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Located in the northeastern United States, New Hampshire has an excellent variety of hills and terrain for both downhill and nordic skiing, as well as snowboarding. Home to the White Mountains, some of the northeast’s largest peaks, locals love hitting the slopes of New Hampshire’s best ski resorts. The snow is plentiful and when needed, most resorts have amazing snowmaking capacity. Check out our guide for the best spots to go snowboarding and skiing in New Hampshire!

Looking for the perfect gift for your favorite hiker? Here’s a comprehensive list of our
35 favorite (practical) gifts for hikers, updated for 2020!

bretton woods ski resort in new hampshire
Photo Credit: Mt. Washington Chamber of Commerce (Flicker CC)

Most Epic Ski Resorts in New Hampshire

Bretton Woods

New Hampshire’s largest ski area, Bretton Woods, is less than two hours away from the city of Manchester. Because of its accessibility from other major cities like Boston, Bretton Woods is a beloved place to go skiing in New Hampshire. With 10 lifts and 98 trails and glades spread across three peaks, Bretton Woods has something for everyone! The resort also offers cross-country skiing, with a total of 464 skiable acres of alpine runs and nordic trails.

Riders can rejoice at Bretton Woods being awarded “Best Grooming in the East” by Ski Magazine 5 years in a row! Enjoy night skiing, midweek passes, and lessons at this comprehensive resort. Staying for a night? Book a stay at the famous Omni Mount Washington Resort onsite and get your spa on after a long day on the slopes. Or, check out this gorgeous house, with room for you and your friends!

Loon Mountain Resort

Rated one of the East’s most accessible mountain resorts by readers of Ski Magazine, Loon Mountain is just 10 minutes off of I-93, located in the White Mountain National Forest. With 61 trails and award-winning terrain parks, Loon Mountain is the perfect spot for beginners and adrenaline junkies alike. The resort features New Hampshire’s only Superpipe, so bring your best tricks! Visitors looking for a unique experience can also check out the zipline over the frozen Pemigewasset River. After you’ve hit the slopes, relax at the resort’s legendary après-ski spot, Paul Bunyan Room. For an affordable lodging option, check out this beautiful condo.

Mount Sunapee

  • Location: Newbury, NH
  • Accommodation on site? No
  • Ability levels: All levels

One of Southern New Hampshire’s premier resorts, Mount Sunapee is an inviting place for all levels. The resort has managed to pack a lot into its 1510 feet of vertical, including 66 trails and glades, and 4 terrain parks. Nervous about your first time skiing or boarding? The entire South Peak at Sunapee is designated as a learning area, away from the rest of the trails.

Known for its incredible snowmaking, be prepared for bigger and better since Vail acquired the mountain and invested millions of dollars into the grooming and snowmaking programs. The mountain is also part of Vail’s Epic Pass, which can be used at a ton of other Vail locations. Despite being acquired by the ski resort conglomerate, Mount Sunapee is still a relaxed resort that will feel like family. There is no slopeside lodging, but why not stay at this cozy cabin?

Cranmore Mountain Resort

Located in a quaint ski town, the small but mighty Cranmore Mountain Resort packs a punch, with 56 trails and 9 lifts spread across 170 acres of terrain. There is a great variety of runs to choose from, or if skiing and boarding isn’t your thing, head to New Hampshire’s #1 rated tube park for some fun on the slippery slopes. Be sure to check out the historic buildings and shopping outlets in town as well. You can stay in a condo onsite, or this beautiful rental house.

Gunstock Mountain Resort

  • Location: Gilford, NH
  • Accommodation on site? No
  • Ability levels: All levels

Enjoy the view of the majestic frozen Lake Winnipesaukee as you hit the slopes of Gunstock Mountain Resort. New Hampshire’s closest resort to Boston, this ski area is home to 48 trails, 1340 feet of vertical and 2200 acres. Nordic skiers can enjoy their choice of 30 groomed trails across 22km. Dreaming of your après-ski as the sun starts to set? Not so fast! Gunstock Mountain has the most night skiing in New England, with 22 trails open after dark, perfect for enjoying a night of skiing or snowboarding under the stars. Relax in this charming cabin after a full day (or night) on the slopes.

Wildcat Mountain

  • Location: Jackson, NH
  • Accommodation on site? No
  • Ability levels: All levels

Fans of spring skiing can head to Wildcat Mountain Resort, where New Hampshire’s longest ski season will keep you bombing down runs until early May. The resort base sits at 2000 feet of elevation and has 90% snowmaking coverage, keeping the good times going across its 49 trails and 1 terrain park from November until May.

The resort also boasts New Hampshire’s #1 scenery in the East, as voted by Ski Magazine readers, as well as the New Hampshire’s longest beginner ski trail. As if that weren’t enough to keep you occupied, Wildcat is sister resort to Attitash Mountain Resort, just 20 minutes away. Tickets are valid at either property, even on the same day, so get shredding! Take in the beautiful mountain views from this stunning private cabin after a busy day at the hill!

