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Great Glen Trails Outdoor Center. This outdoor center at the foot of Mt. Washington is the base for year-around outdoor activities. Renowned for its dramatic 27-mile cross-country trail system, this center gives access to more than 1,100 acres of backcountry. Trees shelter most of the trails, so Mt. Washington's infamous weather isn't such a concern. You can travel to the mountain's upper reaches in nine-passenger vans that are refitted with snowmobile-like treads. You have the option of skiing or snowshoeing down or just enjoying the magnificent winter view. The center has a huge ski and sports shop, food court, climbing wall, and observation deck. In summer it's the base for hiking and biking and has programs in canoeing, kayaking, and fly-fishing. 1 Mt. Washington Auto Rd., Pinkham Notch, NH, 03581. 603/466–2333. www.greatglentrails.com.
Pinkham Notch. Although not a town per se, scenic Pinkham Notch covers Mt. Washington's eastern side and has several ravines, including famous Tuckerman Ravine. The Appalachian Mountain Club runs a visitor center that provides year-around trail information to hikers, as well as guided hikes, outdoor skills workshops, an outdoors shop, and cafeteria. Appalachian Mountain Club Pinkham Notch Visitor Center, 361 Rte. 16, Pinkham Notch, NH, 03581. 603/466–2721. www.outdoors.org. Daily 6:30 am–9 pm.
Wildcat Mountain. Glade skiers favor Wildcat, with 28 acres of official tree skiing. The 49 runs include some stunning double-black-diamond trails. Experts can zip down the Lynx. Skiers who can hold a wedge should check out the 2½-mile-long Polecat, which offers excellent views of the Presidential Range. The trails are classic New England—narrow and winding—and the views are stunning. Beginners will find gentle terrain and a broad teaching slope. For an adrenaline rush, there's a terrain park. In summer you can zip to the top on the four-passenger gondola, hike the many well-kept trails, and fish in the crystal-clear streams. Rte. 16, Jackson, NH, 03846. 603/466–3326; 888/754–9453 snow conditions. www.skiwildcat.com.