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 this afternoon 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 in the early evening 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.
Hike to Lakes of the Clouds Hut, and perhaps summit Mount Washington
We shuttle to the Ammonoosuc Ravine Trailhead to begin our hike. The first 1.5 miles of the trail is relatively flat with excellent views of waterfalls, ponds and the surrounding rugged cliffs and rock faces. The final 1.5 miles will test our endurance as we navigate an extremely steep and often wet trail to the Lakes of the Clouds Hut, the highest in the chain. The hut is co-ed bunkhouse style, with cold running water and composting toilets. Time, wind and weather permitting, an optional hike to the summit of Mount Washington (6,288') may be possible. Wind speeds on Mount Washington, the highest peak in the northeastern United States, are some of the strongest ever recorded at up to 231 miles per hour. All meals included.
Hiking: 3.1 miles, 3 hours, Elevation gain: 2,512'; Optional Mount Washington summit; 3 miles, 2.5 hours, Elevation gain/loss: 1,300'
Hike Crawford Path to summit four peaks en route to Mizpah Spring Hut
Crawford Path, first established in 1819, is a designated National Recreation Trail. It leads us over Mount Monroe (5,372'), Mount Franklin (5,003'), Mount Eisenhower (4,780') and Mount Pierce (4,311'). There is an abundance of rare alpine plants and flowers to be seen as we hike along ridgelines. Descending below the tree line, we reach Mizpah Spring Hut (3,800'), the youngest hut in the system. Note: Crawford Path Trail is almost exclusively above tree line; therefore, an alternate route will be used if wind and weather conditions are not favorable. All meals included.
Hiking Crawford Path: 5.1 miles, 6 hours, Elevation gain/loss: 1,233'. Hiking without summits: 4.8 miles, 5 hours, Elevation gain/loss: 1,233'
Hike up Mount Jackson, our final leg of the Appalachian Trail
Our final hike, weather permitting, takes us to the summit of Mount Jackson (4,052'). We then descend on the Webster-Jackson Trail and shuttle back to the AMC Highland Center an plan to arrive in the afternoon. We enjoy a celebratory lunch together, then prepare for departures. Or, extend your stay to explore more of the White Mountains on your own. Breakfast and lunch included.
Hiking: 4.5 miles, 5 hours, Elevation gain/loss: +275'/-2,152'