Article Summary: New Hampshire National Parks
New Hampshire National Parks! We’ve got a few incredible national park sites for you to see on your next visit to the Granite state.
I’ve been to so many of these amazing places since retiring from teaching in 2018. Did I mention that I taught history? I spent a lifetime teaching about the history behind these momentous sites. Then I got to see them firsthand. And now I’m sharing the stories of these incredible places with you. It doesn’t get any better than that!
To be clear, these are national park sites (as in managed by the National Park Service) but they are not capital letter National Parks. There are only 63 of those (so far).
So, What Is A National Park?
We get asked that question a lot because there’s a difference between a “national park” and a “national park site.” To help you understand that difference you might want to check out our article titled: What Is A National Park Really?
One book that you might want to pick up before making your trip to the Granite State is: Explorer’s Guide New Hampshire (Explorer’s Complete) by Christina Tree.
We’re going to give you two reasons why you’ll want to make New Hampshire your next vacation destination.
Table Of Contents
New Hampshire National Parks
- The New Hampshire National Parks
- More New Hampshire National Parks
- New Hampshire National Forests
- Check Out Our Acadia National Park Film
- New Hampshire National Parks FAQ
- Meet The Parks Brothers
- Map Of New Hampshire National Parks
- List Of New Hampshire National Park Sites
- We Hope You’ll Follow Our Journey
The New Hampshire National Parks
1. Appalachian National Scenic Trail
New Hampshire National Parks includes the longest hiking trail in the world.
The Appalachian National Scenic Trail, also known as the A.T., is a 2,192-mile long hiking trail that runs along the Appalachian Mountains from Springer Mountain in Georgia to Mount Katahdin in Maine.
The trail was first proposed in 1921 by Benton MacKaye, a regional planner and forester, as a way to promote conservation and recreation in the Appalachian region.
The Appalachian Trail Conference
Over the next several years, a group of volunteers known as the Appalachian Trail Conference (ATC) worked to survey and mark the trail, and in 1937, the A.T. was completed.
The trail was placed under the management of the National Park Service (NPS) and the ATC, which is now the Appalachian Trail Conservancy (ATC), a private non-profit organization, who works in partnership with the NPS to maintain and protect the trail.
The trail has been used by hikers and backpackers for many years, but it did not officially become a National Scenic Trail until 1968, when the National Trails System Act was passed by Congress. This legislation also created other National Scenic and National Historic Trails across the United States.
One Of The Most Popular Long-Distance Hiking Trails In The World
The A.T. is now one of the most popular long-distance hiking trails in the world, and thousands of people attempt to hike the entire trail each year.
Many people hike the trail in sections over the course of several years, while others, known as “thru-hikers,” attempt to hike the entire trail in one trip, which usually takes around five to seven months.
The trail is considered one of the premier hiking trails in the world and it’s a unique opportunity for people to immerse themselves in nature and to experience the diversity of the Appalachian Mountains.
While In New Hampshire, Check Out AMC’s Pinkham Notch Visitor Center
Appalachian Mountain Club (AMC’s) Pinkham Notch Visitor Center in New Hampshire is at the base of Mount Washington.
This place is best known for their eight “huts” that are conveniently spaced a day’s hike apart along a 56-mile-long stretch of the Appalachian Trail in New Hampshire’s White Mountains.
The Visitor Center is a great place for hikers to get a hot meal. The Black Moose Deli is open for lunch and family style dinners are gloriously served in the evenings.
More New Hampshire National Parks
2. Saint-Gaudens National Historical Park
Of the New Hampshire National Parks, my personal favorite is Saint–Gaudens National Historical Park.
Saint–Gaudens National Historical Park in Cornish, New Hampshire, preserves the home, gardens, and studios of Augustus Saint-Gaudens, one of America’s foremost sculptors.
An Immigrant Who Rose To Greatness
Saint-Gaudens is the story of an immigrant who rose to greatness. He was born to an Irish shoemaker and his wife shortly before their relocation to New York in 1848.
