Top 10 Things to Do in New Hampshire in the Winter (White Mountains and Great North Woods)

Post summary: A round up of the best things to do in the White Mountains and Great North Woods Regions of New Hampshire in the winter

Looking for the ultimate winter getaway in New England?

New Hampshire’s White Mountains and Great North Woods are packed with exciting activities to make your winter extraordinary.

Whether you’re mushing with spirited sled dogs, cozying up in a charming mountain inn, or exploring the snowy peaks with a SnowCoach tour, there’s something in New Hampshire for everyone.

This guide highlights the top winter experiences in New Hampshire (based on our own experience!) to ensure your trip is packed with both adventure and relaxation.

Guides to help you plan your White Mountains, New Hampshire Road Trip

How to Use Google Maps to Plan Your Next Road Trip (Step-By-Step Tutorial With Examples)

What to Pack for a Day Hike: Essential Gear and Complete Packing List

The Best Microspikes for Hiking on Ice and Snow

15 Useful Apps to Download Before Your Next Road Trip (for Free!)

Best things to do during winter in New Hampshire – White Mountains and Great North Woods

1. Go Dog Sledding with Muddy Paw Sled Dog

New Hampshire has a rich dog sledding history that dates back to the early 1900s. It’s weaved into the history of the area from back when dog sledding was used by early explorers.

To be honest, we were hesitant to book dog sledding at first, as we are with any form of “animal tourism”. But I’m glad we decided to give it a try because I truly believe that it’s perfectly ethical if you do your due diligence and after seeing how much the dogs truly love it, I can’t recommend it enough!

This was our first time dog sledding, so we chose the introductory 1.5 hour mush tour with Muddy Paw Sled Dog.

We chose this company because I love that they founded a nonprofit Sled Dog Rescue and Education Center that takes in rescues and gives sled dogs a second chance.

The tour starts with a meet and greet with the dogs and is very educational. It’s immediately clear that the mushers are so passionate about the dogs and their job. During our mush, we learned about how they feed the dogs, how they train them, and how they decide what order they mush in (which is all dictated by the dog).

Getting there: Muddy Paw Sled Dog Kennel, 32 Valley Rd, Jefferson, NH 03583

2. Stay at a cozy inn

New Hampshire is famous for its quintessential cozy mountain inns, and after traveling New Hampshire many times, I’d argue that this is THE best way to book a stay.

This winter was our first time staying at a proper inn and I can’t believe it’s taken us so long. There’s no shortage of quaint mountain inn’s around the White Mountains and Great North Woods that offer a cozy, personalized stay that larger hotels just can’t match. You really get a more local experience and maybe even a fireplace to cozy up next to after a day of winter hiking or skiing.

Seating area at The Wentworth Inn in Jackson, NHThe lounge at The Wentworth

Here’s some of the best inn’s around the White Mountains and Great North Woods NH: 

The cost of staying at an inn varies, but it’s often comparable to hotels, sometimes with breakfast included. It’s a fantastic way to experience the local charm, get some insider tips from the innkeepers, and maybe even make some new friends over breakfast.

The lobby at The Wentworth

3. Take a ride on the Mount Washington SnowCoach

Mt. Washington is the highest peak in the Northeast USA (6288 ft). In summer, you can drive your car to the top via the Mount Washington Auto Road. However, the road is impassable to regular cars in the winter, so the only way to get there is with a tour on the Mount Washington SnowCoach.

The Mount Washington SnowCoach takes you a little more than halfway to the top (just above the tree-line) in special vans fitted with snow tracks – no hiking required.

The tour leaves from the bottom of the Auto Road and slowly climbs about 3,000 feet toward the summit. Even though the ride up is in a heated van, make sure you still dress very warm. You’ll have about 15-20 minutes to get out and enjoy the views at the top and it is COLD.

We went on a particularly windy day and it was very easy to see why they can only take you halfway to the top!

If you’re ultra-adventurous, you can hitch to the top on the SnowCoach, take in the views, and then snowshoe or cross country ski back down.

View of snowy mountains in the White Mountains

Getting there: Great Glen Trails Outdoor Center, 1 Mt Washington Auto Road, 1 Mt Washington Auto Rd, Gorham, NH 03581

4. Treat yourself to fine dining at 1869 Room at The Wentworth

People usually associate the White Mountains with outdoor adventure over fine dining. But did you know that fine dining is actually one of the best things to do in NH in the winter?