Attitash Mountain

  • Location: Bartlett, NH
  • Accommodation on site? Yes, at the Grand Summit Hotel
  • Ability levels: All levels

Sister mountain to Wildcat Mountain Resort, Attitash Mountain Resort is another great stop on a New Hampshire ski trip. It has more trails than Wildcat, at 67 compared to 49, and 98% snowmaking instead of 90%. Wildcat beats it out when it comes to vertical, but Attitash still has 1750 feet to get your heart pounding. Expert riders can check out the unpatrolled backcountry glades on pow days. Unwind after a long day on the hill at the slopeside luxury hotel, Attitash Grand Summit Hotel. If you’re looking for something a little more rustic, this adorable cabin is a great option. Both mountains have a lot to offer though, so make it an extended stay and check out both resorts!

King Pine Ski Area

With just 500 feet of vertical, King Pine is still manages to pack in incredible runs carved through pine trees, as well as the Twisted Pine terrain park. The mountain offers a fun and relaxed atmosphere, with hardly any lines to wait for. There is an excellent ski school for beginners, but those looking for a challenge can test themselves on a number of black diamond runs. This is one resort that really proves that good things come in small packages! Stay onsite at the resort, or check out this picturesque cabin in the woods.

Cannon Mountain Ski Area

  • Location: Franconia, NH
  • Accommodation on site? No
  • Ability levels: All levels

Run by New Hampshire State and located within Franconia Notch State Park, Cannon Mountain Ski Area is home to some of New Hampshire’s most quietly legendary skiing. The ski area has 97 trails and glades and 11 lifts, but the mountain’s real claim to fame is the longest vertical drop in the state. 2180 feet of vertical will invite some of the area’s best skiers and boarders, including Olympian Bode Miller. Cannon Mountain can also boast about the highest ski area summit in New Hampshire, at an elevation of 4080 feet. The soaring summit is the perfect spot for the Aerial Tramway, an 80-passenger cable car with stunning views of the surrounding mountains. Rest up after a busy day of shredding at this adorable chalet.

Abenaki Ski Area

  • Location: Wolfeboro, NH
  • Accommodation on site? No
  • Ability levels: All levels

For an affordable and quiet getaway, look no further than Abenaki Ski Area. Dating back to 1936, Abenaki is the oldest community-run ski area in the entire country! The area features 7 trails from green to black diamond, a terrain park, and 30km of nordic skiing. Check out the charming lodge after your day on the slopes, and warm up next to the wood stove. The price is right for this little resort, with lift tickets offered at only $20! For an affordable lodging option, check out this cozy lakeside cottage.

Waterville Valley

Tucked into the end of the valley, Waterville Valley is a fantastic place to take a breath of fresh mountain air. With 50 trails serviced by 11 lifts, crowds are small and lines are short. The village has plenty of options for lodging and après, as well as condos, indoor pools, skating, spas, and sleigh or dogsled rides. It’s a perfect fit for families! The resort has 100% snowmaking coverage, so you can rest assured that your relaxing nature getaway will still have plenty of pow. If you want a more secluded place to stay, check out this pristine mountain getaway.

Photo Credit: Brian Robinson (Flicker CC)

Jackson XC Center

  • Location: Jackson, NH
  • Accommodation on site? Yes
  • Ability levels: All levels

Looking for incredible cross country skiing in New Hampshire? Look no further than the Jackson XC Center. With 60 square miles of terrain across three river valleys, and backcountry access to White Mountain National Forest, Jackson is the perfect spot for some nordic skiing. Enjoy sunny vistas, old growth forest, mountain descents, or check out the international race course. There are warming cabins along some of the trails, as well as numerous eateries, pubs, and inns in the charming village. If you’re looking for lodging, why not cozy up in this romantic log cabin?

Pats Peak Ski Area

  • Location: Henniker, NH
  • Accommodation on site? No
  • Ability levels: All levels

Pats Peak is a family-friendly resort with 50% novice runs, as well as 3 separate beginners areas serviced by their own lifts. The resort has some of southern New Hampshire’s only novice runs accessible from the summit, instead of just advanced runs. 100% of the main peak is open for night skiing, and there is tubing, terrain parks, childcare, and an excellent kids’ program. 100% snowmaking coverage guarantees that Pats Peak is a great choice for snowboarding and skiing in New Hampshire throughout the entire season. This resort comes highly recommended by locals looking to learn the ropes of snowboarding and skiing in New Hampshire! Check out this peaceful chalet for a relaxing place to stay the night.

Whaleback Mountain

  • Location: Enfield, NH
  • Accommodation on site? No
  • Ability levels: All levels

Featuring 31 trails with a solid mix of greens, blues, and blacks, Whaleback Mountain is a resort with an authentic community feel. After Whaleback Mountain LLC foreclosed on the property in 2013, the board of directors came together in order to negotiate the purchase of the hill as a nonprofit. The board felt that Whaleback should be preserved as a spot for locals looking to ski and snowboard in New Hampshire. Make sure to check out the Thursday Night Adult Race League! Locals can also take advantage of after school programs for kids. If you’re coming from out of town, book a stay with a big group of friends at this charming farmhouse!

