To go camping in the White Mountain National Forest is truly a memorable experience. The forest has 23 developed campgrounds for you to choose from. The scenery here makes this a breathtaking location to camp and spend time relaxing.
So where are the 11 perfect camping destinations in the White Mountain National Forest?
- Dolly Copp Campground
- Campton Campground
- Hancock Campground
- Covered Bridge Campground
- Jigger Johnson Campground
- Hastings Campground
- Sugarloaf I Campground
- Passaconaway Campground
- Russell Pond Campground
- Cold River Campground
- Wildwood Campground
I think these campgrounds make a really good place to set up camp for a couple days. Not only do they have good camping but they are close to lots of other recreational opportunities.
Finding the perfect place to camp is the foundation for an enjoyable vacation or weekend camping trip. A camping location with activities for the whole family to enjoy creates memories that will last a lifetime. Having memorable experiences are something that you and your family will reminisce about for years to come.
Before I tell you about the campgrounds I want to tell you a little bit about the White Mountain National Forest for those of you who aren’t familiar with it.
The forest is in eastern New Hampshire and part of western Maine. There is almost 800,000 acres in the forest and you will find some of the highest peaks in the northeast there.
The White Mountain National Forest is an extremely popular destination with over 6 million people visiting per year. The recreational opportunities include fishing, hunting, hiking, biking, skiing, sledding, snowboarding and a whole lot more. It is truly a year round vacation destination.
You can view abundant wildlife in the forest including moose, deer and even the small woodland critters. The forest has over 12,000 acres of wetlands which provide a perfect opportunity to watch a variety of birds.
Make sure to pack your hiking boots because there is 1,200 miles of hiking trails. That figure includes 160 miles of the Appalachian Trail.
The Kancamagus Scenic Byway is a section of NH Route 112 and cuts through the forest. The byway is 34½ miles long and goes from Lincoln to Conway. This popular route showcases spectacular mountain views and the amazing colors of the foliage making this byway a must for leaf peepers!
11 perfect places to camp in the White Mountain National Forest
Dolly Copp Campground is about 6 miles south of Gorham, New Hampshire and has 170+ nicely sized sites. It is the biggest campground in the forest. The latitude and longitude coordinates are 44° 19′ 58.0001″ N and 71° 13′ 9.9998″ W.
You can make reservations at this campground and there are also sites that are available on a first-come basis.
The campground sets at the base of Mount Washington and is a popular jump-off point for various recreational activities. Hardwood, pine and spruce trees provide a beautiful setting for this campground.
Water spigots are conveniently located throughout the multiple loops of the campground. Amenities include coin operated showers and flush toilets.
The Peabody River and Culhane Brook run through the campground and offers you a chance to cast your line for some brook trout. Interpretive programs are available during the summer.
There is a nature trail in the campground. The Daniel Webster Scout Trail is accessible from the campground for those who want to take the just over 4 mile hike up Mount Madison.
If you need further information you can contact the campground at 603-466-2713.
Campton Campground has over 50 sites and is north of Campton, New Hampshire. It is conveniently located off of Interstate 93. The latitude and longitude coordinates are 43° 52′ 23.9999″ N and 71° 37′ 36.0001″ W.
You can make reservations at this campground and there are also sites that are available on a first-come basis.
The campground sits among white pines and hardwoods providing nice shaded sites to help beat the summertime heat. It is a popular family destination and is only about a 2 hour drive from Boston.
There are coin operated showers, flush toilets and drinking water available.
Make sure to bring along your fishing equipment so you can try your hand at catching some fish. You might catch a brook trout, brown bullhead, yellow perch or pickerel on the Mad River or in the 30-acre Campton Pond. But power boats are not allowed on the pond.
They also have interpretive programs, hiking and biking trails close by for you to enjoy while you are camping.
If you need further information you can contact the campground at 603-536-6100.
Hancock Campground is 5 miles east of Lincoln, New Hampshire. It is on Route 112 also known as the Kancamagus Highway. The coordinates are 44.06369 latitude and -71.594207 longitude.
One of the benefits of this campground is that it is open year round and they plow it out during the winter months. No services are available during the winter months.
The campground has 50+ sites. But you cannot reserve sites ahead of time, they are all on a first-come basis. There are vault and flush toilets and water spigots are available.
The Lincoln Woods Trailhead is nearby with a 160-foot-long suspension bridge that crosses over the Pemigewasset River. This trail provides access to the Pemigewasset Wilderness.
You can fish on the Pemigewasset River, hike, bike, picnic, swim and enjoy many other recreational activities from here.