After careful research, I concluded that we absolutely had to try the 1869 Room at The Wentworth. There’s a heavy focus on fresh, locally sourced cuisine here that’s prepared by a talented culinary team.

I ordered the short ribs and Greg got the pork chop. Everything was 10/10. They also serve gluten-free and veggie options on the menu.

The Wentworth Inn, Jackson NH

The restaurant is open to the public every day from 6:00-9:00pm, so you can still come here even if you don’t stay overnight at the Wentworth Inn.

Make your reservation ahead of time! We learned the hard way that reservations fill up at least 24 hours in advance, especially on weekends.

5. Snowshoe to Beaver Brook Falls in Colebrook, NH

Beaver Brook Falls is a hidden gem waterfall off the beaten path in the Great North Woods region. It’s a single cascade that stands over 80 feet and freezes into a giant tower of ice in the winter.

You can see the falls from the parking area, but I recommend strapping on your snowshoes or microspikes and taking a short walk to the base. The area around Beaver Brook Falls is also perfect for a leisurely walk in the woods along the walking trails that give you different views of the falls.

Getting there: Beaver Brook Falls Wayside, 432 NH-145, Colebrook, NH 03576

Tip: If you like history and happen to be there in June – September, stop by Moore Family Homestead Historic Farm Museum. It’s only a 5 minute drive from Beaver Brook Falls. This historic homestead museum is the last remaining original 100 acre historic farm settlement of its kind and an important historic landmark.

6. Enjoy a tasting flight at a local winery

Alpine Garden Winery is a new winery and cider mill in Bartlett, NH. They make locally grown wine and cider using local fruit, native yeast and minimal intervention.

The winery is open Friday – Sunday from 12-6pm. Head straight into the red barn and take a seat at the bar or at one of the little rustic tables.

The owners are very friendly and passionate about their wines. It’s so easy to strike up a conversation with them to learn more about their vineyard and minimal intervention processes.

Most of the wine and ciders here are pretty dry, which was great for me. I’m a dry wine girlie, so I loved everything.

Note that this is a small, local winery. They don’t serve snacks or tapas to order, but there are a few local charcuterie items for purchase in the cooler.

Getting there: Alpine Garden Winery, 1257 US-302, Bartlett, NH 03812

7. Visit IceCastles NH

Located in North Woodstock, IceCastles NH is a wintery fairytale land come to life. You can walk through archways, tunnels, slides, and thrones made entirely of ice. We didn’t get to experience it for ourselves on our last trip, but this is at the top of our must-do list next winter!

According to their website, IceCastles typically open in January. However, everything there is entirely weather dependent, so it may temporarily close or be unavailable due to weather.

Tickets can sell out fast, especially on weekends, so you should definitely book online in advance.

Getting there: IceCastles, 24 Clark Farm Rd, North Woodstock, NH 03262

8. Hike to Diana’s Baths in the White Mountains

Diana’s Baths in the White Mountains NH is such a pretty winter hike. This NH winter waterfall is only about 0.6 miles one way on a flat trail through the forest.

Visiting during winter in NH is a unique experience because you can explore a lot more than you can in the summer. If the river is frozen, you can walk right up to the base of the frozen waterfall.

Just remember to bring your microspikes for traction! Here’s a list of the best traction devices for walking on snow and ice.

Daily National Forest Pass ($5) is required here. You can purchase one ahead of time online or at the kiosk at the trailhead.

Getting there: Diana’s Baths, 3725 West Side Rd, Bartlett, NH 03812


Frozen waterfall at Diana's Baths in the winter

Here are some other amazing winter waterfall hikes in the White Mountains: 

  • Cloudland Falls via Falling Waters Trail, Lincoln NH (moderate)
  • Jackson Falls, Jackson NH (easy)

9. Take a winter train ride on The Cog

The Cog Railway (or just ‘The Cog’) in New Hampshire has been bringing passengers to the top of Mount Washington since the 1800s.

In the colder months, The Cog transforms into a scenic winter wonderland experience. While it doesn’t reach the summit due to the extreme winter conditions at the top of Mount Washington, the views and experience are still well worth a trip.

