View Full Version : Camping at the Bluff

ADK Pierz
07-07-2004, 01:16 PM
I'm new to hiking in NH, and in a couple weeks I'm planning on doing a few of the Presidentials, and I'm wondering about camping. The 'Bluff', about 2.7 miles from Rt. 16, has been mentioned as a nice spot. We're thinking of hiking into that spot one evening, camping out, then getting up the next day to do Jefferson (via 6 husbands), then Clay, then Washington, then back to the Bluff. A couple questions:

- How is camping at the Bluff? Is it a good spot?
- How would parking be at the trailhead on a Sunday late afternoon, in July?
- Does that hike sound reasonable for someone in pretty good shape?

Any thoughts or comments would be much appreciated. I'm headed on a 8-day jaunt to ME, NH, and the Adirondacks in less than two weeks, and I can't wait.

07-07-2004, 01:53 PM
We did this hike about 2 years ago. Instead of saying at the bluff however, we hiked to the wamsutta campsite. It was a really great time. The parking lot was ample from what I remember, and I wouldnt expect you have any problems parking there. The six husband's trail is quite steep, and very enjoyable. Over to Washington, and back down via Wamsutta makes it about 4300 feet elevation gain. Not a terribly hard day.

Camping at the bluff would probably be ok, but from what I remember it was pretty packed there. I like wamsutta, because there is a good water supply right in camp, as well as a very cold stream to wade in close by. Its a little more off the beaten path, and a little further in. The Bluff does have awesome views of Washington, if you are into that kind of thing.

Hope you have a great hike!


David Metsky
07-07-2004, 01:56 PM
Trailhead parking won't be a problem.

The trip into the Bluff isn't that difficult, but it's possible that someone else will be camped there. You might need to go on to the next designated spot or set up camp in the woods, but Sunday afternoon shouldn't be busy. It's a fine place to camp.

The middle day is a big day. Six Husbands has ladders and caves, which are great fun, but it's tiring. Then over to Washington and back down into the Great Gulf, well, it's a long day. If the weather is bad you're above treeline nearly all day. Were you planing on coming down the Great Gulf headwall?

You might consider going up Six Husbands to Jefferson, then do Adams and back down via Buttress or Madison Gulf.


07-08-2004, 04:53 AM
The Bluff is an okay spot with a bit of a view (http://www.saletnik.org/gallery2/v/hiking/nh/great-gulf-2001/DCP_0919.jpg.html) ; however, it's not the nicest camping spot since it's just a big, open, packed area.

I would recommend, if you're going up Six Husbands, that you head all the way to the backcountry site (http://www.saletnik.org/gallery2/v/hiking/nh/great-gulf-2001/DCP_0923.jpg.html) that's right at the junction of the Six Husbands Trail and the Buttress Trail. An excellent location, a fine site spread through the woods with many individual "areas", and Jefferson Brook right there for water to drink and the great babbling sound.

The site on the Wamsutta Trail is closed due to a fir wave passing through; however, there are two other very nice options. One is the site at Clam Rock (http://www.saletnik.org/gallery2/v/hiking/nh/great-gulf-2001/DCP_0921.jpg.html) along the Great Gulf Trail. The other is found at the junction of the Great Gulf Trail and the Madison Gulf Trail.

RoySkwr - unless I've missed a change, the rule is no camping beyond the Sphinx Trail junction; there is in fact on the older maps another backcountry site shown on the GG Trail between Wamsutta and Sphinx. I've never been there.

07-08-2004, 06:55 AM
Lot of mis-information on some of the above posts.
We were JUST in the Great Gulf this past weekend and I will clarify a few points.

* There IS camping above the Wamsutta trail. In fact there are TWO designated sites approximately 1/3 mile above the junction of the Wamsutta/Six Husbands Trail ON THE Great Gulf Trail, ALMOST directly across from each other.

* There IS ONE site that is open on the Wamsutta trail on the north side of the trail...the one on the south side IS closed (due to fir wave)...that is less than 1/4 mile up on the Wamsutta trail from the junction with the Great Gulf trail.

* The info that Michael J mentioned, at the Six Husbands/Jefferson Brook site is correct. And the Clam Rock info is also correct.

* There is NO camping past the junction with the Sphinx Trail and the Great Gulf Trail.

I cannot speak for any other sites since we came in via Old Jackson Road, Madison Gulf Trail to the Great Gulf Trail so I cannot give any up to date info on any other locations.

There are PLENTY of other suitable sites that are 200' off the trail and legal in the Great Gulf.

ADK Pierz
07-08-2004, 07:52 AM
Thank you all so much for your ideas and information. I'll be there in 10 days (not that I'm counting or anything), and I'll be sure and let you know how it goes.

Thanks again!

07-08-2004, 09:52 AM
If you do try to camp at the bluff, bypass the sites near the big rock (you can't miss it). Look for the designated site just down and across the river and at the junction of the Great Gulf and Madison Gulf Trails. It's one of the best designated sites in the Whites, IMO.

07-08-2004, 09:54 AM
Another possibility to consider is the Osgood Platforms. You shouldn't have a problem getting a spot on Sunday night. You can use the Osgood Cutoff to get over to Madison Gulf and the Bluff area.If you do go to Osgood,and it's busy,most people don't know that there is a platform higher on the ridge off to the left,beyond the fourth platform.

07-09-2004, 05:35 PM
What are Torpedoes?

David Metsky
07-09-2004, 09:35 PM
Originally posted by percious
What are Torpedoes?
In the photo, notice the rocks buried under the overhang, pointed up, making camping pretty much impossible.


07-12-2004, 08:36 AM
Just to be clear - yes, that photo is at Clam Rock, it's right on the trail, and the path to the actual campsites is clearly marked with a small sign. I didn't mean to imply otherwise.

07-12-2004, 04:04 PM
I've camped at the Bluff (was the only one there that night) and found it to be a great spot. If you look around in the trees just outside of the compacted area there is a good spot for a two-person tent. I've also seen about 7 or 8 tents squeezed in the area one Autumn night, so it can be crowded.

As far as whether to camp there or somewhere else, it depends on a few things: how much time you have to hike-in on the day you arrive, if you're using it as a basecamp, your plans for the second and possibly third day, the odds that campsites further uphill will be full, etc.

Because of your plans for the second day, you should consider hiking in further to the areas near the Wamsutta/Six Husbands trail junction. Getting in another 1000 ft. of elevation (even carrying more gear) will make your second day much easier. The Great Gulf trailhead has plenty of parking and I much prefer to hike in along the river than to hike in from Pinkham Notch Camp.

It sounds like you'll be spending a second night at the campsite and hiking out the third day. If you have time I recommend hiking partway up the Buttress Trail for the impressive view of the Great Gulf and Jefferson's knee, preferably after setting up camp your first day.