Ragged Mountain

  • Location: Danbury, NH
  • Accommodation on site? Yes, at the Cardigan Cabins
  • Ability levels: All levels

Ragged Mountain is another great option for families looking to snowboard or ski in New Hampshire. The resort’s learn-to-ski program is free for beginners, but there is something for everyone within its 57 trails and 1250 feet of vertical. Between the two main peaks thrill seekers will find The Ravine, an advanced area featuring many blacks and double black diamond runs. Slopeside lodging means you can relax and unwind after a great day at the hill with the fam! If you’re on a weekend getaway with your boo, check out this adorable cabin.

Photo Credit: McIntyre Ski Area

McIntyre Ski Area

  • Location: Manchester, NH
  • Accommodation on site? No
  • Ability levels: Beginner-Intermediate

Located in Manchester, McIntyre Ski Area is the city’s premier learn-to-ski/ride mountain. The hill has 200 feet of vertical, with 9 green and blue trails. The terrain park is perfect for practicing tricks, and families can enjoy the 8-lane tubing “Thrill Hill”. Warm up after a fun day in the snow in the newly expanded 9000 square foot lodge. This ski area is a perfect option for snowboarding and skiing near Manchester. This modern downtown apartment would be a sweet spot to stay at.

Additional Resources for Snowboarding & Skiing in New Hampshire

What to Bring

  • Waterproof outerwear – Possibly the most critical pieces of clothing for your ski trip packing list is durable, waterproof outerwear. Burton and Helly Hansen are famous ski brands for having best-in-class clothing that will keep you warm in the coldest, snowiest conditions. Click here to shop ski jackets and compare prices.
  • Thermal layers – Thermal baselayers are absolutely critical for a smooth skiing experience, as these will keep you warm and dry underneath your outerwear. The best kinds of thermal baselayers are made of Merino wool, which is moisture-wicking and comfortable. Our favorite brand of thermal layers is SmartWool – their tops and leggings are soft, lightweight, but warm and durable for all kinds of outdoor activities, including skiing. Click here to shop thermal tops and leggings and compare prices.
  • Ski goggles – No ski trip packing list would be complete without a pair of fog-resistant ski goggles, especially if you’re going somewhere that makes artificial snow. Ski slopes often have snow blowing into the air several times a day and it can be hard to keep freezing snowflakes out of your eyes, even during clear days. We use and recommend these ski goggles. However, you can shop ski goggles and compare reviews/prices here.

If you’re looking for a more comprehensive list of things to pack, read our guide on What to Wear Skiing & Snowboarding and our Ultimate Ski Trip Packing List to view our full packing list and gear recommendations for the slopes!

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Known for its famous historic sites, beautiful green spaces, and tons of universities, Boston is one of the USA’s most beloved cities to visit and live in. Bostonians like to spend time outdoors, especially in the warmer months, and the parks and waterfront areas are often full of people. If you’re looking for outdoor activities in Boston off the main tourist trails, you’ve got a ton of options. One of the best things to do outside to explore the area is by hiking near Boston. We created this guide with some of the best hikes near Boston so that you can plan your next weekend outdoors!

Looking for the perfect gift for your favorite hiker? Here’s a comprehensive list of our
35 favorite (practical) gifts for hikers, updated for 2020!

Photo Credit: Wally Gobetz (Flickr CC)

Easy Hikes In & Near Boston

Emerald Necklace

  • Trail Distance: Varies – 70 miles total
  • Location: Begins at the Boston Public Garden/Boston Common

While most cities have several urban trails, Boston’s Emerald Necklace is unique because it runs through a chain of several of the city’s parks and green spaces. In this way, it’s not quite its own separate trail, but rather a connected web of paved trails that span nearly 70 miles (and are projected to expand in the future). Whether you’re looking for a family-friendly hiking trail, a scenic place to run or bike, or a place to stroll on your own, the Emerald Necklace surely has something for you.

Photo Credit: cmh2315fl (Flickr CC)

World’s End Trail

  • Trail Distance: 3.8 miles
  • Location: Boston Harbor Islands National Recreation Area

For some of the most spectacular views of the Boston skyline, the World’s End Trail is a local favorite. Located in the Boston Harbor Islands National Recreation Area, this easy, accessible trail offers beautiful rocky shoreline paths, bird watching, and views over the harbor of the city. For easy hiking near Boston for the whole family, you can’t go wrong with World’s End! We’d recommend heading here on clear days for the best views and hiking conditions.

Note that the park has an $8 entry fee per person, and children enter for free.

Photo Credit: Michael O’Brien (Flickr CC)

Halibut Point Trail

  • Trail Distance: 1.6 miles
  • Location: Halibut Point State Park

As one of the most beautiful and scenic hikes near Boston, the Halibut Point Trail is a short, easy hike along the rocky shorelines. 100 years ago, the area served as a granite quarry, and visitors can still see some of the remnants of it in the large granite rock piles. Lined with wildflowers and beautiful trees, the trail wanders by several stunning lake and oceanfront vistas, offering a peaceful and photogenic adventure for those looking for an easy hike. Locals really love this trail, saying it’s easily one of the most beautiful in the state. We’d recommend coming here on sunny days, as wet conditions can make the rock areas slippery.