The winter trips typically go up to Waumbek Station, but sometimes goes as far as Skyline at 5500′, which is an area above the tree line with outstanding views of the Northern Presidentials, the western face of the Mount Washington summit and the Mount Washington Observatory.

Riding the Cog Railway during winter in NH is such an easy and accessible way to see the White Mountains in a completely different light. It’s perfect for families, couples, or anyone looking to add a dash of adventure to their winter adventures.

10. Savor wood fired pizza at Flatbread Company in North Conway

Cap off your visit to NH in the winter with some of the best wood fired pizza you’ll ever have.

The pizza at the Flatbread Company in North Conway is made using locally sourced organic ingredients. In fact, we ate here twice during our 3 day trip because their wood fired flatbread is DIVINE.

I also love that they give back to the community through local benefit nights with local non-profits.

This place gets ultra crowded around dinner time, so prepare for a wait if you show up at peak dinner hour!

Getting there: Flatbread Company, 2760 White Mountain Hwy, North Conway, NH 03860

Wood fired pizza at the Flatbread Company in North Conway NH

Important things to know before visiting New Hampshire in the winter

  • Download offline maps – Cell service here is super spotty, particularly once you get further into the mountains. We lost service completely in some areas. Don’t forget to download your route on offline Google Maps before you head out. I outline how to do that in my guide on How to Use Google Maps to Plan Your Road Trip.
  • White Mountain National Forest Pass – Most land within White Mountain National Forest is free of charge. However, certain areas change a recreation fee that goes toward the maintenance of trails and facilities.
    • Daily fee: $5 per day. You can buy a day pass at the self-serve pay stations in the parking lot.
    • White Mountain Annual Pass: $35 per year, or $40 per year for families. This is definitely the best deal if you’re staying for awhile or plan to visit more than once a year. You can buy an annual pass ahead of time here.

Mount Washington Snow Coach in the winter in NHSnowy views of the White Mountains from the Mt. Washington SnowCoach

Getting to New Hampshire

All of the NH winter activities on this list are located in The White Mountains and Great North Woods of Northern New Hampshire.

For this itinerary, the closest airports are:

  • Manchester-Boston Regional Airport (MHT) in Manchester, NH; 2.5 hour drive
  • Burlington International Airport (BTV) in Burlington, Vermont; 2.5 hour drive

You need your own car to make the most of your winter trip to New Hampshire, because many things are remote and very spread out.

Typically, you won’t need a 4×4 because the roads are generally very well maintained. However, winter in the mountains is unpredictable, so it’s always good to have 4WD if possible.

Scroll down to find my detailed 3-day NH winter road trip itinerary below.

There aren’t any buses or shuttle services in this part of New Hampshire, so relying on public transportation isn’t an option.

Tip: If you drive into New Hampshire from the west, break up the drive by stopping in the town of Littleton, NH! Grab lunch at Littleton Freehouse Taproom & Eatery and then browse the local art galleries. There are a few galleries to choose from, but we really liked League of NH Craftsmen Fine Craft Gallery for local handicrafts.

Driving during winter in the White Mountains in New HampshireViews of the White Mountains through the windshield

How to spend 3 days in NH in the winter

This 3-Day New Hampshire winter road trip packs a whole lot into a short amount of time. It’s mostly based in the White Mountains with a quick trip to the Great North Woods.

Day 1: Arrive in New Hampshire and check in at your Inn (we love The Wentworth!)

Day 2: Dog sledding with Muddy Paw Sled Dog; visit Beaver Brook Falls or tour IceCastles NH; fine dining at 1869 Room at The Wentworth

Day 3: Take a winter hike or visit Diana’s Baths; afternoon tasting flight at Alpine Garden Winery (open Friday – Sunday); Mount Washington SnowCoach or The Cog; dinner at Flatbread Company in North Conway

Did you enjoy this guide to the best things to do in New Hampshire in the winter? Let me know in the comments!

More New Hampshire Travel Guides:

Artists bluff: Hike the Artists Bluff Trail in Franconia Notch State Park NH

NH Fall Road Trip: 11+ Breathtaking Places to Experience Fall in New Hampshire (+ 3 Epic NH Fall Road Trip Itineraries)


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