View Full Version : Presi's This Summer

03-05-2004, 02:43 PM
I'm thinking about heading up to the Whites this summer and would like to spend 3 or 4 days in the Presidential Range. I've never been hiking in NH much less the Whites, but I've got a lot of experience in the Adirondacks (about half the High Peaks and a handful of slide climbs). The most I would want to do in a day would be about 10-15 miles with full packs.


03-05-2004, 03:12 PM
Hi MrOysterhead,
Are you looking for a 3-4 day backpack route? It's not clear from your post but that's what "full pack" sounds like to me. Do you need to end up where you started or can you car-spot or are willing to use the AMC's hiker shuttle ($8.00 per trip I think)?

03-05-2004, 08:33 PM
sorry for not being so clear (hey - I didn't even know there was a shuttle - guess the Adirondacks have spoiled me). Yep - backpacking is what I'm after and I'd be more then willing to spot money to take the shuttle.

Kevin - I have a copy of the guide book - just looking for suggestions on where to take it :)


03-05-2004, 09:11 PM
One of the classic backpacks is the Pemi Loop, and if you are willing to do 10-15 miles a day you can easily do it in 3-4 days and no shuttle is required.

Day 1.
Start at the Wilderness Trail, take that to the Osseo up to Mt Flume, across to Liberty and spend the night at Liberty Springs tent platforms.

Day 2.
Head across the open Franconia Ridge to the Garfield tentsites.

Day 3.
Head to Galehead, S. Twin (could even go out of your way to do N. Twin), over to Guyot and to the Guyot Shelter or tent platforms.

Day 4.
W. Bond, Bond, Bondcliff and back out the Wilderness Trail to where you started.

If you are in excellent shape and want to do about 15 miles on the 1st day, you could always skip staying at Liberty Springs and head all the way to Garfield (tough day though!)

Also keep in mind that these camping areas become quite crowded during the summer weekends and on holidays. Going mid week is your best bet.

There are many other "off the beaten path" (Sorry Mike D.) backpacks that you can do. Killkenny Range, Dry River Valley, Davis Path, Great Gulf Wilderness.

Enjoy the Whites, they are beautiful!

03-06-2004, 03:30 PM
I mis-read your initial post and missed your KEY mention of the Presidentilal Range (I have to lay off sniffing glue). With that said, the Presidentials are a tough place to backpack due to the limited legal campsites. I would definitely recommend the Great Gulf as a place to base camp (much less crowded), which will allow you access to multiple loop hikes thruought the Northern Pressies.

03-06-2004, 04:18 PM
Thanks Frodo and Kevin. Yah - I'm realizing that the Presidents dont lend themselves to backpacking like the ADKs do. According to the AMC book - the Valley Way Tent Site is closed? Can anyone confirm this?


03-06-2004, 07:40 PM
Valley Way campsite is open. We stayed there towards the end of September last year after heading up from the Great Gulf.
There is a nice little spring on the way into the site...it was slow but running and I had to fill water by channeling the water, using a stick and tracking it into a cup but it was nice to not have to haul water. There are two double tent platforms and by the looks of things and the amount of cleanup we did, it looks like very few folks use the facilities there.

Have a good time in the Whites. I second the use of the Great Gulf as a base. Lots of nice places to camp. Another place would be to drop down to the Dry River from around Lakes. You could create a nice loop that way and not have to worry about staying in a crowded AMC tentsite....just a thought.

PS. The AMC shuttle is $10.00, I believe $11.00 if you are not a member. Heads up if you are hiking with a dog....they DO NOT ALLOW DOGS on their shuttle. (I was told they are concerned that a dog might bite someone...give me a break!!!!)
Also, the AMC shuttle is not very "time friendly"....you could spend half a day on the thing before you arrive at your destination.
An alternative is to use www.theshuttleconnection.com ...very hiker/dog friendly and reasonable. We use them often and have been very happy with their service.)

03-06-2004, 07:44 PM
In general, camping below treeline is allowed all year long in the WMNF. It's camping ABOVE treeline which is restricted to 2' snow cover. Read the regs at http://www.fs.fed.us/r9/white/recreation/land_above/backcountry_rules.html to see where it is legal to camp.

03-06-2004, 07:51 PM
Be aware that although the regs allow camping below treeline, it is difficult for someone who is not familiar with the Presi's to find suitable campsites in which you do NOT lose a LOT of elevation gain. There are legal campsites but IN GENERAL, if you are NOT familiar with the area you'll have to spend a chunk of time in search of a good spot.

03-08-2004, 08:29 AM
You could do a nice loop of the Northern Presidentials in 3-4 days as follows: Note that this loop can be done either clockwise or counterclockwise.

