White Mountains

Range TypeMountain range with well-recognized name
Highest PointMount Washington (6288 ft/1917 m)
CountriesUnited States
States/ProvincesNew Hampshire (90%), Maine (10%)
(numbers are approximate percentage of range area)
Area3,438 sq mi / 8,905 sq km
Area may include lowland areas
Extent97 mi / 157 km North-South
66 mi / 106 km East-West
Center Lat/Long44° 24' N; 71° 26' W
Map LinkMicrosoft Bing Map

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Quite simply, the White Mountains of New Hampshire are the premier mountain range of the eastern United States. Katahdin may be more awesome than any single White Mountain peak, the Southern Appalachians may be higher, and the Adirondacks may be wilder and more rugged, but the White Mountains alone have the combination of height, ruggedness, scenery, and especially extent that makes them the premier range of mountains east of the Rockies.

The most compelling attraction of the White Mountains is their large areas that lie above timberline. While high peaks in the Adirondacks, in Maine, and even Vermont poke through the trees to varying extents, only in the Presidential and Franconia Ranges of the White Mountains will you find huge, wide-open areas of ridgetop above the dense canopy of trees that blankets virtually all other mountains east of the Mississippi. The relatively low timberline in the Whites, about 4800 feet or so, is due to a combination of altitude and latitude; all higher Appalachian summits are further south, giving the Whites the highest timberline-to-summit differential in the east.

The Presidential Range, featuring famed Mount Washington, is hands down the highest, most scenic, most visited, and most famous of the many ranges that make up the White Mountains, but the Franconia Region is not far behind, conceding only in the category of acreage above timberline. Surrounding these two central areas are peripheral ranges that, while lower and less interesting than the Presidentials or Franconia area, are still extremely worthwhile in the context of eastern mountains. The Carter Range, for example, would be the dominant mountain group in Vermont if it were to be moved west fifty miles.

The White Mountains are a popular vacation destination for millions. Most are content to use the campgrounds on the scenic Kancamangus Highway, ride the cog railway or drive up Mt. Washington, marvel at the geologic wonders of Franconia notch, or visit the Story Land and Six-Gun City theme parks, but the backcountry is still more crowded than most of the rest of New England. Camping regulations are strict, and a chain of eight mountain huts operated by the Appalachian Mountain Club is wildly popular with those who don't bring their own tent, sleeping bag, or food.

Map of White Mountains
Click on red triangle icons for links to other ranges.

Note: Range borders shown on map are an approximation and are not authoritative.
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Other Ranges: To go to pages for other ranges either click on the map above, or on range names in the hierarchy snapshot below, which show the parent, siblings, and children of the White Mountains.
Northern U.S. AppalachiansLevel 3 (Parent)
         New England UplandLevel 4 (Sibling)
         Longfellow MountainsLevel 4 (Sibling)
         White MountainsLevel 4
                 White Mountain North CountryLevel 5 (Child)
                 Mahoosuc RangeLevel 5 (Child)
                 Western White MountainsLevel 5 (Child)
                 Franconia AreaLevel 5 (Child)
                 Presidential RangeLevel 5 (Child)
                 Eastern White MountainsLevel 5 (Child)
                 Sandwich RangeLevel 5 (Child)
         Green MountainsLevel 4 (Sibling)
         Taconic RangeLevel 4 (Sibling)
         Mid-Atlantic HighlandsLevel 4 (Sibling)

Major Peaks of the White Mountains

Ten Highest Peaks
RankPeak NameftmRange5
1.Mount Washington62881917Presidential Range
2.Mount Adams57991768Presidential Range
3.Mount Jefferson57121741Presidential Range
4.Mount Clay55331686Presidential Range
5.Bigelow Lawn Hill5512+1680+Presidential Range
6.Monticello Lawn Peak54071648Presidential Range
7.Mount Monroe53721637Presidential Range
8.Mount Madison53661636Presidential Range
9.Mount Lafayette5240+1597+Franconia Area
10.Mount Lincoln50891551Franconia Area
Sub-peaks are excluded from this list. List may not be complete, since only summits in the PBC Database are included.
Child Range High Points
RankPeak NameftmRange5
1.Mount Washington62881917Presidential Range
2.Mount Lafayette5240+1597+Franconia Area
3.Carter Dome48321473Eastern White Mountains
4.Mount Moosilauke48021464Western White Mountains
5.Mount Osceola4320+1317+Sandwich Range
6.Mount Cabot4160+1268+White Mountain North Country
7.Old Speck4160+1268+Mahoosuc Range

Photos of Peaks in the White Mountains

Mount Washington

The sign and benchmark at the very summit of Mount Washington, behind the massive visitor's center (1982-07-27).
Ball Crag
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Ball Crag with Mount Washington in the background (2019-08-20). Photo by Lane Jefferson.
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Mount Adams
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The Presidentials from the Carter Range (2008-10-11).
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Mount Jefferson

Mount Jefferson rises above Monticello Lawn, at the center of the Northern Peaks of the Presidential Range. Glenn Slayden, Greg Slayden, and Gabe Czako (1987-08-15).
Mount Monroe
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3 of us at summit (2014-02-08). Photo by Richard Bedard.
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Mount Madison

Mount Madison from Mount Adams.
Mount Lafayette

Looking south from the summit of Mount Lafayette at the spectacular crest of the Franconia Ridge (1981-07-10).
Mount Monroe-West Peak
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Mts Monroe and Franklin from the Crawford Path (2007-09-29).
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Mount Lincoln

Mount Lincoln is the far high bump on the crest of the Franconia Ridge (1981-07-10).
Mount Truman
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View of Lafayette (center-left, high peak), Truman (small rise in ridge in front of Lafayette) and Garfield (right, in distance) from the top of Lincoln looking north along Franconia Ridge (2016-10-11). Photo by Scott Dresser.
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