We are in the thick of winter and the only way to beat those blues is to embrace it (…or fly to Mexico). So if you’re stuck on the Seacoast for the long winter, consider taking a trek with the kids on a local trail. There’s almost nothing as beautiful as sparkling fresh snow in the woods and the best way to experience it is by snowshoeing! Here are five kid friendly Seacoast snowshoe trails and how to access them.
Have you ever tried to walk through snow and your leg fell right through? This is called post-holing and it’s common in deep snow. It can also be dangerous – you could twist something, strain, or even get stuck. Snowshoes provide a larger surface area for the walker to travel over the snow. This is called floatation. While you’ll still sink in deep fluffy snow, you won’t sink as far.
Snowshoes also usually come with traction on the bottom in the form of metal teeth. So if you are walking uphill or across ice, the snowshoe will dig into the ground and keep you from sliding.
Use snowshoes after fresh snowfall, an icy trail, or on wet clumpy snow for better floatation and traction.
Where do I get them?
Snowshoes are sold in a range of prices from $60 for a budget Amazon brand to $300 for the top of the line brands. I recommend checking out Facebook Marketplace, thrift shops, and your local ski shop before pouncing on a new pair. Most outdoor gear stores like Exeter’s Travel and Nature, Kittery Trading Post, Eastern Mountain Sports, and even Wal Mart sell them.
Do the kids wear snowshoes?
Yes! I recommend outfitting your kids over 5 with snowshoes so they have traction and stability on ice and snow. Children’s snowshoes are available – check out Tubbs or LL Bean. For five and under, I recommend parents snowshoe and bring a sled to tow the kids when they need it.
Ready to hit the trail? Here are 5 kid-friendly Seacoast snowshoe trails:
5 Kid-Friendly Seacoast Snowshoe Trails
Gonic Trails – Rochester, NH
This 1.5 mile loop takes you through magical snow-covered forest, past a winter waterfall, and along a river. Located at 103 Rochester Neck Rd in Rochester, NH – this well maintained trail system has a large, plowed parking lot with clear trail signs. Take the yellow trail to the river, walk along the river and bring the red trail back. It’s especially magical in the morning and late afternoon when the low light reflects on the snowy river. For more information on this trail, check out Seacoast Hikes and Nature Walks – Volume 1.
Mount Agamenticus – York, ME
A 2.3 mile loop on the Ring trail will take you through forests and past beautiful mountain vistas. Park at the summit, then head down to the Ring trail on the Fischer Trail. The Ring trail does a full loop around the mountain. Not up for that kind of mileage? Pop back up to the summit on one of the many spurs. Before you leave, get a look at the view from the viewing platform! The trailhead is located at 21 Mount Agamenticus Rd, York, ME. For more information on this trail, check out Seacoast Hikes and Nature Walks – Volume 1.
Urban Forestry Center – Portsmouth, NH
The Urban Forestry Center is located on 45 Elwyn Rd in Portsmouth, NH. This trail treasure is nestled on the outskirts of Portsmouth. Take the 2 mile Brooks Trail in a loop for a pleasant woodland stroll with views of forest and wetlands.
Odiorne Point State Park – Rye, NH
Have you explored the trail system at Odiorne Point State Park? The winter is my favorite time to go here! Parking is free in the off season and the winter ocean views are dramatic. Explore the park by snowshoe by taking the 3 mile perimeter loop trail from the main entrance at 570 Ocean Blvd in Rye, NH. You’ll pass rocky beaches, sandy beaches, forests, and historic fortresses. For a complete trail description, check out Seacoast Hikes and Nature Walks – Volume 1.
Wagon Hill Farm – Durham, NH
Wagon Hill is well known in winter as an epic sledding hill, but it’s also a great place to take the family snowshoeing. The 1.7 perimeter loop starts at the Wagon, descends adjacent to the field, along the water and into the woods before re-entering the fields on the other side. Snowshoers are rewarded with views of glistening fields, quiet woods, and the icy bay. Bring your sled and go for a couple rides after! Wagon Hill is located at 156 Piscataqua Rd in Durham, NH. For a complete trail description, check out Seacoast Hikes and Nature Walks – Volume 1.
Before You Go
Whenever you kit the trail – whether it is for five minutes or five hours – the safest thing to do is pack the 10 essentials. In addition, check out my last month’s post with tricks to making winter hiking more enjoyable for your family!
Enjoy the Best of the Seacoast
These five kid friendly Seacoast snowshoe trails are just a small fraction of the amazing trails the Seacoast has to offer. Follow my account Seacoast Hikes to see the amazing trails of the region and get outside with friends and family. Tackling the snowy trail with a toddler? Check out these easy, wide, and flat trails that are perfect to tow your little one in a sled.