In my 20s I hiked up Carter Notch (with a backpack. In the winter. It wasn't pretty.) I more or less completed Outward Bound in Montana (bigger backpack, even uglier!). I also spent many nights at AMC lodges in New Hampshire. But my husband isn't fond of mosquitoes or tents and my 3 year old would be happy to live in a stroller. So I am proud to report that we did our first two family hikes and had a fantastic time. Both hikes were listed as "very easy", but when you have a 25 pound child in a frame pack and your three year old keeps saying, "Hold me, Mommy," even an easy hike can feel like a challenge. But at the end, despite needing to bribe my son with apple juice to keep walking on his own, it was completely worth it.Our first hike was to Diana's Baths, which is right off West Side Road in Bartlett, New Hampshire. The hike is along a 1/2 mile path that would even hold a narrow trail stroller. It is a lovely walk into the woods. And at the end was a spectacular series of waterholes. Other people clearly swim here as they passed us with their towels and picnic lunches. We were content to dip our feet in, to check out the beautiful butterflies and the snake that slithered by.
The second was to Glen Ellis Falls which is located right on Route 16, just before Pinkham Notch. You park on one side of the road, and then go under the highway, through a tunnel. The hike is more like a stairmaster in the woods, as you climb down a series of rock stairs to a gorgeous 65 foot high waterfall. The toddler needed to be supported as he walked on the slippery steps, but he loved it.
For a great list of waterfalls in New Hampshire, click here.