For further information about the campground call 603-536-6100.
Covered Bridge Campground is about 6 miles west of Conway, New Hampshire. The latitude and longitude coordinates are 44° 0′ 11.9999″ N and 71° 13′ 55.9999″ W.
The campground is off of the scenic Kancamagus Highway and has 45+ sites. You can make reservations at this campground and there are also sites that are available on a first-come basis.
When coming into the campground from the Kancamagus Highway you will have to cross the Albany Covered Bridge, which has a 7’9” height restriction. If your RV is higher than that you will have to use Passaconaway Road to enter the campground.
The covered bridge was constructed in 1858. It is 120 feet long and is a Paddleford truss style bridge with added arches. This beautiful bridge spans the Swift River and has a 6 ton weight limit.
The campground has 49 sites situated in a hardwood forest. The campground has two loops but it doesn’t have a dump station or hot showers. Water is available through a hand pump and there are vault restrooms.
You can fish at a fishing pier that is nearby, you can also go biking and hiking. This campground is a beautiful location to visit in the fall for seeing spectacular foliage.
For further information about the campground you can call 603-447-2166.
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Jigger Johnson Campground is about 13 miles west of Conway, New Hampshire. There are 75 sites but you cannot reserve them ahead of time as they are all on a first-come basis. The coordinates are 43.997879 latitude and -71.333931 longitude.
The campground is off the Kancamagus Highway and is a very popular camping spot so try to get there early. Water spigots are conveniently located throughout the campground. There are coin operated showers and flush toilets.
You can walk to the Swift River so you can be fishing in no time or taking a swim. The sites are spacious and clean with fire pits and picnic tables. The campground is in a very beautiful location. They have interpretive programs in the summer months. There are places to hike and bike close by.
For more information about Jigger Johnson Campground call 603-447-5448.
Hastings Campground is located south of Gilead, Maine. The latitude and longitude coordinates are 44° 21′ 6.9998″ N and 70° 59′ 3.0001″ W.
You can make camping reservations ahead of time and there are also sites that are available on a first-come basis.
This small loop campground has only 24 sites. Hardwoods shade the sites and the campground is quiet. There are vault restrooms that are accessible and a hand pump for water. There also is a space for the kids to play.
Evans Brook and the Wild River are close by for some excellent fly fishing. Hiking trails of different lengths and skill levels are also nearby including the Appalachian Trail which is about ½ hour away.
For further information about the campground call 603-466-2713.
Sugarloaf 1 Campground is about a 10 minute drive south east of Twin Mountain. There are 29 pretty quiet sites in this out-of-the-way campground. The latitude and longitude coordinates are 44° 15′ 37.0001″ N and 71° 30′ 16.9999″ W.
You can make camping reservations ahead of time. But there are also sites that are available on a first-come basis.
The Zealand River is walking distance from the campground and the Ammonoosuc River is close-by. The campground is at the foot of Mount Washington on the western side.
While staying at the campground you can enjoy fishing and hiking. You are just minutes away from rock climbing, mountain bike trails and numerous other activities. There are lots of hiking trails nearby for you to explore.
There are fire pits and a picnic table perfect for enjoying a quiet meal after a long day of hiking. Water is available at spigots and there are accessible restrooms with flush toilets. To get more information you can call 603-536-6100.
Passaconaway Campground has 30+ sites and is about 15 miles west of Conway, New Hampshire. The campground is in the pines, quiet and more on the rustic side. The pines smell really fragrant and add a special element to your camping experience.
The campground is also located off of the scenic Kancamagus Highway. The GPS coordinates are 43.99763997 latitude and -71.37096734 longitude. This is another campground that you cannot reserve sites ahead of time, they are all on a first-come basis.
It is a short drive from the Jigger Johnson Campground. There are vault toilets and water spigots available. You can walk to the Swift River and the trailheads for the Mt. Potash Trail, UNH Trail and Downes Brook Trail are right close by.
A word of caution if you are going hiking the weather can change quickly so be prepared for changes in the weather. Be sure to pack warm clothes, rain gear and appropriate hiking boots.
For more information about the campground call 603-536-6100.
Russell Pond Campground is a gorgeous campground that overlooks Russell Pond. There are abundant hardwoods that mostly shade the sites providing an excellent camping location. The campground has 80+ sites and is located conveniently off of Interstate 93 near Woodstock, New Hampshire. The latitude and longitude coordinates are 44° 0′ 31.4798″ N and 71° 38′ 56.1401″ W.
