Appalachian Trail Hut-to-Hut Hiking – Pemigewasset Wilderness

From: $570

per person dbl occ

Dates: Jul-Oct - see all dates

Total Days: 4

Activity Level: 4

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Monday–Friday,
7 AM to 5 PM Pacific Time

Appalachian Trail Hut-to-Hut Hiking – Pemigewasset Wilderness

Price:

2014

REI member: $570

Non-member: $620

2015

REI member: $600

Non-member: $675

Trip Dates:

2014

  • Jul 17–20
  • Aug 21–24
  • Oct 2–5
  • Oct 9–12

2015

  • Jul 16–19
  • Aug 20–23
  • Oct 1–4
  • Oct 8–11

Or, book a
private departure.

Group Size: 4-12

Activity Level: 4

Activities:

  • Hiking

Accommodations:

One night - AMC Highland Center at Crawford Notch; 2 nights - rustic shared-room bunkhouse lodging at AMC huts.

Trip Highlights

  • Hike through the colorful, rugged Pemigewasset Wilderness
  • Stay in comfortable, charming huts each night
  • Summit South Twin and Galehead Mountains
  • Be on the lookout for rare animals and plant life

New Hampshire's White Mountains are home to some of the most beautiful scenery in the Northeast, and the famed Appalachian Trail takes us straight through the heart of it. The Pemigewasset Wilderness, our destination on this trip, is 45,000 acres of colorful, rugged terrain rich in history after decades of heavy logging.

Our challenging and rewarding hike follows picturesque routes and includes summits such as South Twin and Galehead Mountains. We trek from river valleys up to alpine peaks, seeing beautiful and rare plant life along the way. With a little luck, we might even spot moose or other wildlife!

Each night we retire to pleasant huts, allowing us to travel with lighter packs than normal backpacking—a perfect blend of outdoor adventure and comfort.

Looking for another option on the Appalachian Trail? Check out our Presidential Peaks hut-to-hut hiking trip.

Itinerary Summary

  • Day 1 - Meet for dinner and orientation at the Highland Center in Crawford Notch.
  • Day 2 - Hike this magnificent trail to the most remote hut in New Hampshire.
  • Day 3 - Summit South Twin Mountain as we make our way to Zealand Falls Hut.
  • Day 4 - Cherish the last few hours along the trail as we depart.

See full itinerary

Trip Itinerary and Details

Important Notice: Day 1 is the day you should plan to arrive at the meeting point for the trip. This may require departing your hometown one or more days in advance and traveling on an overnight flight.

  • Day 1 - Meet for dinner and orientation at the Highland Center in Crawford Notch.

    The trip begins today in New Hampshire's breathtaking White Mountains. We meet at the AMC Highland Center in Crawford Notch; feel free to arrive anytime between 2:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m. to check in and get comfortable. Short hikes can be recommended from lodge staff before dinner. Meet as a group in the dining room for our 6:00 p.m. family-style dinner. We stay at the lodge tonight before starting out on our hiking route tomorrow. Dinner included.

  • Day 2 - Hike this magnificent trail to the most remote hut in New Hampshire.

    Our destination today is the most remote hut in the New Hampshire chain, Galehead Hut, at 3800 feet. After breakfast we shuttle to the Gale River Trailhead at 1600 feet to begin our journey. Warm up with a gentle descent aside a beautiful tributary brook eventually meeting up to an old logging road that climbs easily along the west side of the North Branch of the Gale River. Our trail gets a bit more challenging as we pass through the outwash of an overgrown slide, eventually emerging at a gravel bank above the stream where there are fine views up the valley and toward the Twin Mountains. The trail now becomes significantly steeper and rougher as we climb to the junction with Garfield Ridge Trail. As we ascend along the Ridge trail, catch glimpses of our final destination, Galehead Hut. All meals included.

    Hiking: 4.6 miles; 4-6 hours. Elevation gain: 2200 ft.

  • Day 3 - Summit South Twin Mountain as we make our way to Zealand Falls Hut.

    Our hut crew prepares wonderful hot breakfast for us today before we load our packs and hit the trail again. Look forward to your guide's expertise contributing much to your hiking today, as opportunities to discover the surrounding area abounds. We start the day's journey with a good climb to the highest point on the trip: South Twin Mountain, an accomplishment in itself. In 0.8 miles we gain 1100 feet of elevation! Our guides are sure to pace our group, as we still have 6 miles to go. At the completion of South Twin, the next 4+ miles meander up and down the Twinway ridge with amazing views along the ridge. The final 1.5 miles drops quickly losing 1110 feet in elevation to Zealand Falls hut. This hut is a prime location to enjoy some of the area's most picturesque waterfalls and provides outstanding views at the eastern edge of the Pemigewasset Wilderness. We might even be lucky enough to spot a moose or observe other local wildlife! All meals included.

    Hiking: 7 miles; 6-8 hours. Elevation gain/loss: 1,100 ft.

  • Day 4 - Cherish the last few hours along the trail as we depart.

    After breakfast today, we depart from Zealand Falls Hut one of two ways: either hike from Zealand Falls to the Highland Center or follow the more leisurely route to the Zealand Trailhead. We plan to arrive back at our starting point between 12:00 p.m. and 2:00 p.m. today, and lunch can be purchased at the lodge for those wishing to eat before heading home. Trip participants are also welcome to stay an additional night at the AMC member rate discount to rest before leaving at trip's end; reservations should be made prior to arrival if at all possible. If you are flying home tonight, please allow extra time for uncertainties or delays accordingly. Breakfast included.

    Hiking: 2-5 miles; 1.5-2.5 hours. Elevation gain/loss: 500-800 ft.