Photo Credit: Chris Foster (Flickr CC)

Battle Road Trail

  • Trail Distance: 9.1 miles
  • Location: Minute Man National Historic Park

History lovers will fall head over heels for Battle Road Trail, an easy, leisurely pathway through some very interesting historic sites. It’s one of the best hikes near Boston for learning more about the deep history of the area. While the distance may seem long, you certainly don’t have to do the whole thing, and it’s a pretty easy and flat trail accessible to all levels of hikers, including families with children. The park is full of knowledgeable guides who can provide more information on any of the historic sites on the grounds.

Walden Pond

  • Trail Distance: 1.7 miles
  • Location: Walden Pond State Reservation

For an easy trail in a forested setting, Walden Pond is a fantastic (and historic!) option for hiking near Boston. Known for being the setting of Henry David Thoreau’s book of the same name, this peaceful, scenic wooded trail is not only beautiful, but also a treat for literature lovers as well. Spending some time on this trail will show you why Thoreau was so at peace and inspired by this place – there’s a peaceful pond, thick, wooded paths, and a replica of his one-room cabin where the book was written.

Photo Credit: Ishamari Drennan-Colon (Flickr CC)

Breakheart Reservation Loop

  • Trail Distance: 2 miles
  • Location: Breakheart Reservation

For one of the easiest family-friendly hikes near Boston, look no further than the Breakheart Reservation Loop. This trail offers beautiful forested walkways, views of the nearby lakes and rock formations, and some stunning views from higher elevations. While the trail does tend to get quite crowded, there are many smaller trails that branch off the main one, making for a “choose your own adventure” type of experience. Locals recommend coming in the early evening on clear days for a spectacular sunset atop Breakheart Hill.

Photo Credit: C McKane (Flickr CC)

Moderate Hikes Near Boston

Lynn Woods

  • Trail Distance: 4.4 miles
  • Location: Lynn Woods Reservation

As one of the most popular hikes near Boston, Lynn Woods offers a wide variety of terrain across 4.4 scenic miles of trails. The pathways wind through the forest and along a tranquil lake with some moderate inclines (but nothing too crazy). There’s also an abundance of wildlife here (especially in the earlier hours) and there are several rock formations that line the trails. At the top, you’ll find a stone tower that you can climb to see breathtaking views of the Boston skyline – perhaps the most beloved aspect of this trail.

Wachusett Mountain Loop

  • Trail Distance: 3.6 to 9.4 miles (Varies based on which trails you take)
  • Location: Wachusett Mountain State Reservation

Wachusett Mountain Loop is one of the most beloved hikes near Boston, with panoramic views of the Boston skyline, as well as the surrounding mountains and forests. Coined by Thoreau as the “observatory of Massachusetts,” it’s a fantastic trail for photographers and those seeking some of the best vistas in the state.

The trail itself takes you across several ski runs, where you can see the lifts as well as the views. You’ll also pass by the Balance Rock, a hidden gem of a rock formation carved by glaciers, pushing a large boulder on top of a smaller one. The summit here requires a bit of scrambling, but otherwise, the trail is definitely an easy to moderate difficulty.

Photo Credit: NoahBKaplan (Flickr CC)

Middlesex Fells Skyline Loop

  • Trail Distance: 7.6 miles
  • Location: Middlesex Fells Reservation

Overlooking the city from the outskirts, the Middlesex Fells Skyline Trail runs around the circumference of the Middlesex Fells area, offering jaw-dropping views of the Boston skyline and the surrounding hills. This trail is quite close to Boston, so you won’t necessarily get as much tranquility as some of the other places for hiking near Boston…but if you’re looking for a solid, longer trail with a variety of views and terrain, thee Skyline Loop is a convenient and fun option.

Appleton Farms Grass Rides

  • Trail Distance: 2.8 miles
  • Location: South Hamilton, MA

If you’ve got an outdoor-loving dog, the Appleton Farms Grass Rides trail is a perfect spot for a quiet adventure with your furry friend! While the trail isn’t as diverse in its views or terrain, this grassy, forested pathway is one of the more quiet hikes near Boston to enjoy the outdoors without the crowds of some of the other trails. Originally designed for horseback riding, this trail is wide and passes by historic stone structures, like the former Harvard College Library.

Photo Credit: Massachusetts Office of Tourism (Flickr CC)

Harold Parker Loop Trail

  • Trail Distance: 16.6 miles
  • Location: Harold Parker State Forest

The Harold Parker Loop Trail is a scenic trail that locals love for a longer hiking experience. While the trail is quite urban, it extends a full 16.6 miles for those wanting a longer excursion. Throughout the trail, you’ll pass through largely forested areas with a few beautiful lakes and streams. There are also several ascents and descents, depending on the route you take, so beginners and more experienced hikers can find a challenge here somewhere!

