Dave Metsky's White Mountain Info Server
A good place to start. A page for each mountain over 4000 feet (with descriptions of how to find the trailheads - very important), some info about shelters and campsites, and a very long page of links. In late 2005 Dave re-hosted this site (it had been hosted for years by the Dartmouth Computer Science department) and promises to continue improving it.
Mohamed Ellozy's Peak Bagging site is extremely well-organized, and
packed with great information
(including book times) on many of the most popular and enjoyable peaks and trails in the Whites (and a few in Vermont
Mr. Ellozy has more recently written some additional pages which include information about hiking in the Berkshires.
Summitpost.org aims to have a page for every mountain in the world (click on the "mountains" link at the top of the page for a searchable index). How much information you'll find for each mountain depends on contributions from readers, but generally there'll be very useful info on parking, fees, camping, etc, in addition to the basic stuff like location, elevation, and trails. Also, there are some absolutely spectacular photos on here, and a decent (and growing) section of gear reviews.
Papa Bear has hiked practically every notable peak in New England and posted some good info about it. I particularly like the way he provides indexes that correspond to the popular peak bagging lists.
I found these trail descriptions indexed by trail name. They're quite detailed, but they're not cross-indexed in any way (not even by location) , so you have to go to some other source first to figure out which trails you're interested in.
I've created my own description of the popular Pemigewasset Loop.
Trail Conditions and Weather Reports
Trails NH collects trail condition reports from multiple sources (forum sites like the one below, Meetup groups, blogs, etc) and displays them on a map covering New Hamphsire, New York, and some parts of Maine and Massachusetts. It also has well-organized links to information about things like road closures.
Views From The Top is a forum where New England hikers can (and do) post daily reports of trail conditions, and also has links to weather forecasts. The Trail Conditions section of the site is organized by state and is very easy to navigate.
Online Maps and View Guides
My new favorite online map source is CalTopo. This features a Google Maps interface and a number of useful layers, including both USGS topographic maps and US Forest Service maps. You can blend layers, measure distances, and do other cool stuff.
As a backup, try Acme Mapper.
A similar tool to Acme Mapper, USAPhotoMaps is shareware for Windows. It caches maps and photos on your hard drive, making it faster when you plan your next hike to the same region. Plus you can save routes, waypoints, text, etc on your maps.
I haven't updated it in years, but feel free to check the place names index here on my site - If I've climbed it, there may be a link to a map of it.
To find out what peaks are visible from the top of the mountain you're planning to visit, check out PeakFinder.org. (Not to be confused with peakfinder.com, an encyclopedia of mountains.)
Where to Shop
Around Boston, you can hardly spit without hitting an REI, EMS, Bob's Wilderness, etc.
These places have their uses: 1) You can rent many kinds of gear without having to buy it.
2) The staff is usually knowledgeable and friendly, so you can get free advice. 3)Their websites
will give important specs (like weight) for name-brand equipment. However, if you've
been there once you'll realize that the prices are not always budget-friendly. For your
benefit, I've provided this list of alternatives:
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