Five Surprising Winter Views
There is no shortage of great views to be found in the White Mountains any time of year, but those willing to brave the harsh, cold conditions are often rewarded with especially beautiful sights during the winter.
And while some peaks offer outstanding, 360-degree views no matter when you visit, there are some spots that might not be anything special normally that suddenly become hidden gems during the winter.
Whether because of the thinner tree cover or, in some years, significant snow depth that can lift hikers above the trees entirely, here are a few peaks with views that are often better in the winter. Important caveat, winter conditions are unpredictable and vary by year and location, so the views described may not be present every winter.
Elevation: 4,006 feet
Mt. Waumbek is one of the best 4,000-footers for hikers new to winter hiking, and it also boasts one of the season’s best and most reliable views.
Upon reaching the summit of adjacent Mt. Starr King, hikers will be treated to an unparalleled view of the Presidential Range, which pops even more when blanketed in snow. A similar view can be found just past the wooded summit of Waumbek itself, and while it’s not possible to see through the trees at the main peak, the nearby clearing also offers excellent views and a great spot to stop and rest.
While similar views can be found at other times of year, winter really enhances the Waumbek and Starr King experience in a unique way.
Elevation: 4,051 feet
Normally the summit of Mt. Tom is not anything to write home about. The peak is covered in short stubby trees that are difficult to see through, and any views you do get tend not to be great. But in certain high-snow years, the snow can get deep enough to lift hikers above the trees, unlocking what might be one of the coolest views in the White Mountains.
Situated along the Willey Range between the Presidential Range and the Pemigewasset Wilderness, Mt. Tom offers a unique vantage point of both regions during the winter. Similarly improved views can be found along the Willey Range, making the Willey-Field-Tom trifecta a great winter peak bagging opportunity.
Elevation: 4,832 feet
Similar to Mt. Tom, Carter Dome doesn’t usually boast much of a view. There are a couple of isolated viewpoints but normally the tree cover is too tall and too thick to see past. But with enough snow, suddenly Carter Dome’s summit becomes a brilliant landscape boasting outstanding views across the Carter-Moriah Range and out towards the Presidential Range.
The snow can have a similar effect across the Carter-Moriah Trail, turning parts of the wooded ridgeline into an outstanding winter treat. The downside, however, is that the trail tends to be less traveled so navigating the rugged landscape can be tougher than places like Franconia Ridge.
Elevation: 4,140 feet
Middle Tripyramid fits into a similar category as Mt. Tom and Carter Dome where, with enough snow on the ground, a normally unremarkable view transforms into a cool and unique vista.
Under the right circumstances, Middle Tripyramid offers both a great look back towards Passaconaway, Mt. Washington further off in the distance, as well as a cool view directly down into Waterville Valley. The ski slopes along the side of Mt. Tecumseh are unmistakable, and the view over to Mt. Osceola is pretty striking as well.
Elevation: 4,025 feet
Let me just say up front that the view from Owl’s Head’s summit in the winter isn’t necessarily great. The trees are still too tall to see over even with a lot of snow and there aren’t any great clearings for photos. That being said, what you can see is pretty cool and a massive improvement from what you’d get during the summer.
With comparatively thin tree cover, it’s possible to see out to Bondcliff on one side and the Franconia Range on the other. Given Owl’s Head’s unique position in the heart of the Pemigewasset Wilderness, this is a view you can’t get anywhere else and adds an extra payoff to the long trek out from Lincoln Woods.
Helpful Links for Planning your Hike
Other Hiking Blog PostsFirst Five 4000 Footers
Top Five 4000 Footer Views
First Five Winter Hikes
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