Extreme fitness

  • Matt DePalo of Dennis, Mass., flips in the air before hitting the air bag at Highland Mountain Bike Park in Northfield.(ELIZABETH FRANTZ / Monitor staff) ELIZABETH FRANTZ—Monitor file

  • Tyler Kiley of Worcester, Mass., flies through the air on the air bag jump at Highland Mountain Bike Park in Northfield on Saturday, June 6, 2015. (ELIZABETH FRANTZ / Monitor staff) ELIZABETH FRANTZ—Monitor file

  • Tim took a spin around the aerial challenge course at Mount Sunapee's adventure park. (Megan Burch For the Insider) Megan Burch—Insider file

  • Jonathan Sawn races down a trail at Pat's Peak. GEOFF FORESTER—Monitor file

LiveWell editor
Thursday, July 06, 2017

Summer is a great time to mix up your fitness routine and try out some of New Hampshire’s adventure sports. From mountains to trees to rivers, you can appreciate the state’s scenery while being active and building strength.

Ropes course

There is lots of swinging and climbing involved with completing a ropes course. You can take quick breaks while floating by on a zip line. Ropes courses typically feature a mix of tasks to get across using strength, balance or a combination. Swinging bridges, balance boards and cargo nets are common features.

In New Hampshire, there are several different courses, but nearby are Mount Sunapee’s Adventure Park (mountsunapee.com), Gunstock’s Aerial Treetop Adventures (gunstock.com), Chuckster’s Aerial Adventure (chuckstersnh.com) and Monkey Trunks in Weirs, Chocorua and Saco (monkeytrunks.com).

White water rafting

On hot summer days, there is no place better than on the water. Give your arms a workout paddling through rapids, then cool off swimming in calmer waters.

If you head up to the Great North Woods of New Hampshire, there are a half dozen or so rafting companies that lead paddling tours. Closer to Concord, Outdoor New England, based in Franklin, takes groups down the Winnipesaukee River (outdoornewengland.com).

Rock climbing

Put your body to test to scale a wall. Rock climbing helps build muscle, particularly upper body strength, and endurance

Evo Rock + Fitness in Concord (evorock.com) and Vertical Dreams in Manchester and Nashua (verticaldreams.com) both offer indoor climbing facilities, as well as outdoor climbing trips and classes. Evo Rock is offering weeklong Adventure Camps with a mix of indoor and outdoor climbing, plus a hike. They each begin on July 10, July 31 and Aug. 7.

For exclusively outdoor climbing, Mooney Mountain Guides (mooneymountainguides.com) leads a variety of climbs for different experience levels.


Stand up paddleboarding is a workout you won’t notice you’re getting. You’ll strengthen your arms, core, back and leg muscles while taking in the sights on calm lakes and ponds. You’ll also have to work on your balance. You’ll want to avoid windy days, or your body may act like a sail.

There are plenty of places to rent boards or take classes – mostly centered around Lake Winnipesaukee and the Seacoast. In Concord, check out Contoocook Canoe (contoocookcanoe.com).

Mountain biking

You can ride your bike on many trails in the state, but those at Bear Brook State Park come highly recommended. If you want an easy way uphill, check out Highland Mountain Bike Park in Northfield (highlandmountain.com). Loon and Mount Sunapee ski areas also offer mountain bike trails nearby.