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5 great trails you can hike in spring near central N.H.

  • The view from Mount Kearsarge on Friday afternoon, April 25, 2014. <br/><br/>(ANDREA MORALES / Monitor staff)
  • The view from Mount Kearsarge on Friday afternoon, April 25, 2014. <br/><br/>(ANDREA MORALES / Monitor staff)
  • The view from Mount Kearsarge on Friday afternoon, April 25, 2014. <br/><br/>(ANDREA MORALES / Monitor staff)
  • The view from Mount Kearsarge on Friday afternoon, April 25, 2014. <br/><br/>(ANDREA MORALES / Monitor staff)
  • The view from Mount Kearsarge on Friday afternoon, April 25, 2014. <br/><br/>(ANDREA MORALES / Monitor staff)

The sun is out, and the thermostat finally hit 70 degrees last week, which means spring has finally sprung in the Granite State.

So what’s there to do now that it’s safe to venture outside without a parka on? Well, how about a hike?

We caught up with Kimball Rexford of TrailsNH.com to discuss some great spring hikes not too far from Concord. TrailsNH.com is a trip planning resource for hikers in New Hampshire and across the Northeast. The website – founded by Rexford in Goffstown – follows every major hiking blog and forum in the Northeast and then organizes the information so you can easily find it.

“Spring is a wonderful time of year to hike in southern New Hampshire – bright sun, great views and wildflowers,” Rexford said. “Another added bonus is there are less people on the trail and cooler temperatures. With the winter we just had, some mountains will have snow and ice into May, possibly, and even June this year.”

Rexford recommended five great spots in the area, but warned that you should check the conditions before you venture out on the trails.

“We checked the conditions on TrailsNH.com,” Rexford said. “Find out if you need to plan for tricky brook crossings or various weather conditions like mud, snow or ice on the trails.”

So without further adieu, here are five beautiful hikes recommended by Rexford that you need to check out:

Mount Kearsarge, Rollins State Park

∎ Where: Warner; about 30 minutes from Concord

∎ Level of difficulty: Easy

∎ Weather conditions: Snow and ice free

∎ Rexford’s description: A gorgeous granite mountaintop with 360-degree views.

∎ Rexford’s recommendation: Take the Rollins Trail to the summit. The trail is only about half a mile to the top, and the view is incredible.

∎ More info: nhstateparks.org/explore/state-parks/rollins-state-park.aspx

∎ Fee: Adults $4, children $2

West Rattlesnake

∎ Where: Holderness; about 50 minutes from Concord

∎ Level of difficulty: Easy

∎ Weather conditions: Snow-and-ice free

∎ Rexford’s description: Another gorgeous view, this one looking down onto Squam Lake.

∎ Rexford’s recommendation: The Bridle Path Trail starts on Route 113 and reaches the summit in about 1 mile.

∎ More info: squamlakes.org

Mount Pemigewasset, Franconia Notch State Park

∎ Where: Lincoln; about 1 hour from Concord

∎ Level of difficulty: Moderate

∎ Weather conditions: Check for possible snow and ice

∎ Rexford’s description: Gorgeous views looking down the valley toward Lincoln.

∎ Rexford’s recommendation: Take the Mount Pemigewasset trail, from the Flume Visitor Center at Franconia Notch. It’s almost 2 miles to the summit.

∎ More info: summitpost.org/mount-pemigewasset-indian-head/154259

Mount Major, Mount Major State Forest

∎ Where: Alton; about 45 minutes from Concord

∎ Level of difficulty: Moderate

∎ Weather conditions: A little ice on the trail

∎ Rexford’s recommendation: Take the Mount Major Trail, from the Mount Major parking area on Route 11. The trail reaches the summit in 1.7 miles.

∎ More info: belknaprange.org

Mount Moosilauke

∎ Where: Warren; about an hour and 20 minutes from Concord

∎ Level of difficulty: Difficult

∎ Weather conditions: Lots of snow and ice left

∎ Rexford’s description: This hike is a little more than an hour from Concord, but totally worth it. There’s incredible 360-degree views, and you can see the Green Mountains of Vermont to the west and Franconia Ridge to the northeast.

∎ Rexford’s recommendation: The Ravine Lodge is at the end of Ravine Road, off of Route 118. Start at the lodge, and take the Gorge Brook Trail, 3.7 miles to the summit. This is a big hike; be prepared and bring food and water, a headlamp and extra clothes.

∎ More info: outdoors.org/recreation/tripplanner/plan/hiking-mt-moosilauke.cfm

(You can reach Web Editor Kevin Deane at 369-3302, kdeane@cmonitor.com or on Twitter @CM_KDeane.)

FYI - The Squam lake trails including West Rattlesnake are normally closed during "Mud Season." There was a sign out stating the trails were currently closed yesterday morning.

Couple of others. Three Ponds in Rumney, nice hike. And if you have a whole day, Mt. Moosilauke in Benton, take the Gorge Brook or Beaver Brook trail if you want to see many waterfalls.

ther·mo·stat (thûr′mə-stăt′) n. A device, as in a home heating system, a refrigerator, or an air conditioner, that automatically responds to temperature changes and activates switches controlling the equipment............................. ther·mom·e·ter (thər-mŏm′ĭ-tər) n. An instrument for measuring temperature, especially one having a graduated glass tube with a bulb containing a liquid, typically mercury or colored alcohol, that expands and rises in the tube as the temperature increases.

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