The campground is very busy because many people like to come here to fish and boat on the 40-acre pond. Boating is allowed but only non-motorized. The pond has a beach, dock and boat ramp. They stock the pond regularly so there is a pretty good chance you will catch some fish!
Because the location is so popular making a camping reservation ahead of time is a good idea. But there are also sites that are available on a first-come basis.
You can get a hot shower at the end of a busy day at their coin-operated showers and there are flush toilets.
While here you can also enjoy swimming, hiking, biking, canoeing, kayaking or picnicking. They also offer interpretive programs. This is truly an excellent location for camping and exploring.
If you have any other questions about the campground you can call 603-536-6100.
Cold River Campground is north of Fryeburg, Maine by about 15 miles. This is a really nice, small campground with 14 sites. The latitude and longitude coordinates are 44° 15′ 51.9998″ N and 71° 0′ 47.9999″ W.
Campers can make reservations ahead of time and there are also sites that are available on a first-come basis.
You can enjoy an afternoon of canoeing and fishing for trout at nearby Basin Pond. Evans Brook is also close to the campground. There are also places to bike, hike and picnic. It is a just one great place to kick back and relax.
There are restrooms and water, but no showers or dump station. Pines and hardwoods make up the area making it a great place to bird watch. It is one of those places that you will want to go back to again and again.
For further information about the campground call 603-447-2166.
Wildwood Campground is about 7 miles west of the town of Lincoln off of Route 112. There are 26 sites but you cannot reserve them ahead of time as they are all on a first-come basis. The latitude and longitude coordinates are 44° 4′ 30.3597″ N and 71° 47′ 37.2418″ W.
The campground has a rustic feel to it. There are vault toilets, picnic tables, fire rings and it is close to the Wild Ammonoosuc River. There is a picnic area with a pavilion across the road from the campground.
While at the campground you can enjoy fishing, hiking, biking and wildlife watching (if you are lucky a moose might even wander past.) The scenery is spectacular if you are there in the fall to enjoy the amazing fall foliage. You can also see Mount Moosilauke from here.
You can get additional information about the campground by calling 603-536-6100.
The campgrounds above have their own unique characteristics for you to enjoy. I am sure you will come up with a favorite one. Campground fees start at $18 to $24 per night.
Remember if you have pets to keep them on a leash. Do not bring firewood into the White Mountain National Forest, please buy at the location or near the location you will be camping. This will help prevent the spread of invasive species.
The area that you are camping in has bears so be sure to secure your food accordingly. If you are looking for a cooler to store food in safely check out our recommended gear section to see the cooler we use.
To help you decide on a campground you can see a map of the campgrounds in the White Mountain National Forest here.
Some of the campgrounds listed don’t take reservations, but if you would like to make a reservation at one of the ones that do go here.
Things to do while in the White Mountains
Flume Gorge is north of Lincoln, New Hampshire on Route 3 just take Exit 34-A off of Interstate 93 to get there. There great thing about visiting here is you can do a self-guided trip through this natural gorge. I like it when I can go at my own speed and don’t have to rush.
The chasm is at the foot of Mount Liberty and stretches for 800 feet. Walls of granite 70 to 90 feet high dwarf you as you go through the chasm. The distance between the walls of the chasm varies from between 12 to 20 feet apart.
The trip is about 2 miles if you do the loop or you can just walk through the gorge. As you hike along the trail you will see waterfalls, caves, covered bridges and gorgeous views. To see a map of Flume Gorge go here.
The gorge is open mid-May to mid-October. Hours start at 8:30 and admission is $16 for adults, $14 for kids 6 to 12 and kids under 5 get in free.
To get more information about Flume Gorge visit their website here.
Loon Mountain Resort is at 60 Loon Mountain Road off of Route 112 (Kancamagus Highway) east of Lincoln, New Hampshire.
Seeking some thrills? Then this is the place for you! Loon Mountain has the longest scenic gondola ride in the state of New Hampshire. This 10 minute ride takes you to the top of Loon Mountain where you can enjoy the breathtaking views of the surrounding area.
After you have enjoyed the gondola ride make sure to get another thrill by trying out their zipline. You will fly through the air for an amazing 750 feet as you cross over the Pemigewasset River.
Also located at the resort is The Aerial Forest Adventure Park. Harness up and try out your skills on their rope courses while suspended above the ground. They have 5 courses designed for varying skill levels. The course ranges from 9 to over 40 feet above the ground. So if you are afraid of heights you are going to need nerves of steel.
