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Trails Collective

Join us for 4 full seasons of adventure in North Conway New Hampshire!

Welcome to North Conway, New Hampshire! Situated in the shadow of  700,000 acres of protected land in the White Mountain National Forest which just so happens to include the highest peak in the North East in Mt. Washington. While the mountains tend to be the feature most taken away from the area, we spoke with some locals to get the real dirt on how to enjoy your time off road while in the region!

You need to run this trail: Sometimes when you are in a region with lots of mountains, your go to trail to run, can turn into a  trail to hike. The Tickerman Ravine Trail is just that. It is just 4 miles long, but it boasts over 4,000 feet of elevation gain (over 1,000 feet per mile!!!)  The trail features single track, rock hopping, and enough technical stuff to make you really work for every step of gain you get!

Other noteworthy trails: You want something a touch less techy and more runnable and want to combine it with something for history buffs? Head over to the Crawford Path – The oldest continuously maintained hiking trail in the U.S. 

With great views the entire time, be sure to check it out.  You can also check out Mt Carrigain via desolation & signal ridge. You want a hot spot that people talk about and know about ? It will be  crowded but worth it, so hit up the Franconia Ridge loop – 
Best Race/Event: Perhaps one of the most popular and challenging events in the region – The Chocorua Mountain Race. A real mountain event. A 25k that features over 5,000 feet of climbing! With incredible views, challenging terrain, a chance to get above the clouds, and a party at the finish line you have to try it for yourself.

Honorable Mentions: 

Friday Night Vert – Hosted by Run The Whites – A great place to meet new folks

Kismet Cliff Run – ½ marathon or 5 miler hosted by six03 Endurance

Jigger Johnson –  50 Mile, 100k and coming next year 100 mile (The first 100 miler to come to the Whites)

The Most unique event:  We love unique events and this event puts the engine on the tracks. Race The Cog – A vertical K style event that is 2.7 miles long with 3,500 feet of climbing. You race the railway cog up Mount Washington. With three waves, elite, intermediate, and “chill pace” runners start when the train horn blows and see if they can beat it to the top!

Did the climb blow your legs out? Good news, you can ride the cog back down to the party at the bottom if you want!

Photo credit :Matt Lynch

Trail Event Companies:

White Mountain Running Tours

Run the Whites

Six03 Endurance 

Best FKT to chase: Here is where things get interesting. Some of THE most sought after and attempted FKT’s in the country sit right here in the whites. There are 3 big ones. 

The Presidential Traverse: AKA, The Presi Traverse – 18 Miles with 8,500 feet of climb 

The Pemigewasset Loop: AKA, The Pemi Loop 28.7 miles and 9,100 feet of climb

The Hut Traverse45 Miles with 16,000 feet of climb and a chance to stop overnight on other trips if scheduled right!

Local Trail Media: With so many incredible activities happening, there are just as many cool ways to watch, hear, and learn from what is happening out there.

White Mountain Endurance – YouTube channel

Sounds like a Search and Rescue Podcast (SLASR)

Run the Whites Podcast and Social Media Presence

Eat Half, Walk Double podcast (Owner & Founder, Chris J. Dunn of Acidotic Racing)

What if you think you can’t handle running these trails or you are intimidated by the mountains ? Hit up Kristina Focik for some coaching and or running tours with White Mountain Endurance here

Lodging: North Conway has a lot of hotels and an abundance of AirBnB’s. We like to point out something fun or quirky so spend a night at the School House Inn. It’s main building is an old historic school house!!

Hipcamp has some cool neat spots to pitch a tent

You could also build an adventure into your stay and reserve a spot  in a mountain hut http://hikethewhites.com/huts.html

USFS Campgrounds (there are quite a lot in the area)

Good Eats N’ Drinks: A hard day of running, and you want to settle in and get those calories back – Head over to Cheese Louise. Artisan grilled cheese? You bet!

Want to take in some of those Mountain brews you hear so much about? Head to Ledge Brewery or Moat Mountain Brewery.

Finally – If you have some intolerance to glutens – Check this out – A gluten free food truck that serves tots and tacos!! https://www.kimberlysglutenfreekitchen.net/

Other than running . What else can you do in Conway if you don’t want to hit the trails?  During the day you can float down the Saco River – You are in one of the most ski heavy areas in the country –  You can hit up the outlets at Settlers Green for tax free shopping. In the fall, do your leaf peeping on the Conway Scenic Railroad! Best views in the country they say!

Bringing it all together: So there you have it – Challenging but beautiful trails. Unique and fun events. A community that puts it all together when out in the mountains. A visitor friendly town with plenty of options for those rest and zero days off the trails. Four seasons of challenges and some of the best leaf peeping in the world. Come on out to North Conway, New Hampshire and see what the fuss is all about!

Don’t live in a trail town and want to build one, check some advice here: https://www.trailrunnermag.com/training/trail-tips-training/building-a-trail-town-from-scratch

Want your town highlighted? Suggestions can be sent to Eric at TrailsRoc@Gmail.com

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