Appalachian Trail Hut-to-Hut Hiking – Pemigewasset Wilderness

Trip Length 4 Days
Group Size 4-12
Difficulty
4

Starting from

$769

for REI Members

$844 for non-members

Departures

Sep 2019-Oct 2020

Spend 4 days in the soaring peaks and rugged terrain of the Pemigewasset Wilderness.

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 into the heart of it. Our destination is the Pemigewasset Wilderness, 45,000 acres of colorful, rugged, federally-designated wilderness. The area is considered by many to be one of the most spectacular parks in the United States.

Our journey takes us past babbling brooks, picturesque waterfalls and to incredible summits, such as South Twin and Galehead Mountains. We journey from river valleys up to alpine peaks, seeing beautiful and rare plant life along the way. With some luck, we may spot moose, white-tailed deer, fox, and many more creatures. Retire each evening to rustic accommodations in the company of new comrades. Staying in huts allows us to travel with lighter packs than normal, overall enjoying a more comfortable journey. We depart home having experienced a unique blend of adventure and unbridled beauty.

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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

Activities

This trip is rated Vigorous (4). The hiking portions of the trip involve carrying a 15 to 25 lb. backpack over steep, rocky, sometimes exposed terrain with elevation gain and loss of 3,000', 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.

  • Hiking

What's Included

All accommodations; 3 wool blankets and 1 pillow at huts; meals as noted in the daily itinerary; professional guiding; transportation to and from trailheads when required.

Accommodations

One night - AMC Highland Center at Crawford Notch in shared, single-gender bunk rooms; two nights - rustic shared-room bunkhouse lodging at AMC huts.

Your Adventure Itinerary

Day 1

Meet for dinner and a pre-trip orientation at the AMC Highland Center.

Our trip begins today at the AMC Highland Center in Crawford Notch, New Hampshire. Arrive at the AMC Highland Center between 3pm and 4:45pm to check into a dormitory-style room. If you arrive earlier in the day, the lodge staff is happy to recommend short hikes in the area. We meet our guides and fellow travelers at 5:30pm for an orientation and a review of the trip itinerary and gear list. We enjoy a family-style dinner, then turn in for the night in order to be well-rested for tomorrow’s hike. Dinner included.

Day 2

Hike to Galehead Hut, the most remote hut in the White Mountains.

We shuttle to the Gale River Trailhead (1,600') to begin our hike. The trail begins with a gentle descent and stays within earshot of the Gale River for three miles. As the trail gains elevation, we are rewarded with spectacular views up the valley and toward the Twin Mountains. Reaching the Garfield Ridge Trail junction, there is a significant steep and rocky climb before we reach our destination, Galehead Hut (3,800’). The hut provides co-ed, bunkhouse-style sleeping arrangements, cold running water and composting toilets. Located in the gap between Galehead and South Twin, the views to the south provide a glimpse of the vast Pemigewasset Wilderness. All meals included.

Hiking: 4.6 miles, 7 to 10 hours; elevation gain: 2,200'.

Day 3

Summit South Twin Mountain, then hike to Zealand Falls Hut.

The expertise of your trip guides will contribute to your hiking experience today. Setting out from the hut, we ascend South Twin Mountain (4,902’), the highest point of the trip. This is a strenuous hike with a gain of 1,100’ in less than one mile. Reaching the summit, we take in panoramic views of Mount Guyot (4,508’), Mount Bond (4,698’), Bondcliff Peak (4,265’) and the Pemigewasset Wilderness. We follow the Twinway Ridge Trail for four miles, then descend 1.5 miles with an elevation loss of 1,110'. Reaching Zealand Falls Hut (2,630’), we are rewarded with some of the White Mountain’s best scenery including brooks, marshes and waterfalls. All meals included.

Hiking: 7 miles, 6 to 8 hours; elevation gain/loss: 1,100'.

Day 4

Take in the views while hiking our final leg of the Appalachian Trail.

We depart from Zealand Falls Hut and hike to the AMC Highland Center. Our route is dependent on weather, trail conditions and other factors. We plan to arrive at the Highland Center between 2pm and 4pm. We'll enjoy a celebratory lunch together, then prepare for departures. Or, you can extend your stay to see more of the White Mountains on your own. Breakfast and lunch included.

Hiking: 2.7 to 5.5 miles, 1.5 to 2.5 hours; elevation gain/loss: 500' to 800'.

Appalachian Trail Hut-to-Hut Hiking – Pemigewasset Wilderness Departures

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.

What to pack

Packed by REI

Packed by you (Required)

Recommended

You might also consider

Travel Documents

  • Airline Tickets (Confirmation and Itinerary)
  • Final Bulletin (Emailed Prior to Departure Date)
  • Photo Identification

Contact Us

Feel free to give us a call at 1-800-622-2236 should you have any questions regarding the gear list. The staff at our stores and Direct Sales (1-800-426-4840) will also be happy to help you with gear questions. Or check out REI Expert Advice, which has great information to help you prepare for your trip.

Meet your guides

Bill Q.

A guide in the White Mountains since 2013, Bill is a Wilderness First Responder with a background in environmental science. He has hiked the 48 tallest peaks in the Whites, and on days off loves trail running and following his beloved Chicago sports teams.

Meet your guides

Travis G.

Here's a dedicated guide whose passion for long-distance backpacking, outdoor adventure, the environment, and helping others makes him an excellent companion in the wilderness.

Adventure Expert

Heather

Summiting South Twin is the highlight for me here, the accomplishment we felt as a group was huge. Ending the day having dinner as a group at Zealand Falls hut surrounded by the Pemi Wilderness is a very close second.

giniabeans

Incredible!


This trip was amazing. The wilderness is beautiful and the huts are fabulous. The comraderie of the group and guides exceeded my expectations and I was really sad to leave. It was an intense hike, especially summiting...

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