Mount Watatic

  • Trail Distance: 2.8 miles
  • Location: Watatic Mountain State Wildlife Area

For hiking near Boston, the Mount Watatic Trail has it all – amazing views, beautiful forests, wildlife, and rocky outcroppings. This short trail definitely poses a challenge, with a few steep ascents and a bit of scrambling necessary to get up to the final overlook point. Once you’re up there, though, you can see panoramic views of the countryside as well as the Boston skyline! Locals recommend going counter-clockwise on the trail if you’re a beginner, as it’s a bit easier to navigate that way.

Photo Credit: Kristin “Shoe” Shoemaker (Flickr CC)

Ipswich River Wildlife Sanctuary Loop

  • Trail Distance: 3.5 miles
  • Location: Ipswich River Wildlife Sanctuary

For birdwatching and wildlife spotting, there are few hikes near Boston that are better than the Ipswich River Wildlife Sanctuary. Bostonians love coming here for the abundant bird watching opportunities and the sheer beauty of the trail. The trail boasts gravel pathways, marshy boardwalks, and forested areas for a nice, cool, shady hike. There are also no bikes or dogs allowed on the trail, making for a much more peaceful and serene hike than some of the others on our list.

Wompatuck State Park Big Loop

  • Trail Distance: 10.3 miles
  • Location: Wompatuck State Park

If you love longer trails, Wompatuck State Park Big Loop is a fun and more challenging place to go hiking near Boston. Located in Wompatuck State Park, this beautiful trail traverses plenty of rocky, boulder-filled areas and scenic lake views, offering plenty of pathways to choose from for a bit more thrill! Along the path, you can view old military bunkers and beautiful forested areas, and you can bring your furry friends along too!

Challenging Hikes Near Boston

Mount Monadnock

  • Trail Distance: 3.7 miles
  • Location: Monadnock State Park

For more experienced hikers, New Hampshire’s Mount Monadnock is one of the most popular and challenging hikes near Boston. As one of the most popular summit trails in New England, the trail does tend to get quite crowded, especially in the warmer months.

Requiring some serious scrambling and steep ascents, this short hike is definitely not for beginners or the faint of heart. However, if you’re up for the challenge, you’ll be rewarded with stunning views and a huge sense of accomplishment at the summit.

Mount Hitchcock & Summit House

  • Trail Distance: 11.5 miles
  • Location: Mount Holyoke Range State Park

As one of the most challenging areas for hiking near Boston, advanced hikers will enjoy the length and challenge of the Mount Hitchcock and Summit House trail in Mount Holyoke Range State Park. This 11.5-mile trail is beloved by hiking enthusiasts in the area for being absolutely stunning and offering enough of a challenge for adrenaline seekers. The trail runs through lots of nature areas, including streams, lakes, forests, and rocky bald ridge lines. Hikers can expect to spend a full day on this hike, so bring lots of food and water for the journey. Also, beware of slippery areas after heavy rainfall.

Photo Credit: Bob P. B. (Flickr CC)

Blue Hills Skyline Trail

  • Trail Distance: 7.5 miles
  • Location: Blue Hills Reservation

The Blue Hills Skyline Trail is one of the most epic hiking trails near Boston, and is a 7.5 mile point to point trail across the Blue Hills Reservation. With tons of rocky areas, this trail is great for experienced hikers who enjoy steep inclines and some scrambling, as it summits several of the hills along the Blue Hills ridge. Those who complete the trail will enjoy stunning views of the Boston skyline, as well as access to some of the historic landmarks and structures located within the Blue Hills Reservation.

Boston, Massachusetts at the Public Garden in the spring time.

Additional Resources on Hiking near Boston

What to Pack

  • Hiking boots – You can’t hike without appropriate footwear, period. For most trails, we recommend an all-purpose waterproof boot with ankle support. We recommend Salomon hiking boots or Keen hiking boots for a comfortable hike.
  • Breathable hiking clothes – For warmer hikes, you’ll want to stay cool in a sweat-wicking shirt/tank top and breathable pants, like these PrAna hiking pants for men and women. For cold-weather hikes, we recommend dressing in layers, including merino wool baselayers, an insulated puffer jacket, and a waterproof outer shell. And don’t forget a pair of the best hiking socks in the world!
  • Trekking poles – You won’t need these for every single hike, but we recommend throwing them in your car anyway just in case. We recommend the Black Diamond foldable trekking poles, which are lightweight and easy to transport.
  • Water bottle – Having water available at all times is a huge must. To spare disposable plastic, we recommend bringing your own refillable water bottle. We’re obsessed with Hydro Flask bottles because they keep water cold for hours, but a good old Nalgene works very well too.
  • Sunscreen and bug spray – This should be self-explanatory, but sweatproof sunscreen and DEET bug spray can help you avoid sunburn and bug bites, two of hiking’s most annoying after-effects.
  • A brimmed hat or cap – The sun can be brutal in open hikes, so always pack a brimmed hat or cap for day hikes in the sunshine.
  • Emergency blanket and first aid kit – We’d strongly recommend bringing a first aid kit and a lightweight emergency blanket on every hike. Why? Because the unfathomable can happen, and it’s always best to play it safe.
  • Durable day pack – A durable day pack is the perfect spot to stash all your hiking gear. While any backpack will do, we recommend Osprey day packs because they’re comfortable and breathable for long hikes.