Accommodations Note:

On this trip we stay in AMC huts and lodges that highlight the beauty of the White Mountains. The Highland Center at Crawford Notch and Joe Dodge are both comfortable lodges with well-equipped common rooms. These eco-friendly lodges have heated, shared bedrooms and shared bathrooms with hot showers and towels. Phones and wireless Internet access are available in some locations. The final two nights we stay in more rustic huts along the trail. Each hut is unique, but we sleep in unheated bunkhouses where blankets and pillows are provided. Bathrooms have composting toilets. A small store is available to purchase snacks and other incidentals. After a full day of hiking, these huts and lodges offer a good night's sleep in a beautiful setting.

Note on Itinerary

Although we do our very best to adhere to the schedules listed above, these itineraries are subject to change for numerous reasons beyond our control including weather and terrain conditions.  This can include changes in the huts to be used, trails to be hiked, etc.  This trip is operated rain or shine.

Important Information about Air Travel

Contact REI Adventures prior to purchasing your airline tickets to confirm that the trip has the minimum number of participants required to operate.

Price Includes

All accommodations; meals as noted in the daily itinerary; professional guiding; taxes; transportation to and from trailheads when required; gratuity for the hut crews (though you may always opt to give more if you like).

Not Included

Transportation from your hometown to group meeting point; insurance of any kind; alcoholic beverages; soft drinks; guide gratuities and items of a personal nature.

Qualifications

This trip is rated Vigorous (4). The hiking portions of the trip involve carrying a 15–25 lb. backpack over steep, rocky, sometimes exposed terrain with elevation gain and loss of 3,000ft, and up to 8 miles daily. To maximize your enjoyment of the trip and to avoid sore muscles, we suggest that you engage in a regular exercise regimen beginning at least three months prior to your departure. Most important to your overall enjoyment is your overall fitness level.

Closet Airport(s)

Manchester Airport, Manchester, NH – 115 miles, 2.25 hours

Transfers

There is no reliable transfer service from any airport to our meeting place.  Anticipate renting a car if flying in for this weekend getaway.

Weather

Daytime temperatures usually range between 60-80 degrees F, with evening temperatures dropping to the 40s and 50s.  Late-season trips, such as our last October departure, should be expected to experience colder temperatures and prepare adequately.  Thunderstorms are a possibility at any time in the mountains making adequate raingear a necessity.

Single Travelers

Accommodations are bunk-style huts along the routes we hike. Each hut has a number of rooms, each one sleeping several people in bunks. As such, private rooms are not available on any of our departures. There are no additional single fees assessed for single travelers.

General Information

This trip is subject to the booking information set forth in the current REI Adventures Weekend Reservation Information. Please read this information carefully and call us if you have any questions. A full gear list and detailed pre-trip information is sent upon sign-up. We highly recommend the purchase of travel insurance through REI Adventures. If coverage is purchased at the time of your initial reservation, the 'Pre-existing Conditions Exclusion' is waived (certain exclusions apply).

We look forward to having you join us for the trip of a lifetime! Why wait? Space is limited, reserve your adventure today.

Appalachian Trail Hut-to-Hut Hiking – Pemigewasset Wilderness Gear List

The key to staying comfortable while on an active trip is layering.  To obtain maximum comfort with minimum weight, you need versatile layers that mix and match to create the right amount of insulation, ventilation and weather protection.  This gear list has been created to help you choose equipment for the trip.  Try to bring only what is necessary - this will help you and the field staff. 

Weather

Daytime temperatures usually range between 60-80 degrees F, with evening temperatures dropping to the 40s and 50s.  Late-season trips, such as our last October departure, should be expected to experience colder temperatures and prepare adequately.  Thunderstorms are a possibility at any time in the mountains making adequate raingear a necessity.

Gear Checklist

Provided Gear
  • Trip leader first aid kit
Hiking Gear
  • Backpack: 35 - 40 litre​
  • Pack cover – waterproof
Sleeping Gear
  • Sleeping Bag or linens​
Outerwear
  • Rain jacket and pants, lightweight, waterproof and breathable
Clothing
  • Midweight fleece jacket or wool sweater
  • Mid- or lightweight thermal top and bottom, synthetic or wool
  • Hiking pants, quick-drying, lightweight (zip-off legs are great)
  • Hiking shorts, quick-drying, lightweight
  • T-shirts, synthetic
  • Underwear
  • Hiking socks, 3 pairs
Clothing Accessories
  • Sun hat with brim
  • Wool or fleece hat
  • Bandana
  • Lightweight wool or fleece gloves
Footwear
  • Hiking boots: sturdy, stiff-soled, well broken-in, rising above the ankle (these are a necessity for hiking on this trip!)
  • Camp shoes or sandals for evenings
  • Moleskin or other feet first aid
Travel Accessories
  • Two 1-quart water bottles or hydration system equivalent
  • Headlamp with spare batteries and bulb
  • Sunglasses and retainer strap
  • Sunblock and lip balm
  • Personal medications
  • Insect repellent (small, packable)
  • Toiletry kit: roll of toilet paper, toothbrush & paste, pack towel (think light!)
  • Personal first-aid kit, small and light
Optional Field Gear
  • Trekking poles (highly recommended)
  • Pocket knife or multi-tool
  • Ear plugs
  • Camera
  • Extra warm clothing for late season departures, such as a down vest or jacket

Feel free to give us a call at (800) 622-2236 should you have any questions regarding the gear list. The staff at our stores and Direct Sales (800-426-4840) will also be happy to help you with gear questions. Or check out www.rei.com/learn. The Expert Advice section on our "Learn" page has great information to help you prepare for your trip.

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