Saint-Gaudens began his artistic career as a cameo cutter. In 1867, his father sent him to Paris to study with the academic sculptor François Jouffroy. He then moved back and forth between Europe and America taking jobs sculpting busts and cameos.
By the 1880s, he had graduated to public monuments.
Saint-Gaudens Purchases A Home In America
In 1885, Saint Gaudens bought a farm in Cornish, New Hampshire. He settled permanently in the United States. His residence served as both his home and his studio. It was also a place where artists could gather.
He renamed his property Aspet in honor of the French village where his father was born.
Self Described Choice Spirits | New Hampshire National Parks
During the summer months, a select group of artists, musicians, and actors came to Cornish. They came seeking inspiration from the New Hampshire countryside and interaction with one another. They also came to learn from Augustus Saint-Gaudens.
The art produced by the self-described “choice spirits” of Cornish helped define New England as a landscape of history and myth for all equally select group of patrons. (Source: Smithsonian American Art Museum)
Visitors Can Take Self-Guided Tours
Visitors can take self-guided tours of the grounds and galleries on their own. All of the artwork has interpretive labels. There are also exterior wayside exhibits located throughout the park and on the nature trails.
Visitors can tour the house. There are three rooms open to the public on the first floor where you can see the actual furnishings which belonged to the Saint-Gaudens Family.
Flower Gardens At Aspet
The beautiful flower gardens were designed by Augustus Saint-Gaudens. They are definitely worth seeing while visiting the park. There are pathways which divide the garden beds and magnificent statuary which marks the east and west ends.
Barn Complex At Saint-Gaudens Farm
Another point of interest are the farm buildings. These include a 2.5-story barn with associated shed additions, forming a U-shaped complex that opens towards the farmhouse. There is also a garage which was added in 1949.
Pond At Saint-Gaudens Farm
The beautiful pond at Saint-Gaudens was added in 1970. It’s another popular attraction for visitors to the complex.
Hiking Trails At Saint-Gaudens
Saint-Gaudens is a place for both art lovers and nature lovers. Over 100 acres of the park is forested with several nature trails winding through this woodland area. Interpretive wayside panels about the area’s natural history, are located along the trails.
The Ravine trail (.25 miles) begins at the Ravine studio. It ends at the Temple. The beginning and end of the trail consists of a steep slope, while the majority of the trail is flat and follows the Blow-Me-Up Brook.
The Blow-Me-Down & Sycamore Trails
The Blow-Me-Down Trail (2 miles round trip) begins at the lower field past the temple. Visitors can follow this trail all the way to the Blow-Me-Down Mill at the lower end of the park. A boardwalk near the trail’s lower end takes visitors to the shallow end of the mill pond.
The Sycamore Trail (.25 miles), a spur off of the Blow-Me-Down Trail, leads to an area frequented by beavers on the Blow-Me-Down Brook. (Source: National Park Service)
CHECK OUT: 15 MUST-SEE Historic Sites In New Hampshire
New Hampshire National Forests
White Mountain National Forest
Our specialty is more than just parks so we’re adding a forest to our list of incredible places to visit while in New Hampshire.
The White Mountain National Forest in eastern New Hampshire and western Maine ranges from mountainous hardwood forests to majestic alpine peaks.
It’s breathtaking scenery includes clear mountain lakes and streams, wildlife, and outdoor recreation opportunities year round.
If you’re looking to escape the crowds then keep in mind that national forests are typically much less crowded than national parks.
Things To Do At White Mountain National Forest
The 800,000 acre White Mountain National Forest is mainly located in New Hampshire though it does stretch into western Maine. There are so many incredible things for you to do during any season of the year. They include:
- Swim in cool, clear lakes and swimming holes
- Fish the forest’s rivers, lakes, and ponds
- Hike a cornucopia of waterfalls
- Climb the tallest mountain in New England (Mt. Washington)
- Or take a coach tour to the summit of Mt. Washington
- Or take a ride on the Mount Washington Cog Railway
Outdoor activities also includes bicycling, birdwatching, boating, hunting (pursuant to state regulations), gold panning and rockhounding (free permits are required), scenic driving, stargazing, and winter sports. And, you can do all of this inside of the national forest.