Wondering what exactly you should pack for your next hike? Visit our Complete Day Hiking Packing List for our full list and our top gear recommendations.

Related Links

While many people know Boston as the heart of American history, there are actually tons of outdoor activities to do around Beantown. One of the most fun winter activities in the area is heading to one of the ski resorts near Boston for a day (or weekend) of shredding the slopes. To help you plan an amazing weekend ski or snowboard getaway, we’ve compiled this list of the best places to go snowboarding and skiing near Boston.

Despite the fact that Boston is a large urban area, there are tons of ski resorts in the Boston area that cater to all levels of snowboarders and skiers. Many of these ski areas are within an hour of driving distance, making skiing and snowboarding more accessible to Bostonians than other large cities in the United States. Even if you’ve never set foot on a slope before, there are places you can go to learn!

A note on transportation: As city dwellers, we know it can often be hard to get to many of the outdoor areas near you without a car. Where possible, we try to include public transportation instructions, but renting a car may be necessary to get to some of these spots. We typically use and recommend Enterprise – they have the widest selection of cars at the best prices – but you can also click here to check reviews & compare rental car prices in your city.

Best Ski Resorts Near Boston for Beginners

Blue Hills Ski Area

  • Distance from Boston: 18 miles (30 minutes)
  • Accommodation available? Not on site
  • Experience Levels: Beginner

As the closest ski resort near Boston, Blue Hills Ski Area is a short 30-minute drive from the city center. Despite its place so close to the city, this ski resort is a fantastic option for beginner skiers or snowboarders who want to learn in a friendly, supportive, and unassuming environment. There are gear rentals and lessons available, and the resort has some of the best prices for skiing in the greater Boston area, giving beginners everything they need to get started.

Additionally, while Blue Hills does not have a hotel on-site, there are cozy lodge areas to grab food and relax. It’s perfect for spending a few hours on a winter day, enjoying the slopes and relaxing among friends and family.

How to get there: Driving will take less than 30 minutes from downtown Boston to Blue Hills. However, if you’d prefer not to drive, ride share services are available, as well as trains on MBTA and Amtrak.

Bradford Ski Area

  • Distance from Boston: 37 miles (45 minutes)
  • Accommodation available? Not on site
  • Experience Levels: Beginner and intermediate

Bradford Ski Area is a small, locally-loved ski area that has a handful of family-friendly trails spanning all levels. There’s a lodge where you can buy lift tickets or season passes, rent gear, and sign up for lessons if you’re a first-timer. Lots of reviewers love Bradford Ski Area because it’s a safe and fun environment for those learning to ski, especially children and families.

Like most of the ski areas closest to Boston, Bradford Ski area is located on a hill and therefore, its trails are not extremely long. One reviewer says that Bradford Ski Area is “not a mountain by any means, but a good place to try the sport or get in some after work or school skiing.” However, if you’re hoping to sharpen your skills or take a quick half-day trip to snowboard or ski, there are fewer better places to go snowboarding or skiing near Boston than this!

How to get there: You can get to Bradford Ski Area from Boston in under 45 minutes. It’s very difficult and time-consuming to get there without a car.

Pats Peak

  • Distance from Boston: 80 miles (1 hour, 20 minutes)
  • Accommodation available? Not on site
  • Experience Levels: All levels, but 50% of trails are rated as green

Once you leave Massachusetts, your options for skiing open up even more. Pats Peak is a perfect example of ski resorts near Boston that cater to beginners and expert-level skiers quite seamlessly. While Pats Peak is a wonderful place to go for all levels of skiers, it’s especially great for beginners, with beginner-friendly “green” trails that start at the top of the mountain.

Because it’s so popular, the trails can get busy, especially on weekends and holidays. However, reviewers say that the lines move quickly, and the variety of trails can help diffuse some of the crowds.

How to get there: You can drive from Boston to Pats Peak in under 1.5 hours, or you can easily organize a bus trip to Pats Peak if you prefer to go without a car.

Ski resorts near Boston - Waterville Valley
Photo Credit: ashokboghani (Flickr CC)

Waterville Valley Resort

  • Distance from Boston: 128 miles (2 hours)
  • Experience Levels: All levels

For beautiful views and a wide spread of trails, Waterville Valley Resort is a gem located in New Hampshire that many Bostonians and Northeasterners adore. There’s a sizable lodge with dining and a bar here, as well as several resources like gear rentals and lessons for beginners to snowboarding and skiing.

Many local reviewers mentioned that Waterville Valley Resort is a wonderful place to learn, with a great array of slopes that get progressively more challenging as you inch toward to the top of the mountain. Indeed, Waterville Valley has an inclusive atmosphere that’s supportive for beginners to expert-level snowboarders and skiers, with downhill slopes as well as Nordic ski trails to choose from.

