When I was planning to embark on my first (and let's face it, ONLY) New Hampshire 4,000 footer hike, I had no clue which mountain I wanted to summit first. I asked around and chatted with friends who are more well-versed in hiking than I am.
I did feel the urge to go with the "easiest", so I wouldn't be terrified to do the other 47. But the word "easy" is so subjective and means different things to different people. Weather can also make a huge impact on how a person remembers a mountain.
A man looking at the view from Mount Washington
Getty Images/iStockphoto
Mount Tecumseh has the lowest elevation at 4,003 feet, and is regarded as the easiest among the NH 48. It is rated at a five on this chart that ranks all 48 4,000 footers in terms of difficulty and scenic rating.
According to the New Hampshire Subreddit group, these hikes are great 4,000 footers to tackle first:
  •  Waumbek - It's on the longer side, but the grade is very easy and consistent.
  • Zealand - Even longer than Waumbek. The area is beautiful area though, and the view from Zeacliff is absolutely breathtaking.
  • Ammonoosuc up to Monroe is also on the steadier side, and that trail is gorgeous.
  • Jackson- Make sure you go by way of Webster Cliffs.

For me, the suggestion I kept hearing was Mount Pierce. I was told it's the not the easiest, but it's a fantastic introduction to NH 48, so that is what I did!

I'd give the experience an eight out of 10, only because we ran into a water issue, which was 100% our own stupidity. Yeah, one water bottle per person isn't enough. LESSON LEARNED.

Mount Pierce had great views, and Gibbs Falls was lovely! It was sheltered all the way until the summit, which was much appreciated.

I would never call it "easy", but for someone who is in relatively good shape, I thought it was manageable. It certainly gave me the itch, and I can't wait to strap on my hiking boots and summit another 4,000 footer soon (this time with a tiny human strapped to my back).

If you are thinking of hiking the New Hampshire 48 and can't decide which mountain to do first, I would absolutely recommend Mount Pierce as a good starting point.

Of course, it should go without saying that there are entire communities of people with far more knowledge and experience hiking these mountains than I do. I am only speaking to my own (very limited) experience.

I recommend joining the 4,000 Footer Club-Climbing and Hiking in New Hampshire Facebook group. Those folks really know their stuff, and would be happy to help guide you in the right direction.

Happy hiking, and stay safe!

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