The People’s Forest | The Story Of The White Mountain National Forest
If you want to take a deeper dive into the history of this magnificent forest there’s a wonderful documentary to watch. The People’s Forest is the story of the White Mountain National Forest.
The documentary is about one of the greatest environmental comeback stories in American history. In the late 1800s, the White Mountains were ground zero for a vast environmental disaster caused by intensive logging and the massive forest fires, erosion and flooding that followed.
The destruction of New Hampshire’s forests sparked one of the nation’s first grassroots conservation movements and a decades-long national battle over the fate of eastern forestlands.
Leading the way was a unique partnership of citizens, business and civic groups that believed conservation could benefit both the environment and economy. This is the dramatic story of how those unlikely allies helped create the first National Forests east of the Mississippi and save the White Mountains. (Source: New Hampshire Film Festival)
Check Out Our Acadia National Park Film
MTJP | Acadia is the culmination of several weeks spent exploring Acadia National Park during peak fall color. This film is, in part, a celebration of Acadia’s upcoming centennial. It is dedicated to George Dorr.
Sculpted by Glaciers and landscaped by beavers, Acadia is full of wonderfully unique features. Rounded mountains, tranquil ponds, rocky coastline, & some of the most beautiful trails in the world comprise this marvelous wonder.
This film was shot entirely in 4K. Acadia National Park is unlike any other in the system sitting on Mt. Desert Island and the Schoodic Peninsula of Maine.
We chose to film the park during Autumn due to it’s reputation as one of the best places to see fall foliage in the world. What we witnessed and captured did not dissapoint.
Acadia is a quieter National Park that features one of the most beautiful road systems of any of the National Parks and boasts the first point in the United States the sun touches each morning.
Some of the locations we captured include: Jordan Pond, Bass Harbor Head Lighthouse, Otter Cliffs, Cadillac Mountain, Beaver Ponds, Schoodic Peninsula, and more.
New Hampshire National Parks FAQ
The Appalachian National Scenic Trail and Saint-Gaudens National Historic Site are the only two national parks in New Hampshire. Both of New Hampshire’s stunning national parks are worth visiting.
Among the most interesting historic sites in New Hampshire are the following:
Saint-Gaudens National Historical Park
Franklin Pierce Homestead
The Strawbery Banke Museum
Mount Washington Cog Railway
Harrisville Historic District
Epic Of American Civilization
Robert Frost Homestead
The Enfield Shaker Village
Appalachian National Scenic Trail
Castle in the Clouds
Fells Historic Estate and Gardens
Daniel Webster Birthplace State Historic Site
Canterbury Shaker Village
Why Trust Us About New Hampshire National Parks?
We’re Jim Pattiz and Will Pattiz, collectively known as the Pattiz Brothers (and sometimes the Parks Brothers) and we absolutely LOVE the national parks.
You should probably know that we don’t just make this stuff up out of thin air. We’ve spent our entire adult lives exploring and filming America’s national parks and public lands.
We’ve worked with the National Park Service, the Department of Interior, USDA, and the U.S. Forest Service for years creating films on important places and issues. Our work has been featured in leading publications all over the world and even some people outside of our immediate family call us experts on the national parks.
Meet The Parks Brothers
Map Of New Hampshire National Parks
List Of New Hampshire National Park Sites
- Appalachian National Scenic Trail
- Saint-Gaudens National Historical Park
We Hope You’ll Follow Our Journey
Our goal here at More Than Just Parks is to share the beauty of America’s national parks and public lands through stunning short films in an effort to get Americans and the world to see the true value in land conservation.
We hope you’ll follow our journey through the parks and help us to keep them the incredible places that they are. If you’re interested in joining the adventure then please sign up below!
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