Day 1: Pinkham to Dry River trail campsite via Boott Spur, Davis Path and Isolation (west)

Day 2: Dry River campsite to Perch via Dry River, Gulfside trails and Randolph Path.

Day 3: The Perch to Osgood campsite via Israel Ridge, Gulfside and Osgood trails.

Day 4: Osgood campsite to Pinkham via AT.

Pinkham is a good place to start and end a trip and you won't need to spot a car. Good luck.

03-08-2004, 01:39 PM
JFB - thanks for that idea - it seems do-able and a good trip.

Everyone else - thanks for the info. I'll post again if we actualy end up going.


03-09-2004, 07:41 AM
MrOysterhead: expand your options to include the Carters and Wildcats and you can have a great, varied, trip. One of my favorites is as follows:
Day 1: Stony Brook Trail to Imp shelter. Take a side trip to Mt Moriah (4k#1)
Day 2: Imp Shelter to Carter Hut (flame suit on) via Carter Moriah Trail and Carter Dome Trails, bagging Middle Carter (4k#2), South Carter(4k#3), Mt Hight (don;t miss: awesome views), Carter Dome (4k#4).
Day 3: Carter Hut to Hermit Lake Shelter via Wildcat Ridge and Tuckerman trails, bagging Wildcat "A"(4k#5) and "D"(4k#6).
Day 4: Hermit Lake to Crawford Notch via Tuckerman Ravine and Crawford Path bagging Monroe (4k#7), Eisenhower (4k#8) and Pierce (4k#9). If you are feeling particularly strong, you can continue toward Jackson or catch Washington on the way by (both give you 4k#10). I usually skip Washington - it's always easy to talk occosional hikers to head up there for a day trip.

4 days, 9-11 4ks.

Another excellent trip, though with less backpacking:
Day 1: Hike into Great Gulf to the legal campsites near the Wamsutta/Buttress/Great Gulf trail intersection (sorry - don't have my map with me for eact location). Set up basecamp (short day)
Day 2: Head up Buttress Trail to Madison Hut. Bag Madison, then backtrack to Hut. Continue on to bag Adams, Jefferson, Clay and Washington, generally following the Gulfside trails and summit loops. Descend back to campsite via Wamsutta trail back to campsite. This is a long day (I'm guessing about 15 miles), and you need great weather to be safe. Ther are many bail out points along the way (note: this route can be reversed, but I prefer hiking the Northern Presis in a counter clockwise direction - but that's just me.)
Day 3: Get up late, hike out. (short day)

I've left off the side and connector trails on both trips (hey, trip planning as part of the fun!) and mileage, but with good weather, an early start, and strong motivation, all can be done by the average hiker with a full pack. (I've done them, and I;m barely average!)

Enjoy - whjile you are enjoying the Whites, I hope to be doing the same in the ADKs!

03-09-2004, 11:13 AM
sherpa - thanks for the continued advice! funny thing - the second trip you mentioned I actualy planned out nearly to the letter. The only difference was that I used the Osgood Tentsite as a BC. Would those wilderness sites in the Great Gulf be better? How easy are they to find?

Day 2: Head up Buttress Trail to Madison Hut. Bag Madison, then backtrack to Hut. Continue on to bag Adams, Jefferson, Clay and Washington, generally following the Gulfside trails and summit loops. Descend back to campsite via Wamsutta trail back to campsite. This is a long day (I'm guessing about 15 miles), and you need great weather to be safe.
Awsome guess - it's right around 15.5 miles from the Osgood site, so a little less if you use the wilderness sites.


03-09-2004, 12:29 PM
MrOysterhead: easy to find, marked, and legal. There are multiple sites, and are shown on the White Mountain Guide #26 maps (I don't have the newest). I'm guessing that they are 1.5-2 miles further in, and right where you want to start. When you reach the intersection, look around and you will find them. The sites are also in a nicer area IMHO. You will love the Great Gulf! I spent a lot of time there in my teens. It looked so different when I went back this past summer. The Sphinx trail makes a better option to bail (if you need to due to weather or fatigue) than Six Husbands.

Note: these are 2 of the easier trails in/out of the Gulf (Wamsutta and Buttress), but none are easy. Madison Gulf and Six Husbands are the more difficult ones, along with headwall of the Great Gulf trail itself.

03-09-2004, 02:02 PM
Awsome Sherpa. Thanks a lot. When the AMC Guide called them wilderness I had images of myself wandering around the Great Gulf for days trying to find the sites...looks like that won't happen (sigh of relief). Now all I have to do is convince my parents to let me drive up there - they're fine with the ADKS because its only 6 hours...and I think they want to exercise their last control before I head off to college in the fall. Thanks again everyone!!