What could be more incredible than watching the sun rise from the top of a mountain? Nothing! The White Mountains of NH are a beautiful place on an ordinary day, but once the first rays of sunlight peak over the mountain range, it’s something pretty special. Planning a sunrise hike can be tricky, but the extra preparation is always worth the pay off.
Tips for planning a sunrise hike:
Go where you know.
Choose an easier trail you are familiar with. For instance, Mount Willard is a great sunrise hike option. It’s short, relatively easy, and has incredible views!
Bring a headlamp with extra batteries. Having a reliable lighting source is key when hiking in the dark, and don’t forget to pack an extra set of batteries!
Use the buddy system.
Never hike solo, especially at night. Bring a hiking buddy or buddies along to enjoy the trip with you.
Be mindful of any wildlife, campsites, or other hikers on the trail. Pay close attention to your surroundings and maintain solid footing as much as possible.
Dress like an onion.
Always prepare and pack for temps that are 20 degrees cooler than the expected forecast calls for. Without the warmth from the sun, the air is cool and brisk, even during the summer months. You’ll want to dress in layers, and always pack extra layers and a jacket.
It’s important that you time out your hike accordingly, so that you don’t miss dawn. Give yourself 30 extra minutes of time to kill when planning your hike. Hiking in the dark requires a bit more patience, so make sure you give yourself plenty of time to reach the summit before the sun comes up.
Set an alarm, and stick to it! That 3 am alarm clock isn’t going to be pretty, but you’ll be glad you went through with your plan.
Sunrise hike recommendations in NH
Willard is an excellent option for a sunrise hike. The trail is short, relatively flat, and the views from the summit will blow you away. Starting at the Crawford Notch AMC Highland Center, take the Mount Willard Trail for 1.6 miles until you reach the summit with panoramic views of the valley. Watch the peaks in the distance light up with fiery reds, oranges, and pinks as the day begins.
Cardigain is a great choice for a sunrise hike. Located in Orange, New Hampshire. The West side of the mountain is Cardigan State Park, where the West Ridge trail begins. This is one of the easiest trails to ascend to the top of the mountain. The summit offers 360 panoramic views with a tower at its summit.
Welch & Dickey Mountain