The NH Chapter of the Appalachian Mountain Club will lead the 52nd annual Presidential Range Hike from Saturday, July 14 to Sunday, July 22, 2018. Twenty-one participants, led by four experienced NH Chapter leaders, will hike hut to hut for 50 miles along the Appalachian Trail from Franconia Notch to Rte. 2 in Randolph, NH. Participants in groups averaging 5 – 7 people will hike 5 – 10 miles each day and stay at one of the AMC huts each night. The huts are enclosed buildings that provide bunks and meals along the trail. Each day the leaders will offer four different hikes based on pace and side hikes where participants self-select their daily itinerary.
The route starts at Rte. 3 In Franconia Notch, climbs to the Franconia Ridge, traverses the rugged Twin – Zealand Range, cuts over the Mt. Tom col to Rte. 302 and the Highland Center. A moderate gain to the southern Presidential Range brings participants to treeline where the views are spectacular. Many consider the Presidential Range the most scenic on the entire Appalachian Trail!
Participants will hike over many of the NH 4000’er peaks including Mt. Lafayette, Mt. Garfield, S. Twin Mtn., Zealand Mtn. and Mt. Clinton (Pierce). Side trips offer hikers the chance to climb, Mt. Lincoln, Galehead Mtn., N. Twin Mtn., Mt. Bond & W. Bond, Mt. Hale, Mt. Tom, Mt. Field, Mt. Eisenhower, Mt. Monroe, Mt. Washington, Mt. Jefferson, Mt. Adams and Mt. Madison. The hike will ascend at least 15,000’ over the eight days.
The trails in New Hampshire are rugged. Although there are stretches of smooth treadway, hikers will be walking on many rocks and roots. There are many spots where one will need to use hands to navigate a section of trail. The weather can also be a concern. While we hope for clear, cool weather, New England is notorious for its frequently changing weather requiring that participants carry adequate gear.
Past participants have ranged in age from 18 to 70* and ranged in experience from relative neophytes to White Mountain veterans. The key is to possess a desire to hike some of the most scenic territory east of the Mississippi, have appropriate gear and be fit for hiking. We suggest that participants start a hiking regimen or other suitable exercise routine months in advance. The number one reason participants must bail out on the hike is that they are not fit. View the photo album to take a virtual trip.
The cost for the hike is $960 for AMC members and $1010 for non-members.** The cost includes 8 nights lodging, breakfast and supper, transportation from Pinkham to the trail head at Rte. 3 in Franconia Notch and from Appalachia on Rte. 2 in Randolph back to Pinkham at the end of the trip. Trail lunches, snacks and all gratuities are also included.
* Anyone 70 or older MUST attend the two warm-up hikes in May and June. The White Mountains are extremely rugged and we have had varied success with folks of advanced age. Also, those with no or limited experience may also be required to attend the warm-up hikes.
**The cost is based on a minimum of 17 participants. There may be an additional small cost if we have less than 17 people sign up.
Flying to New Hampshire
There are two options: flying into Manchester – Boston Regional Airport in Manchester, NH or flying into Logan Airport in Boston. While Manchester is closer to Pinkham Notch, there is no public transportation. People who fly into Manchester ask for a volunteer among the participants who will be traveling up Rte. 93 to stop and get picked up – it is a small airport. Another option for Manchester is to rent a car for one-way (or for the week if you prefer). Here is advice from a former participant, “Renting from Enterprise is your best bet. You can do a “One-Way” with them and drop the car off at their office in Gorham, NH. You may have to pay a drop-off fee. but that is far cheaper than parking it for a week. For the return, rent one out of Gorham or N. Conway, then catch your flight out of Manchester, NH.” For the car rental option you will need to get a ride from a participant or take a taxi (Trail Angels Hiker Service) from Gorham to Pinkham Notch.
The other option has limited public transportation. Boston’s Logan Airport does have a daily bus that heads to Pinkham Notch. Concord Coach Lines offers one stop at Pinkham,The Boston/Logan Airport to Berlin & Conway NH route stops at Pinkham Notch once a day. It leaves Logan Airport at 3:40 PM and arrives at Pinkham at 8:15 PM. Return to Logan leaves Pinkham at 8:07 AM and arrives at Logan 12:35 PM. Tickets are $72 round trip (2017). Check for the current schedule and fares.
If you fly-in it is highly recommended that you arrive at Pinkham a day early on Friday evening and leave Pinkham a day after the hike on Monday morning. You can make reservations at Joe Dodge Lodge at Pinkham Notch at https://www.outdoors.org/lodging-camping/lodges/pinkham/. You need to be at Pinkham by 3:30 on Saturday and we usually get back to Pinkham the following Sunday around 3:30.
Contact John McHugh, 603-382-6685, 7 – 9 PM, or firstname.lastname@example.org for registration or more details.