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AMC White Mountain Hiking Shuttle Service

The Appalachian Mountain Club provide some services in the White Mountains, including a hiker shuttle,  that can make life easier if you’ve doing serious hiking, backpacking, or climbing in the area.

AMC White Mountain Shuttle Map

One of the biggest challenges of going solo is getting back to your car after your hike. But arranging for shuttles with rural taxi services and dawn pickups on the day of your hike is expensive and anxiety producing. The AMC runs a hiker shuttle between locations which is reasonably priced compared to a cross country taxi ride, although far less colorful, I’m sure.

For example, I’m planning a series of section hikes on the Appalachian Trail through the Presidentials and Pemigewasset Wilderness. Designing loop hikes to get back to my car will not be an option if I go solo, given the terrain. I’m not inclined to do all of my miles with other people (in order to make a shuttle) because I need to climb a lot of peaks on some days, which will require 12+ hours of hiking and early morning starts. It’s hard for me to find hiking partners who like to hike like this and who are low maintenance companions, if you know what I mean.

Let me illustrate: I want to hike 13.2 miles from Galehead Mountain to Liberty Springs in one day. This is a ridge hike that traverses Mt Garfield (4,500 ft) , Mt. Lafayette (5,260 ft), Mt. Lincoln (5,089 ft), Little Haystack (4,780 ft), and Mt. Liberty (4,459 ft) before descending very steeply to the Liberty Springs trail head in Franconia Notch.

I’m thinking of driving up the day before, parking at the Liberty Spring trail head and catching the AMC hiker shuttle at 1:50 PM. The AMC shuttle would deliver me to the Galehead Mountain trail head by 2:20 PM. From there, I’d climb 5.1 miles to summit Galehead Mountain (4,024) and then descend and either spend the night at the Galehead Hut or stealth camp. If I break camp by 6AM the next day, I should have about 13-14 hours of daylight to finish the traverse and descend to my car. If the weather gets bad, I can descend Lafayette or Lincoln down to a bike path that runs through Franconia Notch and takes me back to my car, as well.

This is an ambitious plan, but I’ve done comparably difficult solo hikes and much higher one day mileage. The most important factors will be the weather, and carrying extra water, since there doesn’t look to be much along the way. But what makes this doable as a solo, is the AMC Hiker Shuttle.

The Hiker Shuttle operates daily June 4 through September 14, and weekends and holidays September 20 through October 19. A flat fare of $16 for AMC members and $18 for nonmembers is charged for a ride of any length on the shuttle. Shuttle reservations (603-466-2727) are recommended.

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  1. My son and I loved staying at Galehead Hut. Since it is the most remote hut, it does get a different group from LOC, Mitzpah, or Zealand. Of course it is very expensive.

    There are camping spots about 1/2 mile down on Twin Brook trail. You do lose a bit of elevation.

    If you could push on to Garfield, the only spot I remember on Garfield Ridge before the Garfield Pond site is at the junction with the Gale River trail and that is not exactly stealthy nor legal.

    There is a bushwack from the summit of Galehead over to the Garfield Ridge trail. Short with lots of blowdowns and a true bushwack, not a herdpath.

    Another option is just going down to 13 Falls and back up Franconia Brook. The Garfield Ridge combined with South Twin kicked my butt. And Franconia Brook is beautiful.

    Good luck.

  2. Thanks for the intel – I just got back from another trip. I will probably stealth on this trip with a hammock. Sleeping on that rocky ground in the whites is too hard for me old back and there are lots of trees so a legal stealth is easy to find. Hut stays are insanely priced. Not really an option I'd take except in dire weather.

  3. Steve and I used the shuttle service on our honeymoon hike years ago, from the Liberty Springs Trailhead to Pinkham Notch, using the shuttle at the start of the trip and ending up walking into the lodge. At that time, the huts were pricey, but not as much as they were when I went through on my A.T. hike in 2000, at which time, like many thru-hikers, we'd either request a work-for-stay or move on to a shelter or stealth spot. I never actually stealthed, though. Anyhow, I have no idea what the hut prices are up to now? $60-plus with a meal?

  4. LotC Hut is $92 per person per night.

    More then the gas, food, and fuel for a week long hike combined.


  5. I think the huts are a rip-off and dilute the back country experience, but they are good for families and people who lack the confidence of doing a stealth, don't have the skills, or don't want to get dirty.

  6. The huts were an important stepping stone for my son and I as we made the transition from day hikes to backpacking.

    Now that we are on the otherside of that I can see why experinced backpackers wish they weren't there.

    Along the same lines, I wish the Kanc highway hadn't been built – I imagine the trip to the Hancocks was a real feat before the Kanc.

  7. If shuttle times are later than you want to begin a hike, do you suggest the taxi service in the area?
    We will be leaving a car at the end of our trek. We will be hiking within the next week.

  8. Hi…Do you have a listing for trail shuttle services? I”m Bill of Mountain Courier Shuttle servicing White Mtns NH ..Maine traiheads…and airport service..also assist a lot of hikers that can’t travel within parameters of AMC shuttle..
    so if you do…let me know how I can get on

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