Snowshoe/Hike/Bike Right from our Backdoor!
Dexter’s Inn offers an extensive network of trails that start right out the back door of the inn. These trails are a little-known gem in the Lake Sunapee region of central New Hampshire just minutes from Mount Sunapee and Lake Sunapee. These trails can be used for snowshoeing, hiking, fat-tire biking, and mountain biking. In addition to the trail network Dexter’s Inn offers a commercial snowshoe operation with equipment rental. Users who wish to fat-tire bike or mountain bike need to bring their own bikes.
The trail system begins right at the inn’s backdoor, extends through our 20-acre estate, and continues into the surrounding conservation land. Approximately 15 miles of trails are signed & mapped. Snowshoe rental for all ages is available with advance reservation. Leashed dogs are welcome on all trails. If there is not sufficient snow to require snowshoes the trails are available for hiking.
The inn’s trails wind their way through forests and fields with minimal road crossings, and are designed to have that old-time natural feel. The experience is quite different from snowshoeing on a golf course, frozen pond, or public park. The trail network offers a variety of terrain that allows first-timers, novices, and experienced hikers to all find something to enjoy. The trails nearest the inn are usually packed after snowfall. The packed surface provides for easier walking than the unpacked snow. Those who like the natural snow surface can walk to the side of the packed surface and then venture to the outer trails which are always left in their natural snowfall state. The un-packed “back-country” trails that are signed & mapped offer a fun wilderness exploring adventure for those seeking that experience. We believe that we have snowshoe/hiking trails that can keep you busy for the full day if you so desire. Those who wish to explore the trails on their own fat tire bike or mountain bike are welcome to do so at their own risk.
During the winter months the trails are open from 9 am to 5 pm to both inn guests and the public seven days per week during school vacation weeks (e.g., between Christmas & New Years, February school vacation) and Thursday thru Monday on weeks when school is in session (i.e., closed Tuesday & Wednesday during winter weeks when school is in session so the staff can enjoy our trails and visit other facilities). Snowshoe rental and building access (for bathrooms & warming room) is available when the trails are open. A daily trail report that describes the trail status and any important news is posted on our website each day.
Overnight guests receive free trail passes. A daily trail pass for non-overnight guests costs $10 for adults & teens and $5 for ages 6 to 12. Children aged 5 or younger can use the trails for free when accompanied by a paying adult. Currently, there is no fee for dogs using the trails, but if we find that dog owners are not cleaning up after their dogs or damage is occurring then we will have to re-think our free-for-dogs policy.
Snowshoe rental gear (including poles if desired) is available for adults and children. The snowshoe rental cost for adults & teens is $15 per day and the snowshoe rental cost for children age 12 & younger is $10 per day. Advance reservations are required for equipment rental. Contact us at least one day in advance via either email at firstname.lastname@example.org or via phone at 800-232-5571 to make a snowshoe rental reservation. We do not rent either fat tire bikes or mountain bikes. In the past we rented x-c ski equipment but we no longer offer x-c ski equipment for rent.
Given the adage “if you can walk you can snowshoe” we do not offer lessons for snowshoeing. We will, however, provide assistance with getting the snowshoes on your feet (they go over whatever boots you would normally wear to play in the snow) and assist with getting each renter who want to snowshoe with poles the appropriate size poles. We can also offer tips on how to get the most of your snowshoe experience.
We are committed to providing a fun, non-competitive, affordable, family-friendly activity that allows you to enjoy some fresh air, experience nature, get low-impact exercise, and spend quality-time with your family and friends. We believe that snowshoeing is a life sport that can be enjoyed by all ages. We also believe that it should be fun and low stress, and we will do our best to make it so for you. Hiking the trails when there is not snow provides similar physical, mental, emotional, and social benefits.
The inn has a charming warming room with fireplace where our human visitors can rest, eat, and hydrate (dogs are not allowed in the inn). Visitors who wish to bring their dog for an overnight stay can use a pet-friendly bedroom in one of our other buildings. Non-alcoholic hot & cold drinks and pre-packaged snacks are available for purchase. Guests are welcome to bring their own lunch and we have chili available for purchase. Since we do not have a liquor license we operate as a “bring-your-own” type establishment (BYOB). There is a refrigerator & microwave in the warming room that visitors can use to store their lunch and/or beverages. Weather permitting there is an outdoor firepit that humans & dogs can socialize around.
We believe that our facility is particularly well-suited for groups, given our ability to combine snowshoeing/hiking with meeting space, lodging, meals and other on-site activities. If you would like to discuss bringing your youth group, church group, business, or civic organization for a day-of-fun, meeting, retreat, or team-building activity, please contact us via either email or phone (800 232-5571) so that we can discuss what we can do for you.
Anyone who wishes to cross-country ski on our trails may do so if they bring their own equipment with the understanding that the trails are not groomed for x-c skiing. If so, the daily trail pass fee of $10 per adult/teen and $5 per child age 6 to 12 would apply for anyone who was not an overnight guest. In previous years we did groom our trails for x-c skiing and we offered x-c ski equipment for rent. But the weather we’ve experienced in southern NH in recent years, including inconsistent snowfall and wide temperature swings that create melt/freeze cycles has led us to the belief that x-c skiing is no longer a viable business for us given the labor and specialized equipment necessary to groom the surface as it shifts daily from powder to slush to icy crust.
Those who wish to x-c ski are encouraged to go to Eastman, which is located about 20 minutes from Dexter’s Inn. Eastman is a full-service x-c ski operation with over 20 miles of trails groomed for both classic & skate x-c skiing, sophisticated grooming equipment, x-c ski equipment rental, and x-c ski lessons. Since Eastman does not offer overnight accommodations we invite anyone looking for an overnight x-c ski trip to stay at Dexter’s Inn, and for those who do we will provide a 50% discount on the Eastman trail pass.
Alpine skiing and snowboarding is available at nearby Mount Sunapee, Ragged Mountain, Whaleback, and Pats Peak. Whaleback and Pat’s Peak offer night skiing and tubing. Shopping and other entertainment is available in nearby Sunapee Harbor, the adjacent towns of New London & Newport, and about 30 minutes away in Lebanon and Hanover (home to Dartmouth College). Additional information on other activities in our area can be found on our Area Attractions page.