The White Mountains have been a tourist destination since the American Industrial Revolution when wealth families would escape the smoky cities for the fresh mountain air. The Greater Lincoln area is home to two world-class family-friendly ski mountains, but skiing isn’t the only winter activity you can do in the area. It’s time to bundle up and head outside to explore the winter wonderland.
Do you feel the need for speed? New Hampshire is home to over 7,000 miles of snowmobile trails and snowmobiling through the White Mountains may be just what you’re looking for this winter. With hundreds of miles connecting the White Mountains with the North Country and the rest of the state, you’ll never get bored of riding the same trails over and over again. You can connect easily with the snowmobile trails near the RiverWalk Resort, so bring your own sled or take a tour with SledVentures.
SledVentures has been a winter favorite in Lincoln for over 12 years. Their fleet of snowmobiles are modern with hand warmers and electric start. With seven tours to choose from, there is a tour for everyone from beginner to advanced riders. The one-hour Sampler Tour is perfect for newbies with no riding experience while the Over the Top Tour of Franconia Notch is a half-day adventure for riders with a little more experience. No matter what tour you choose, you’ll always have incredible views of the Western White Mountains and beyond.
Snowshoe Tour with Bonfire
There are a lot of opportunities to get outside and enjoy the local snowshoeing in Lincoln. If you have your own snowshoes, strap them on and hit the trails right outside the resort doors. The beautiful J.E. Henry Trail runs along the side of the East Branch of the Pemigewasset River. Further down the road, you’ll find the Lincoln Woods Trail just inside the White Mountain National Forest. The trail is a longtime local favorite.
For guided tours, both the Loon Mountain Adventure Center and Alpine Adventures offers snowshoe tours. Loon Mountain Adventure Center offers four different guided tours and snowshoe rentals if you’d rather head out on your own. Tours range in difficulty and views from a leisurely wander along the Pemigewasset River to an adventurous backcountry hike along Lincoln Ridge. Warm up by the fire after your adventure with a steaming hot cup of cocoa. Alpine Adventures offers several snowshoe tours for the whole family on their private 300-acre mountain, Barron Mountain. Their special Twilight Tours on the weekends are a great way to see the stars and moon through snow-covered trees.
If you have mountaineering snowshoes, there are tons of hiking trails worth experiencing in the wintertime.
New Hampshire’s Ice Castle is one of only five ice castles in North America and are not to be missed this winter. Now in a new and larger location in North Woodstock, the Ice Castle is open for the season. Dress warmly, buy your tickets in advance, and enjoy a wander in North Woodstock's frozen fortress. Containing thousands of colorful LED lights, the ice castle weighs more than 25 million pounds and was constructed by a team of 20-40 ice artisans. Despite all the human power, Mother Nature is the true artisan controlling the growth of each icicle with her temperature and wind power.
On weekends you’ll find Ice Princesses and fire performances for the whole family. There’s ice slides, tunnels, and canyons to play on or throughout the Ice Castles. With limited tickets each day, the Ice Castles often sell out so get your tickets in advance.
Off-Road Pinzgauer Tours
Pinz-ga-what? Head to Alpine Adventures to find out! Pinzgauers are a 6-wheel drive Swiss army transport vehicle that is designed to go off-roading in the snow. Although, mud season is just as fun. An off-road tour with Alpine Adventures is a great way to enjoy the winter wonderland in the White Mountains, especially on the blustery cold days you don’t want to be outside. Bundle up and stay warm in the comfortable Pinzgauers while exploring the 300-acre terrain of Barron Mountain. If you’re lucky, you might even see a moose!
Fun for all ages, snowtubing at Loon Mountain is a fun way to enjoy a day off from skiing. Loon Mountain Adventure Center offers the only lift-serviced snow tubing hill in the White Mountains, so you spend more time flying down the hill than walking up! Lift-serviced tubing is available on Little Sister Trail while walk-up Tot Tubing is available for little ones under the age of eight. On Friday and Saturday nights, you can tube until 10 PM making it a great after ski activity for the kids while you grab a drink at the Paul Bunyan Room.
Take a spin on the RiverWalk Resort’s outdoor ice skating rink. During the summer months, it’s a giant lagoon-style pool, but during the winter months, the pool is transformed into a fantastic ice skating rink for all ages to enjoy. Bring your own skates or rent some from the RiverWalk Resort and twirl until you get dizzy under the stars. Open to the public, the ice skating rink also hosts various shows throughout the winter.
Have you ever wanted to experience the thrill of flying across the frozen tundra pulled by a pack of yapping dogs? Head over the mountains to Muddy Paw Sled Dog Kennel in Jefferson for the ultimate dog sledding experience. The 1.5 Hour Tour is the most popular option which offers you the opportunity to meet the sled dogs, prepare the sleds, and take a 45-minute 5-mile ride with a few minutes at the end to get your photos and give a few belly rubs to the pups!
Who says you can’t zipline in the winter? Throw on a few extra layers and enjoy the thrill of flying through snow-covered trees with incredible views of the White Mountains with Alpine Adventures. With two ziplines open during the winter months, you and your family can fly 200 feet above the forest floor on a series of ziplines of various lengths. Warm up by the potbelly stove in the handcrafted treehouse built with a cup of hot chocolate before heading out again for more thrills.
No matter the weather or the temperature, there is always something fun to do in the Western White Mountains. Have you completed the bucket list yet?
Bundle up in layers and head out in the snow to experience the natural beauty of the White Mountains. There’s plenty to do for the whole family besides skiing in the area. Reserve your stay at RiverWalk Resort and enjoy a luxury suite located right in downtown Lincoln near all of the fun! With extraordinary amenities like an onsite ice skating rink, it is pretty hard to beat. What’s on your winter bucket list?