The Appalachian Mountain Club runs 8 rustic, but comparatively luxurious mountain huts in New Hampshire’s White Mountains, all in spectacular locations. Listed south to north, these include
- Lonesome Lake Hut, located beside a glacial lake on Cannon Mountain
- Greenleaf Hut, just above treeline on Mt. Lafayette
- Galehead Hut, in the midst of the Pemigewasset Wilderness Area
- Zealand Falls Hut, located next to spectacular waterfalls
- Mizpah Spring Hut, located near Crawford Notch
- Lakes of the Clouds Hut, on the southern shoulder of Mt Washington
- Madison Spring Hut, at the base of the summit cone of Mt. Madison
- Carter Notch Hut, at the foot of Carter Dome and Wildcat Mountain
All of them were constructed close to the Appalachian Trail to permit hut-to-hut traverses through the White Mountains. Inside, hikers sleep in co-ed bunk rooms that house anywhere from 40 to 96 visitors a night. Two meals, breakfast and dinner, are served in a common dining area, and all of the huts have running water and toilets, but there are no showers or baths.
The huts are manned by workers called croo, formerly called Hut Men, back in the old days when the huts were almost exclusively staffed by men. Each hut’s croo is responsible for taking care of guests, cooking meals and educating them about the unique environmental and natural resources in the region.
In addition, the croo is often called upon as first responders in an emergency and is responsible for carrying food and supplies up to the huts several times a week. The preferred method for hauling these loads over the years is still the packboard, with loads ranging from 85 to 100 lbs. Boxes of fruit, eggs, vegetables, flower, turkeys and even an occasional six-pack of beer are humped up on these packboards several times per week to feed hungry visitors. Climbing 3,000 ft with one of these loads is not for the faint-hearted, but it’s a great way for the croo, including this fellow, to stay in shape.
The Huts are open during the day to passing hikers and are a reliable place to fill up water bottles and reservoirs with potable water. But they close during dinner and in the evening for the exclusive use of paying guests.
When packing for a hut-to-hut trip, it’s important to bring rain gear because you can’t postpone a reservation due to bad weather. It can also get quite cold and even snow at the higher elevations even in the height of summer, so we recommend that you bring insulating layers like a fleece jacket, a headlamp, water bottles, and extra food in addition to comfort items for sleeping in the communal bunkrooms.
|Sleeping Bag Liner|
|Crocs or Slippers|
|Long Underwear (for sleeping)|
|Large Day Pack|
|Water Bottles (2)|
|Tooth brush & toothpaste|
Most of the AMC huts are only open from late spring through early autumn, but several, including Lonesome Lake, Zealand Falls, and Carter Notch are also open in winter. Getting to these huts in winter can be very challenging because guests need to snowshoe or ski into them. Depending on conditions, full winter gear may be required, and knowing how to traverse avalanche terrain safely is important.
For Hut reservations, contact the Appalachian Mountain Club.SectionHiker is reader-supported. We independently research, test, and rate the best products. We only make money if you purchase a product through our affiliate links. Help us continue to test and write unsponsored and independent gear reviews, beginner FAQs, and free hiking guides.