This is a few of the highlights of what Loon Mountain Resort has to offer in the summertime. In the summertime they open at 10am. The resort also has winter activities available including tubing, skiing and even ice skating.
They have day packages with different activity options available in the packages so the cost will vary. For more information visit their website here.
Mount Washington Auto Road is one experience that you won’t want to miss when you are van camping in the White Mountains. Mount Washington is 6,288.2 feet at the summit and is the highest peak in the northeastern United States. It is famous for its unpredictable weather.
The auto road is on Route 16 in Pinkham Notch which is 8 miles south of Gorham, New Hampshire. The GPS coordinates are: 44.28850 latitude and -71.22580 longitude.
You can drive yourself or take a guided trip. The auto road is open mid-May until mid-October. The views on this drive are spectacular but there are no guide rails, the road is narrow and steep. The average grade of the road is 12%. The drive up will take you about a half hour, depending on how many stops you make on the way up. The drive is a little over 7 1/2 miles to get to the top.
When coming down the trip down may take longer depending on if you have stop and let your brakes cool off. There are pull-off places to stop if you want to enjoy the view or to cool off your brakes.
The drive usually opens at 8am. But sometimes they have a special event going on so if you are making a special trip to do the drive make sure to call ahead to confirm hours. They also have sunrise drives a couple times a year that start earlier. Sunrise drives are extremely popular so make sure to get to the gate early!
The cost to drive the auto road is:
- $31 for driver and car
- $17 for driver and motorcycle
- $9 for adult passenger
- $7 for children ages 5 to 12 as passengers
- Children under 5 can go for free.
You will get a CD with an audio tour on it and once at the top it includes entrance to Extreme Mount Washington which is located inside the Mt. Washington State Park Sherman Adams Visitor Center.
Extreme Mount Washington provides hands on exhibits. They explain how the scientists at Mount Washington Observatory collect data on the extreme weather conditions on the mountain. Plus there is more educational information available for visitors to learn more about this unique mountain.
When you pay for the auto road you will also receive a bumper sticker that says “This car climbed Mt. Washington” now how cool is that?
If you want more information about the Mount Washington Auto Road you can visit their website here.
Whale’s Tale Water Park is the perfect place for the whole family to cool off on a hot New Hampshire afternoon. The park is at 481 Daniel Webster Highway in Lincoln, New Hampshire. The park season usually starts the beginning of June and runs through to Labor Day.
You can ride the waves in the huge wave pool, zip down the 11 waterslides or enjoy the 1/4 mile lazy river. There is also a kid’s activity area and they even have 4 toddler slides. If you get hungry and thirsty food and beverages are available right there at the park.
Admission is $44 per person, $9 for toddlers and seniors 69 plus. Infants get in for free. There is a discount for pre-purchasing your ticket.
To get more information about the park you can visit their website here.
Mount Washington Cog Railway is at 3168 Base Station Road, Mount Washington, New Hampshire. The railway is open from the middle of April until November. You have the option of a traditional steam engine ride or a biodiesel engine ride up to the top of Mount Washington.
Two steam engine trips run a day between Memorial Day and late October. Bio-diesel trains run every hour on the half hour. All aboard!
The railway opened in 1869 and was the world’s first mountain climbing cog railway. The ride will take 3 hours in total. The trip to get you to the top of Mount Washington will take approximately 1 hour. You have 1 hour to look at the extraordinary views and take in the Visitor Center at the top. Then 1 hour for the return trip.
The cost for a biodiesel engine trip are as follows:
- Adults age 13 to 64 – $72.00 during regular season and during peak season the cost is $81.00.
- Seniors 65 and over – $68.00 during regular season and during peak season the cost is $77.00.
- For children ages 4 to 12 – $41.00 during the regular season and during peak season the cost is $50.00.
To take the steam engine trip the cost is:
- Adults 13 to 64 – $78.00 during the regular season and $87.00 during peak season.
- Seniors 65 and older – $72.00 during regular season and $81.00 during peak season.
- Children ages 4 to 12 – $41.00 during the regular season and $50.00 during peak season.
Purchasing tickets ahead of time is highly recommended.
There is a museum, gift shop and a restaurant with a bar all conveniently located. This is one experience that you will be sure to talk about for years to come!
To learn about the Mount Washington Cog Railway visit their website here.
In this post we have touched on only a few of the spectacular places to camp, there are plenty more campgrounds for you to choose from when you get there.
I have also barely scratched the surface on the things that there are to see and do in this beautiful area of the country. If you are planning a trip to New England in the future I recommend the White Mountain area and plan to spend a few days while you are there.