Covering one-quarter of New Hampshire (and part of Maine), the vast White Mountains area is a spectacular region of soaring peaks and lush valleys, and contains New England's most rugged mountains. There are numerous activities on offer, including hiking, camping, skiing and canoeing. Much of the area – 786,000 acres – is protected from overdevelopment as part of the White Mountain National Forest (WMNF), which celebrated its centennial in 2018. Note, however, that this wondrous place is popular: six million visitors flock here annually to use its 1200 miles of hiking trails, 23 campgrounds and eight Nordic and alpine ski areas.
Connected by scenic drives and rugged trails, there are four popular areas in the White Mountains for recreation: Mt Washington Valley to the east, Crawford Notch and Bretton Woods along US 302 in the center, the Kancamagus Hwy along the southern fringe and the Franconia Range to the west and northwest.