Home / Backpacking the White Mountain 4000 Footers Guidebook

Backpacking the White Mountain 4000 Footers Guidebook

Backpacking the White Mountain 4000 Footers

Trip Plans

  • The Carter Moriah (Long Way) Loop: A 3-4 day, 41 mile scenic loop that climbs the Baldfaces, Carter Dome, South Carter, Middle Carter, and Mount Moriah, before looping back to Evans Notch through the Wild River Wilderness. This route includes 6 miles of exposed above-treeline travel with many marvelous views and swimming holes.
  • Southern Presidential Loop: A 2-3 day, 22 mile scenic loop that travels up the Dry River Valley and climbs the Oakes Gulf headwall to a set of alpine lakes at the foot of Mt Washington. From here, hikers climb Mt Monroe, Mt Eisenhower, Mt Pierce, and Mt Jackson in sequence, before descending the Webster Cliff Trail back to Crawford Notch. This route has close to 10 miles of above-treeline hiking and unparalleled views of Mt Washington, the Dry River Wilderness, and Crawford Notch.
  • Presidential Traverse: A Presidential Traverse is one of the most famous and strenuous hikes in the White Mountains. This 2-3 day route is 25 miles in length with a cumulative elevation gain of 9,000 feet. It climbs eight 4000-footers including Mt Madison, Adams, Jefferson, Washington, Monroe, Eisenhower, Pierce, and Jackson, with 14 miles of above-treeline hiking.
  • Thirteen Falls Loop: A 2-3 day, 31 mile scenic loop that journeys into the most remote part of the Pemigewasset Wilderness below Franconia Ridge, climbing 3 four thousand footers: Mt Garfield, Owls Head Mountain, and Mt Galehead. The route runs along the major watercourses of “The Pemi” past cascades, pools, and gorgeous swimming holes, providing plenty of opportunity to kick off your shoes and soak your feet in the clear mountain streams or jump in.
  • Kilkenny Ridge Traverse: A moderate 2-3 day, 27 mile scenic traverse of some of wildest and remote scenery in the White Mountains. It’s a particularly attractive route for backpackers interested in avoiding the crowds of day hikers who frequent the southern and central Whites, in a wilder section of the National Forest that’s a good place to see wildlife, particularly moose. Hikers climb two White Mountain 4000-footers, Mt Cabot and Mt Waumbek, in addition to several smaller peaks called The Bulge, The Horn, and Mt Starr King.
  • Willey Range Loop: a moderate 2-3 day, 22 mile loop that climbs four 4000-footers: Mts Tom, Field, and Willey in the Willey Range, before looping past the magnificent Thoreau Falls, Zealand Falls and climbing Mt Hale on the opposite side of the Zealand Valley. The route follows several quite scenic, but seldom used trails that provide an intimate glimpse of the Lincoln Woods Scenic Area. This is an exceptionally pretty route in autumn when the trees in Crawford Notch and the Pemigewasset Wilderness are ablaze in color.
  • Pemigewasset Loop: A Pemi Loop, as it’s known locally, is a 33 mile loop hike that follows the ridgeline encircling the Pemigewasset Wilderness. This 2-3 day route climbs TEN 4000 footers with 9000 feet of elevation gain and has long stretches of above-treeline travel, including a Bonds Traverse and a Franconia Ridge Traverse, two of the most scenic walks in the White Mountains. You can also bring the total number of 4000 footers climbed to TWELVE, by adding in a few short side trips to nearby summits.
  • Mt Isolation Loop: Mt Isolation is a remote 4000 footer located south of Mt Washington with impressive views of the Southern Presidentials and the “rock pile”, as Washington is often referred to locally. This 2-3 day route follows trails seldom hiked by day hikers and is ideal for backpackers who want to experience the wilder side of the White Mountain National Forest. It visits several open summits and viewpoints, including Mt Crawford, Mt Resolution, Mt Davis, the Giant Stairs, which have equally impressive views.
  • A Mad River Notch Loop: The White Mountain landscape is defined by its mountain passes (called Notches), perhaps even more than its peaks. Crawford Notch, Pinkham Notch, and Franconia Notch are just a few of the great valleys that channel visitors from one region of the White Mountain National Forest to the next. This 2 day route runs through Mad River Notch, a lightly travelled mountain pass that links Mt Tecumseh with East Osceola and Mt Osceola and runs past interesting geologic formations, an old logging camp, and two pristine mountain ponds.

If you’d like to be notified when new trip plans are published, please subscribe below: