Every year, thousands of hikers hike on more than 500 trails that cover over 1,400 miles in the White Mountains. As the tallest mountains in New England, the White Mountains have long appealed to people, from the Paleoindians and Abenaki who lived in the fertile mountain valleys long before Europeans arrived, to the farmers, tourists, hoteliers, and lumbermen of the 19th and 20th centuries. The rich ecological history is equally matched by the rich human history.
No longer the wild, untamed wilderness that attracted artists and tourists in the 19th century, the White Mountains are now surrounded by civilization. Roads are never very far from the hikers on White Mountains trails. Yet, within 20 minutes of hiking, the sounds of cars give way to the rustling of trees in the wind and the crunch of boots on the trail. This combination of proximity and remoteness makes hiking in the White Mountains an experience accessible to millions of people within a day's drive of the region.
Many hikers focus on the crown jewels of the Whites, such as the Presidential Range, known for its above-treeline hiking and striking views. Still, other hikers seek the solitude of the more remote mountains, while a few hardy souls forgo trails altogether to bushwhack wherever they please. This diversity in pursuits highlights the allure of the White Mountains, offering something for every hiker.
The White Mountains offer a landscape of wilderness and civilization, adventure and connection to the vast tapestry of time. These are the White Mountains from a hiker's point of view.
Exhibit curated by Daniel Abosso, Research & Learning Librarian for Humanities and Social Sciences; designed by Dennis Grady.
Baker-Berry Library, Reiss Hall, September 4 – December 1, 2023