There's a 流行的 misconception in American hiking circles that the only "real" mountains in the U.S. are found out west. I've been guilty of it myself, looking to the Sierras and the Rockies for adventure and ignoring—here in my column, anyway—the joys and challenges of the Northeast. That's an oversight I'll put behind me this month.

Peter Potterfield, who writes about New Hampshire's White Mountains in his excellent book, Classic Hikes of the World, says that these peaks have "been the comeuppance of many an arrogant hiker from outside New England." He's right. They've humbled quite a few native New Englanders, too.

Though the state's highest peak, Mount Washington, might look like a foothill compared to some of the tallest summits in the West, it's also 首页 to the most ferocious weather on the planet, with recorded wind speeds over 200 miles an hour. The surrounding peaks are similarly rugged and, 更多 importantly, boast some of the best wilderness 查看 in the country. In short, they're tall enough to be challenging and scenic enough to be worth the effort.

The White Mountains are just a few hours north of Boston, my hometown, and they're like a comfortable old friend to me—home to the trails where I cut my teeth as a hiker and where I return again and again to train for 更多 far-flung adventures. They've always been a place for 日 hikes and the occasional long weekend, so it's taken a while for me to see them for what they really are: the best hiking on the East Coast.

Though Potterfield focuses on the White Mountain Traverse—a six-day, 53-mile hike that takes in some of the most impressive parts of the 2,100-mile Appalachian Trail—my 最喜爱的 hike is a shorter "highlights" version that can be done 由 a strong hiker in just a 日 或者 two.

This route, called the 辔, 马笼头 Path Loop, takes in both the 林肯 and Lafayette peaks, and starts at a trailhead just yards from the Franconia Notch Parkway/Interstate 93—a major highway that's a straight shot from Boston's Logan Airport, about three hours away. Don't be discouraged 由 the trail's proximity to the highway; it quickly leaves the road behind.

The nine-mile 辔, 马笼头 Path Loop features all the best elements of hiking in the Northeast: an extended traverse along the exposed 最佳, 返回页首 of the Franconia Ridge, a series of waterfalls that roar in the spring and trickle gently in the fall, breathtaking 查看 of the Presidentials and Pemigewasset Wilderness all the way to Mount Washington, and access to the European-style Appalachian Mountain Club hut system