LINCOLN, New Hampshire ??вЂќ Loon Mountain embarks on another summer of family fun and adventure starting June 25. Loon’s Gondola Skyride, the longest aerial lift in New Hampshire, travels 7,000 feet for breathtaking scenery and mountaintop outdoor discovery for all ages. At the base of the mountain, 35-kilometers of paved paths and well-marked trails welcome mountain bikers to explore the landscape at their own pace. At the Loon Mountain Adventure Center, indoor and outdoor rock climbing walls provide guests with all levels of challenging routes and the Equestrian Center offers a chance to explore Loon’s scenic terrain on horseback.
The ultimate Loon Mountain experience is a ride on the four-person Gondola Skyride for the half-hour round trip excursion to the summit. The ride to the summit affords spectacular panoramic views of the White Mountains while seated in fully-enclosed comfort. At the summit, guests can explore glacial caves, embark on a nature trail, climb the four-story observation tower or even enjoy a delicious Jamaican-style lunch on the deck of the Summit Caf?В©. Gondola tickets are $10.50 for adults and $6.50 for children and provide unlimited rides to the summit on the day of purchase.
At Loon’s Adventure Center, the Mountain Bike staff has the inside scoop on the trails traversing Loon’s 800-acre playground. The interconnecting trail system provides terrain suitable for all levels of riders. Complimentary trail maps are available and guests set off on their own to explore the well-marked trails at their leisure. Visitors can bring their own bikes or select from Loon’s well-maintained rental fleet of Giant brand bicycles. Rentals range from $17 for adults, for two hours, to $33 for a full day. Children’s rentals range from $14, for two hours, to $29 for a full day of pedaling.
The most popular of Loon Mountain’s bike trails is the self-guided Franconia Notch Tour. A shuttle bus transports riders and their bikes to picturesque Echo Lake, at the top of Franconia Notch, where a gradual, downhill, paved trail leads past natural points of interest and family attractions that beg to be explored. Plus, the trail map is full of suggestions for the best picnic spots, swimming holes, restaurants and shops along the way. Rates for the Franconia Notch Mountain Bike Tour are $29 for adults, including a rental bike. Children’s rates are $24, including a rental bike.
For adventure seekers looking to reach new heights, Loon offers indoor and outdoor rock-climbing walls, allowing guests to test their climbing skills at a variety of angles and pitches on a number of routes. Ropes and harnesses are provided and Loon’s knowledgeable, trained staff assists guests with climbing. One climb on one of Loon’s huge climbing walls is $6 per person, or guests may purchase two climbs for $10. Basic climbing instruction is complimentary.
The Loon Mountain Equestrian Center, located at the west end of the base area, gives guests a chance to explore the White Mountain National Forest on horseback. Guided rides astride sure-footed mounts wind along the Pemigewasset River and through cool, forest paths. Loon’s knowledgeable, professional staff accommodates any level of rider with a one-hour walking ride, ideal for the beginner, or a two-hour ride that includes trotting or a canter. Trail ride prices start at $39 per person for the one hour walking ride. Loon also offers specialized riding packages like the Honeymooner, at $99 per person, where couples stop at a secluded overlook and toast each other with sparkling cider in champagne glasses. For $59 per person, riders may embark on Loon’s Sunset Ride, a one-hour walking-pace ride offering views of the sunset in the distance.Reservations are recommended.
This summer, Loon Mountain hosts a variety of offbeat family events. The “Gelatin Jam,” July 2 and 3, is a celebration of the summer dessert favorite and keeps kids giggling and jiggling all day long. Kids eat it, dive in it and propel it through the air with a giant gelatin sling-shot. July 16 welcomes swashbucklers of all ages to take part in “Pirates of the Kancamagus,” that includes a search for hidden treasure and a peg leg race to keep families “hooked” until its time to walk the plank. Loon’s Ice Cream Festival, September 3 and 4, offers a sweet farewell to summer with free Gifford’s ice cream and lots of old-fashioned family games. Events are open to the public and attendance is complimentary.
A mountain of adventure awaits visitors of all ages at Loon Mountain. With so many activities and miles of naturally rugged terrain to explore, “gravity’s playground” is the place to find a wide assortment of family fun and adventure this summer.
Loon Mountain operates from 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. daily. For more information, please call 1-800-229-LOON (5666) or visit www.loonmtn.com.