC’s Lakes of the Clouds hut, exploring the mountain’s unique history along the way. This tour allows time for visits to the Mt Washington Observatory and the Extreme Mt Washington Museum. Available May-October
- Old Growth Forest Tour
- Although most of the region’s forests were logged at the turn of the century, a few pockets of old-growth forest remain. This tour will show you where to find these majestic trees and offers discussion about why they are so special and more. Available April-November
- Trees, Ferns, and Flowers Tour
- Are you curious to learn more about the plants you encounter on the trail? This tour will focus on identifying the most common species of trees, ferns, and flowers in the region. Pick your favorite destination or let us choose a lovely spot to explore our local flora. Available May-September
- Custom Nature/Historic Tours
- Is there a special place in the White Mountain National Forest you’d like to know more about, or a particular topic in natural or cultural history that interests you? Let us know and we’ll put together a custom Guided Nature or Historic Tour to meet you or your group’s needs. In fact, we can turn any adventure into a learning one… just ask. Available April-November
What to Wear
To ensure everyone’s safety and comfort, we offer this important clothing information. Since these three-season tours vary quite a bit, we will suggest preparing for the worst conditions possible, then advise accordingly when booking as the specifics are known. Thus, for now, when dressing for our nature tours you will want to note the following:
- Think layers. While a ski jacket, for example, may be warm and waterproof, if the insulation can’t be separated from the rain/snow protection layer, it really isn’t suitable. You will overheat if you need rain/snow protection while hiking. Bring independent layers. Having our “Ready Pack” will solve the matter offering all you need.
- Never wear cotton, even at the underwear level. Synthetic materials, wool, and especially performance/wicking materials should be your clothing of choice. For hiking, since cotton won’t dry and doesn’t insulate while wet, it can pose a hazard. You will want to wear the right type of sports or hiking clothing and you will want to bring extra.
- Bring more than you think you need. Mountain weather can be very tricky and unpredictable. While it may be nice in town, the mountains can be very different. Being prepared can save your life.
- For footwear, sneakers or trail runners may be suitable for summer hikes, but for spring or fall something a little sturdier and warmer like a three-season hiking boot is recommended.
For your nature tour gear needs, in addition to your own non-cotton base layers, hiking/climbing pants (or shorts in summer) with shirt, and footwear, as described above, we offer three options (which are modified by the season and specific tour). Click to expand.
Gear Option 1 - Open
Gear Option 1 - Close
- Personal first aid kit/meds.
- Personal hygiene items.
- Camera/phone (weather-protected).
- Lip balm, sun block.
- Insect repellent.
- Proper footwear (see information above).
- Proper clothing layering (see information above).
- Seasonal specialty clothing (see information above).
SPECIAL NOTE: You may get a “Ready Pack, Lean” without food and water for $30/person/day.
SPECIAL NOTE: You can also order just food and water for $15/person/day. (Available with any option.)
Gear Option 2 - Open
Gear Option 2 - Close
- A lined pack with hip belt and room for the items below (~20-30 liters).
- Rain jacket and pants, or rain poncho (mountain weather can be quite wet).
- Mountain-rated insulated layer (mountains are much colder than in town).
- Seasonally-rated mid-layer (much colder).
- Food for the day, plus extra.
- Water for the day, at least 2 liters for a full day.
- Seasonally-rated hat, gloves/mittens.
- Headlamp with spare batteries (or backup device).
- Whistle or sound-making device (sternum strap whistles are okay).
- Tarp, bivvy, or personal shelter.
- A lightweight emergency sleeping pad.
Plus any of these applicable Specialty Gear Items, which may be rented…
- Headlamp, $5/person/day.
- Trekking poles only, $5/pair/person/day.
- Trekking poles, Gaiters, Microspikes, $15/set/person/day (shoulder season).
- Gear Insurance, $10/person/day.
Gear Option 3 - Open
Gear Option 3 - Close
Okay… Let’s Do This!
Here is the pricing and other information you’ll probably want to know.
|Half Day Tour Pricing|
|For one person||$125|
|For two people||$175|
|Added people||$75 each|
|Full Day Tour Pricing|
|For one person||$200|
|For two people||$325|
|Added people||$150 each|
|Premium Tour Options|
|Make it private||Add $75|
|Transportation||Ask or Call|
- The difficulty of this activity is variable and as requested.
- This activity has a 1:4–1:9 guide/client ratio.
- The maximum group size is 10 including guide/s.
- For parties larger than 8, please contact us.
- Gratuities not included; 15-20% is customary for a good job.