The Jackson area offers an abundance of outdoor activities. In addition to exploring around Mount Washington, more hiking opportunities abound in the Carter Range to the north and on the less (but still plenty big enough) peaks surrounding Mount Washington. Space doesn't permit even a brief inventory of all these trails here, so consult the AMC White Mountain Guide or ask for advice from your innkeeper or at the Pinkham Notch Visitor Center.
One suggested 4-hour (round-trip) hike providing a wonderful view is to the top of Doublehead Mountain. The hike departs from a trail head about 3 miles east of Jackson on Dundee Road (look for the sign). It's unrelentingly uphill and quite demanding on legs and lungs, but up top good views of the Presidential Range can be had from scattered ledges off the summits of both North and South Doublehead.
North of Jackson's village center is the Great Glen Trails (tel. 603/466-2333) complex, near the Mount Washington Auto Road entrance. You can enjoy hiking and mountain biking on scenic, carriage path-like trails near the base of Mount Washington. There's also cross-country skiing in winter. Walking is free (donations are encouraged); a full-day bike pass is $8, and you need to bring or rent a helmet. Mountain-bike rentals begin at $20 for 2 hours, and include a helmet and trail pass. You can also spring for an annual pass ($175 per adult, less for additional family members), which allows you access to the trails anytime, summer or winter.
Golfers can tee up at the quite scenic Wentworth Golf Resort (tel. 603/383-9641), whose fairways and greens wind their way in and around the village of Jackson. The 17th hole includes a covered bridge. On summer weekends, greens fees are $50 per person. You can also play golf in the pastoral upland valley spread out before the Eagle Mountain House (tel. 800/966-5779 or 603/383-9111), a short drive from Jackson up beautiful Carter Notch Road. Eighteen holes on a busy summer weekend cost only $38, even less Monday to Friday or outside peak season.
Hiking Resources -- For hikers, a great local resource is the Randolph Mountain Club, a network of volunteers who help maintain about 110 miles of local trails in the area around Gorham and U.S. Route 2. Their website (www.randolphmountainclub.org) contains a synopsis of local trails and trail head locations, weather conditions, and more. You can also make donations to fund the trail-building and maintenance work by becoming a member.
Skiing -- Jackson regularly ranks among the top cross-country ski resorts in the nation. The reason is the nonprofit Jackson Ski Touring Foundation (tel. 800/927-6697 or 603/383-9355; www.jacksonxc.com), which created and maintains the extensive trail network. The terrain is wonderfully varied; many of the trails are rated "most difficult," which will keep advanced skiers from getting bored. But novice and intermediate skiers also have plenty of good options spread out along the valley floor.
Start at the base lodge, near the Wentworth Resort in the center of Jackson. There's parking here, and you can ski right through the village and into the hills. Gentle trails traverse the valley floor, with more advanced trails winding up the mountains. One-way ski trips with shuttles back to Jackson are available; ask if you're interested. Given how extensive and well maintained the trails are, passes are a good value at $17 for adults, $12 for seniors, and $8 for children ages 10 to 15. Rentals are available at the ski center (ticket/rental packages are available); snowshoes can be rented, too -- there are specifically groomed for snowshoers.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.