How to get there: It takes about 2 hours to drive to Waterville Valley Resort from Boston, and this is basically the only way to get to Waterville Valley.

Blandford Ski Area

  • Distance from Boston: 109 miles (2 hours)
  • Experience Levels: All levels; many trails suitable for beginners

If you’re a beginner skier who wants to give night skiing a try, Blandford Ski Area is a great spot for you. Of the 22 trails in this area, over 40% are rated green, and are suitable for beginners wanting to tackle something bigger than a bunny hill. Of course, there are lessons and rentals available here, and lift tickets are some of the least expensive in the area (with additional discounts for service members and students, too!).

How to get there: Driving is the only way to get to Blandford Ski Area, and it takes approximately 2 hours to get there.

Best Ski Resorts Near Boston for All Levels

Photo Credit: Massachusetts Office of Tourism & Travel (Flickr CC)

Nashoba Valley

  • Distance from Boston: 37 miles (45 minutes)
  • Accommodation available? Not on site
  • Experience Levels: Beginner & Intermediate

Located just 45 minutes outside of the city, Nashoba Valley is one of the smaller ski resorts near Boston that really packs a punch for snowboarders and skiers wanting to get some more experience under their belt. Here, you’ll find a variety of ski trails, ranging from green bunny hills to black diamond mountaintop trails.

While it’s not necessarily the most thrilling set of slopes for expert-level skiers, Nashoba Valley is a fantastic place for less experienced snowboarders and skiers to tackle more difficult slopes. There are a few short beginner hills (see trail map here) for those who are completely new to skiing, but this is a fantastic and accessible place for beginners who want to tackle their first blue trail or two.

How to get there: Driving takes approximately 45 minutes from Boston. Unfortunately, it is quite difficult to get to Nashoba Valley via public transportation.

Photo Credit: Massachusetts Office of Tourism & Travel (Flickr CC)

Wachusett Mountain

  • Distance from Boston: 54.5 miles (1 hour)
  • Accommodation available? Not on site; closest hotel is DoubleTree Leominster
  • Experience Levels: All levels

As a Massachusetts favorite, Wachusett Mountain seemingly has something for everyone. There’s an entire area with beginner-friendly (green) trails, with higher and more advanced trails towards the top of the mountain. With its welcoming atmosphere, it’s no wonder that this is one of the most popular places to go snowboarding and skiing near Boston.

It’s a fairly small resort, but it’s so beloved that, according to one reviewer, “the line for people to get there season passes was [so] long, so they [had to give] out day passes to the people in line to go ski.” Aside from the variety of trails, locals love the friendly service and reasonable prices here, as well as its location around an hour outside of Boston.

How to get there: You can drive in ~1 hour or, without a car, you can take the Wachusett Ski Train from North Station in Boston.

Crotched Mountain

  • Distance from Boston: 77 miles (1.5 hours)
  • Accommodation available? Yes, at Crotched Mountain Resort
  • Experience Levels: All levels

For more experienced skiers, there are few better places to go snowboarding or skiing near Boston than Crotched Mountain. Here, there’s a pretty even split between easy, intermediate, and expert-level terrain, which is somewhat rare for ski resorts near Boston. Snowboarders and skiers of any kind can find a trail that’s appropriate for their skill level at Crotched Mountain. Visitors love that the trails here are usually very well-groomed and maintained.

Additionally, Crotched Mountain has glade areas for forested skiing and snowboarding. There’s also a beginner-friendly zone for those who are hitting the slopes for the first time. The large lodge area offers dining and rest areas for when you’re ready for some refreshments between runs.

How to get there: Driving is the easiest (and basically the only) way to get to Crotched Mountain from Boston.

Mount Sunapee

  • Distance from Boston: 101 miles (1 hour, 45 minutes)
  • Experience Levels: All levels

As one of the better ski resorts near Boston for all levels of snowboarders and skiers, Mount Sunapee is one of the most popular spots for a weekend ski getaway. There’s a reason why many Bostonians keep going back to Sunapee Resort again and again during the winter! With 66 trails and over 230 acres of terrain, as well as an entire designated beginner slope area, there’s no shortage of thrill for any experience level.

On top of great slopes and lodge areas, Mount Sunapee also has great weekday specials like “Ladies Day” on Tuesday, which includes discounts on lift tickets, rentals, and lessons.

How to get there: The easiest and only way to get to Mount Sunapee is by car, and takes 1 hour and 45 minutes to arrive from Boston.

Photo Credit: Michelle (Flickr CC)

Gunstock

  • Distance from Boston: 101 miles (1 hour, 45 minutes)
  • Experience Levels: Intermediate and advanced

For thrill seekers, Gunstock is one of the best ski resorts near Boston. Many of the trails are rated intermediate or above, and the views from the top of the mountain are truly spectacular. Additionally, Gunstock Resort has night skiing available towards the bottom of the mountain, meaning you can truly max out a day of skiing here. There are also terrain park areas for those looking for a bit more of a challenge. For non-skiers/boarders, there’s snow tubing on-site and a sizable lodge for relaxing in a warm, cozy spot for the day.

