Hiking New Hampshire’s “52 With A View” List
The 52 With A View list of mountains, also known as the “Over The Hill Hikers,” comprises 52 mountains in New Hampshire that have an elevation of under 4,000 feet and have outstanding views.
History of 52 With a View
The 52 With A View mountain list was established by a group of ordinary hikers back in 1979. Lib Bates and her husband, Charlie Crooker, took over organizing the group. It wasn’t until 1990 that the official list was established when the older members of the group grew tired of only hiking mountains over 4,000 feet. These members established the 52 With a View list and a patch is now available upon completion of the list.
Where Is 52 With a View?
The mountains found on the 52 With A View list are located throughout New Hampshire. The vast majority of them are found in the middle of the state, scattered throughout the White Mountain National Forest, but there are some outliers. Mount Monadnock is in Southern New Hampshire (ranked the most hiked mountain in the world), whereas Magalloway Mountain is located less than 20 miles from the Canadian border.
The rules are very simple. You must hike to the summit of the mountain, by foot, and then back to the bottom of the mountain, by foot. You can summit multiple peaks per hike (known as peakbagging) if applicable and each peak will count toward completing the list.
Difficulty and Time to Complete
Completion of the list varies from person to person. Some people will take an entire lifetime to complete the list, working on it slowly, and taking their time to complete it. Others will complete the list in a year or less. It varies from person to person.
The difficulty of the mountains found on the 52 With A View varies. Just because a mountain is less than 4,000 feet doesn’t mean it will be easier than some of the mountains over 4,000 feet. Information on each peak can be found in the White Mountain Guides, on various websites, or on the 52 With A View Facebook group. A great source for difficulty levels of each peak is New England Waterfalls. There is also a Google Map developed just for locating the 52 With A View found here.
Probably one of the most popular mountains on the 52 With A View List, and the one that usually jump-starts hikers to continue pursuing the list, is Mount Monadnock. Not only is this mountain the most southern peak on the list, making it easier to access for most hikers, it has outstanding views from the trail and on the summit. Although this peak is only 3,166 feet, that doesn’t mean it’s easy, either. The White Dot Trail, which is the most popular trail to the summit, gains 1,800 feet in 2.2 miles.
Another very popular hike for newbie hikers are the Welch/Dickey Loop. Welch and Dickey mountains are two peaks that offer outstanding views from both summits and are easily accessible from the highway. They only count as one checkmark on the list, but are worth tackling together because they aren’t too difficult and have amazing views. Total mileage is under five and elevation gain is 1,800 feet, making this a fun and slightly challenging hike to tackle.
Suggested Peak to Start
Depending on your level of hiking experience and fitness level, there are a few peaks that could be good to start with. For more physically fit hikers and those with previous hiking experience, Mount Chocorua (3,478 feet) is an excellent peak to start on. It offers amazing views, challenging trails, and is easy to get to. For less experienced hikers or those looking to increase their fitness levels, Mount Kearsarge (2,937 feet) or Mount Willard (2,865 feet) are both great options. Mount Willard is farther north, but is easier to hike than Kearsarge. Kearsarge offers arguably better views and is easier to travel to, but is a little more of a challenge to hike.
Who Will Want to Hike this List
This list would be enjoyable for anyone who likes getting outside into the mountains, or those who are looking to increase their time outside and away from the most popular NH trails. The mountains on the list vary in difficulty and length, offer challenges for more experienced hikers, but also give newer hikers the opportunity to work through the list and grow as they hike. The accessibility to the mountains on this list vary; some are much easier to drive to than others, and some of the trails are heavily trafficked and offer little in the way of a peaceful wilderness experience unless hiked in the off-season (winter).
Pros and Cons
- Most (if not all) peaks are easy to access.
- There are many resources on the trails and peaks, both online and in the White Mountain Guide.
- Great views on all the summits.
- The difficulty of the peaks varies offering something for everyone.
- A lot of the peaks are heavily trafficked, which takes away from the wilderness experience.
- Most of the peaks on the list are scattered throughout the state, meaning you’ll be doing a lot of driving to get to each peak.
- Completing the list will take longer for most hikers as there are a limited number of hikes where you can bag more than one peak.
All of the peaks on this list can be hiked in any season. However, it is strongly recommended that only experienced and seasoned hikers pursue these peaks in winter conditions.
Find more Information
For further information or to request a patch ($5 fee per patch), contact Mark Tuckerman at [email protected]. Mail the completed checklist of when you hiked each mountain, your name, address, date, and the mountain where you completed the list to:
Center Harbor, NH
Featured image courtesy Maggie Slepian
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