Fall foliage view of Lake Sunapee from atop Mt. Sunapee

Sunapee State Park; Newbury, NH

Last Visited: Sunday; May 20, 2012

Things to do here:  Sunapee State Park is a great 4 season spot to go enjoy a day.  It’s a wonderful combination of being close to Boston (just under 2 hours away) and feeling like you’ve gotten away into the mountains of New England.  There’s lots to do (and this list isn’t exhaustive), including the following:

  • Hiking:  Sunapee State Park includes Mt. Sunapee.  A ski resort in the winter it makes for a great hike in the summer.  It’s about 2 miles to the top up the summit trail that starts in the parking lot and is a fairly steady descent up 1,500 feet to the top (which is also the ski resort summit).  There are panoramic views from the top that include Lake Sunapee.  The Sunapee – Ragged – Kearsarge greenway trail also goes through this park and makes an approximately 100 mile loop through lots of scenic spots and great spots in the Lakes Region of New Hampshire.
Summit Trail at Mt. Sunapee with fall foliage.
Summit Trail at Mt. Sunapee with fall foliage.
  • Downhill Skiing:  Mt. Sunapee is a decent sized ski resort just under two hours from Boston.  They have extensive snowmaking and a wide enough variety of runs to keep most people entertained for a day with crowds that aren’t as bad as some resorts that are a similar driving distance from Boston.  For more information including ski conditions please go to the ski resorts website.
  • Swimming: The beach area of this state park has a swimming area at Lake Sunapee.
Swimming area at Lake Sunapee
Swimming area at Lake Sunapee
  • Boating:  There are boating facilities and a boat launch on Route 103 east of the entrance to Sunapee State Park.
  • Fishing:  Fishing is permitted with a state license, which can be purchased online, via mail or at an agent location in New Hampshire.  For more information, please visit the New Hampshire Fish & Game website.
  • Camping:  There are camping areas at Sunapee State Park, reservations can be made online.  There are facilities available including showers and spaces for larger groups as well.
  • Cross country skiing & snowshoeing (snow permitting):  Many of the trails used for hiking in the summer make great snowshoeing and skiing trails in the winter as the main hiking trails only cross the downhill ski area trails in a couple spots.
  • Fall Foliage and Scenic Views:  The top of Mt. Sunapee has great foliage if you time you visit in the autumn correctly.  The views from the side of the lake are also quite impressive and hiking amidst the many bright colors of fall is always a great treat.

  • Dog-Friendly:  Dogs are welcome in the vast majority of the park as long as they are leashed with the exception of the ski area during the winter and the beach area during the summer.

Favorite Activities:  Hiking Mt. Sunapee with a group of friends.  It’s big enough that it is a really good hike but it’s small enough that you don’t have to hurry along and can stop and enjoy the view or the company you’re with. Having the option to swim just a 5 minute drive from the ski resort parking lot in the summer after a hard days hike is also a wonderful treat.

Looking down on Solitude Lake from the White Ledge Viewing Area.
Looking down on Solitude Lake from the White Ledge Viewing Area.

How to get here:  Mt. Sunapee is pretty easy to get to.  It is located right off Route 103 in Newbury, NH.

  • From the South: Take exit 9 off Interstate 89 in New Hampshire (Route 103), go east and it is about 15 miles off the highway.  The park is off a rotary with the beach being one direction and the mountain part being the other (both are well marked).
  • From the North:  Take exit 12A off Interstate 89 for NH Route 11.  Take a right on Route 11 off the ramp and then take Route 103B which will take you to the rotary for Sunapee State Park.

For those of you using a GPS device, the address for the ski resort (which is a great place to start your hike to the summit from) is as follows:

1398 Route 103
Newbury, NH 03255

Facilities, Fees and Other Information:  Sunapee State Park has extensive facilities.  There is a camping area including restrooms and showers and the ski resort facilities which are partially open during the summer.  Parking at the ski area lot is free however fees are charged at the swimming area during the summer season.  Camping can be reserved online at the following link.  Maps of the camping facilities and hiking trails are available online at the State Park Website.

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