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As a Dartmouth College student, one of the most exhilarating ways to connect with nature is by embarking on hiking adventures in the Upper Valley. With a plethora of trails to explore, from leisurely strolls to challenging ascents, the great outdoors is just waiting to be discovered. In this blog, I want to talk about some of the mountains that I have most enjoyed ascending!

Mt. Moosilauke: The grandeur of Mt. Moosilauke stands out as one of the crown jewels of Upper Valley hiking. This majestic peak offers both novices and seasoned hikers a taste of the White Mountains' rugged beauty. With its various trails, Moosilauke provides breathtaking vistas at the summit. On a clear day, you can see the White Mountains stretching out before you. Whether you're hiking up for the sunrise or a day trip with friends, Moosilauke is a must.

Holts ledge
The view from Holt's Ledge is breathtaking!

Gile: For those looking for a quick escape into nature without the demands of a lengthy hike, Gile is the perfect choice. This short and sweet trail offers a lovely woodland walk with very little elevation gain, making it accessible to hikers of all ages and fitness levels. The trail is adorned with wildflowers in the spring and summer, and in the fall, the foliage is absolutely stunning. The fire tower at the summit rewards you with a picturesque view of the surrounding landscape, making it a delightful destination for a relaxing afternoon (or sunrise/sunset) outing.

Franconia Ridge: If you're seeking a more challenging hiking experience with the promise of unforgettable panoramic views, look no further than Franconia Ridge. Located just a short drive from Hanover, this hike boasts a stunning traverse with breathtaking views and a high probability of seeing the area's famed alpine flora. The loop trail takes you over Little Haystack, Mt. Lincoln, and Mt. Lafayette, offering jaw-dropping 360-degree vistas that extend as far as the eye can see. Be prepared for some steep climbs and rugged terrain, but the sense of accomplishment and the mesmerizing scenery make it all worthwhile. I have personally had some of my most fun and challenging hikes on this range!

Holt's Ledge: Nestled within the serene town of Lyme, Holt's Ledge offers a delightful blend of natural beauty and accessibility. This relatively easy hike, suitable for hikers of all skill levels, brings you to a broad ledge with mesmerizing views of the Connecticut River Valley and the Green Mountains in Vermont. It's an ideal hike for those looking for a peaceful escape to nature without committing to a full day of hiking. Whether you visit in the spring when the wildflowers bloom or during the vibrant fall foliage season, Holt's Ledge never disappoints. You can even ski there in the winter!

Exploring the hiking trails in the Upper Valley is an essential part of the Dartmouth experience. Whether you're scaling the heights of Moosilauke, relishing the tranquility of Gile, conquering Franconia Ridge, or seeking solace on Holt's Ledge, these outdoor adventures connect you to the natural beauty that surrounds Dartmouth College.

So, grab your hiking boots, gather some friends, and embark on a journey through the remarkable wilderness that lies just beyond campus. Coming into Dartmouth as an inexperienced hiker, I must say it has been one of the finer parts of my Dartmouth experience!

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