The Highest Mountains in New Hampshire

The highest mountains in New Hampshire are also some of the highest in the Northeastern US. Ready to learn more? Keep reading.

Travel and Exploration
14 December 2023

New Hampshire is a northeastern state with an abundance of natural wonders. One of the six New England states, more than four-fifths of its land is forested. And most of the trees found in the eastern US are indigenous to the state. It’s also rich in waterways, with over 800 lakes and ponds, and approximately 19,000 miles of waterways. And then there are its mountains. It has around 54 peaks over 4,000 feet. Of those, seven exceed 5,000 feet. As for New Hampshire’s highest peak, it reaches over 6,000 feet above sea level.

So let’s explore these giants of the Granite state, starting with where to find them.

The White Mountains

Autumn in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. (Credit: Jorge Moro via Getty Images)

Most of the highest mountains in New Hampshire, and in the entire northeastern US, are part of the White Mountains. Protected within the remit of the 800,000-acre White Mountain National Forest, they run for 87 miles across before slightly encroaching into Maine. Part of the Appalachian Mountains, the White Mountains are then also subdivided into numerous groups, including the Presidential, Carter-Moriah, and Sandwich ranges and the Franconia Mountains. All but the peaks of the highest of the White Mountains are under dense forest cover, and the range is renowned for its “notches.” This is the name attributed to the passes that dissect it, unique for their rounded glacier-formed shape.

Mount Washington

Mount Washington, New Hampshire (Credit: DenisTangneyJr via Getty Images)

Rising nearly 1.2 miles, or 6,288 feet to be precise, Mount Washington is the tallest mountain in New Hampshire. More than that, it’s also the most prominent mountain in the northeastern US. Named after George Washington, this wide, steep behemoth is the pinnacle of a group all named after Presidents. As the tallest of the Presidential Range, it was named after the first president.

Located in Coos County, most of Mount Washington is within White Mountain National Forest. However, its summit is not. That’s part of Mount Washington State Park. Aside from this geographical quirk, Mount Washington is renowned for its truly extreme weather. Its summit even holds second place for the world’s highest recorded wind speed of 231 miles per hour. It has two subpeaks rising above 5,000 feet, Mount Clay and Boott Spur.

Mount Adams

View from the summit of Mount Adams, New Hampshire (Credit: Cappi Thompson via Getty Images)

The second biggest mountain in New Hampshire is named for the second US president, John Adams. Mount Adams’ top peak reaches 5,793 feet above sea level, followed swiftly thereafter by its subsidiary peaks, Mount Sam Adams and Mount Quincy Adams, at 5,584 and 5,394 feet respectively. While these are named after his cousin and son, President John Quincy Adams, one of its smaller subpeaks, Abigail Adams, is in honour of his wife. Were any of these peaks mountains in their own right, they would be in the top ten highest mountains in New Hampshire. Instead, they are classed as part of Mount Adams.

Mount Jefferson

Mount Jefferson in New Hampshire (Credit: Cappi Thompson via Getty Images)

Along the north ridge of the Presidential Range, we move onto the third tallest mountain in New Hampshire and the third US president. The 5,712-foot-high Mount Jefferson is named in honour of Thomas Jefferson. Around the mountain are the trio of Jefferson Ravine, Castle Ravine, and the Great Gulf, all glacial cirques. What’s more, at around 5,407 feet, instead of the stony talus one would expect, there’s the anomalous green patch known as the Monticello Lawn.

Mount Monroe

Presidential Range, New Hampshire (Credit: Cappi Thompson via Getty Images)

Rocky and rugged, Mount Monroe reaches a height of 5,372 feet, making it the fourth biggest mountain in New Hampshire. And yet, possibly due to a surveying error, it bucks the naming convention of the Presidential Range, its namesake being the fifth president, James Monroe. Like others in the group, the summit of Mount Monroe has a subarctic climate, allowing unusual alpine vegetation to grow, such as the yellow-flowered Robbins Cinquefoil.

Mount Madison

The foot of Mount Madison, New Hampshire (Credit: Wild Horizon / Contributor via Getty Images)

Northernmost of the Presidential Range, is Mount Madison. At 5,367 feet of elevation, it’s the fifth highest point in New Hampshire, while its namesake, James Madison, was the fourth President of the United States.

Mount Lafayette

Ridge trail to Mount Lafayette in White Mountains, New Hampshire. (Credit: Posnov via Getty Images)

It’s the sixth tallest mountain in New Hampshire and the tallest outside the Presidential Range. Instead, standing at a height of 5,249 feet, Mount Lafayette is part of the Franconia Range. It’s named after French aristocrat, the Marquis de La Fayette, Gilbert du Motier. It shares many characteristics with its taller counterparts, including rising above the treeline, where its harsh conditions support an alpine zone.

New Hampshire's Highest Peaks

Snow-capped peaks, White Mountains National Forest, New Hampshire (Credit: DenisTangneyJr via Getty Images)

Covering around a quarter of the state, the White Mountains are home to the highest mountains in New Hampshire. Formed over millions of years by fire and ice, they represent some of the Granite State’s most outstanding features.


[h2] New Hampshire’s highest peaks
Covering around a quarter of the state, the White Mountains are home to the highest mountains in New Hampshire. Formed over millions of years by fire and ice, they represent some of the Granite State’s most outstanding features.

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