How to get there: Driving is the easiest way to get to Gunstock, and it takes about 1 hour and 45 minutes. You can also book a bus tour on Saturdays that includes round trip transportation from Boston to Gunstock.

Photo Credit: Kayak the Rockies (Flickr CC)

Cannon Mountain

  • Distance from Boston: 140 miles (2 hours)
  • Experience Levels: Intermediate to advanced

A local favorite for snowboarding and skiing, Cannon Mountain is one of the largest mountains on our list, topping out at 72 trails over 265 acres. With smaller crowds, a diverse set of trails, and beautiful views, Cannon Mountain caters to snowboarders and skiers of any level.

Many local Bostonians and Northeasterners call out Cannon Mountain as their favorite mountain resort in the area. One reviewer mentions that it’s “old school and non-corporate.” People also like that it’s not too crowded, there are incredible weekday ski specials, and that the mountain accommodates more advanced skiers with challenging trails and fast lifts.

How to get there: The best (and only) way to get to Cannon Mountain is to drive, and it takes about 2 hours to get there.

Loon Mountain

  • Distance from Boston: 135 miles (2.5 hours)
  • Experience Levels: All levels

Loon Mountain is a popular, all-levels area to go snowboarding and skiing near Boston. While it’s a bit more expensive than Cannon Mountain, it’s get plenty of intermediate and expert-level terrain, and there’s an on-site lodge, The Mountain Club, for accommodations and dining. In addition to skiing and snowboarding, there are also plenty of opportunities to get outdoors, with tubing, snowshoeing, and ice skating available on-site.

How to get there: You can drive from Boston to Loon Mountain in ~2.5 hours, or you can take a bus from South Station to Lincoln, NH, then take a free Loon Mountain Shuttle from The Links.

Bretton Woods - ski resorts near Boston
Photo Credit: Mt. Washington Valley Chamber of Commerce (Flickr CC)

Bretton Woods

  • Distance from Boston: 157 miles (2.5 hours)
  • Experience Levels: All levels

With 63 trails dispersed across its 460+ acres of terrain, Bretton Woods is one of the most varied and comprehensive ski resorts near Boston. At Bretton Woods, you can find both downhill slopes as well as Nordic ski trails, meaning there’s a wide variety of things you can do and try here. Beginner, intermediate, and expert-level trails all start at the top of the mountain, meaning you can get thrilling, long stretches of snow no matter how much experience you have!

Additionally, Bretton Woods is one of the most popular spots to go for a winter weekend getaway from Boston. With 3 beautiful hotels, a spa, as well as other winter activities like tubing, snowmobiling, and ice skating, it’s a wonderful winter getaway for riders and non-riders alike!

How to get there: By car, it takes about 2.5 hours to get from Boston to Bretton Woods. Several buses run throughout the winter from Boston to Bretton Woods via the New England SnowBus. Click here for more detailed dates and schedules.

Killington Ski Resort

  • Distance from Boston: 160 miles (2 hours, 45 minutes)
  • Experience Levels: All levels

As one of the largest places to go snowboarding and skiing near Boston, there’s a LOT to do and a ton of trails to ride at Killington Resort. Here, you’ll find trails for every experience level, from bunny hills to double black diamonds, as well as tons of on-site amenities for when you’re ready to rest from the slopes. They’ve got lessons, rentals, and learning areas for beginners, and snowmaking in several sections of the park.

How to get there: By car, it takes about 2 hours and 45 minutes to get from Boston to Killington Resort. Several buses run throughout the winter from Boston to Killington via the New England SnowBus. Click here for more detailed schedules.

Snowboarding & Skiing Near Boston: Additional Resources

What to Pack

  • Waterproof outerwear – Possibly the most critical pieces of clothing for your ski trip packing list is durable, waterproof outerwear. Burton and Helly Hansen are famous ski brands for having best-in-class clothing that will keep you warm in the coldest, snowiest conditions. Click here to shop ski jackets and compare prices.
  • Thermal layers – Thermal baselayers are absolutely critical for a smooth skiing experience, as these will keep you warm and dry underneath your outerwear. The best kinds of thermal baselayers are made of Merino wool, which is moisture-wicking and comfortable. Our favorite brand of thermal layers is SmartWool – their tops and leggings are soft, lightweight, but warm and durable for all kinds of outdoor activities, including skiing. Click here to shop thermal tops and leggings and compare prices.
  • Ski goggles – No ski trip packing list would be complete without a pair of fog-resistant ski goggles, especially if you’re going somewhere that makes artificial snow. Ski slopes often have snow blowing into the air several times a day and it can be hard to keep freezing snowflakes out of your eyes, even during clear days. We use and recommend these ski goggles. However, you can shop ski goggles and compare reviews/prices here.

If you’re looking for a more comprehensive list of things to pack, head to our Ultimate Ski Trip Packing List to view our full packing list and gear recommendations for the slopes!

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