View Full Version : Crawford Notch to Pinkham Notch Help Please!

Jay B.
06-25-2009, 09:27
I have hiked from Springer to Damascus over the last several years. Have a invitation to do Crawford to Pinkham in the White's in early September and am quite excited but know nothing about the area, where to camp, huts etc. Was planning to do the 26 mile section in 3 days, 2 nights. Please respond if you can give ideas as to campsites spaced apart for 2 nights or any info. Thanks much! Jay B.

06-25-2009, 11:13
Well, i believe most do it in two days (one night) and stay at Lake of the crowds Hut.

There aren't a lot of choices to split it up in 3 that i know of besides Mitzpah and Madison huts.
Check that out in your data book and see what you think.

06-25-2009, 11:18
When in the Whites, they require you to stay at or near the huts and tent areas, similar to in the Smokies. In the Whites, however, you pay for the 'privilege' to stay at one of the facilities.

There are places to camp just before and just after most of the huts. But, these are likely to be taken up by thru hikers pretty early each day.

If early Sept means Labor Day weekend, a lot of the huts will also be packed with folks that come up to the Huts for an overnight stay (as well as large numbers of thru hikers).

There are some stealth campsites along the route, but you want to be careful to not get caught setting up at these locations. Im not sure what the fine is, but it is more than spending the night at the hut which I think is around $70-80 per night now. I cowboy camped near the summit of Eisenhower one time.

As for the hike, it isnt too bad once you get up to Webster cliffs. from there, it is pretty much a ridge walk with 500-1200 ft ups and downs. There are trails up to most of the summits of the peaks, as well as trails that sideslab each peak. The AT goes over about half the peaks and around the other half. you will have a long rocky downhill from the summit of Madison into Pinkham Notch.

When you say splitting it into 2 nights, I am assuming that you will hike 3 full days, with two nights stay. Spacing would be approximately:
Day 1: Hike in to somewhere around Mitzbah Hut
This will be the hardest day as you have to make the climb out of the notch to the ridgeline.
Day 2: Hike in to somewhere around Madison Hut
This includes Lake of the Clouds, Mt Washington, and the Cog Railroad
Day 3: Hike out to Pinkham Notch

06-25-2009, 11:21
Here's one option for two nights from Crawford to Pinkham:

6.5 miles to Mizpah Spring Hut
11.8 miles to Madison Springs Hut
7.2 miles to Pinkham Notch

Recognize that your pace will be substantially slower through the Whites than down south. I found that I was consistently walking a mile an hour slower due to the rocks, and that was in perfect weather.

Of course, it costs something like $80 to reserve a bunk in the huts, but it saves you from having to walk down below treeline to find a sheltered tentsite.

Hopefully you'll get some nice weather. If possible, try to do this during the week to avoid heavy crowds.

Jay B.
06-25-2009, 11:27
Thanks guys for the information! Really don't want to part with almost $200.00 for staying 2 nights at huts. Is it a good option to hike down off the ridgeline to some of the campsites shown in the AT maps or not? Also does anyone know of someone who would drop us off at Crawford and pick us up at Pinkham? Names and phone #'s would be great. What is parking like at Pinkham? Thanks, Jay B.

06-25-2009, 11:41
There is Nauman tent sites at Mizpah Hut for $8 a night. There is the Perch and Log Cabin below Mt Jefferson on the northside. Grey Nob and Crag Camp shelters are below Mt. Adams on the north side for $8 a night ( might be a little more now). Crag Camp is my favorite place to stay in all of the Whites, well worth the stop. The last places to stay are Osgood tentsites on the south side of Mt Madison or get down to the stream in the Great Gulf for a bushwack site. Take the three days and enjoy the hike and be sure to bring extra clothes.

You can get the AMC Hiker shuttle to get you back to your car. Thier website has the schedule and I believe it is about $12 a person.

Either place you stay and I hope you have a great day above the treeline.

06-25-2009, 11:46
outdoors.org is the link to the AMC. They have a scheduled daily shuttle from Pinkham to Crawford. There are commericial services that could do the same shuttle for far more money to your schedule, so its best to reserve a spot on the AMC shuttle and put up with their schedule.

There are sites off the ridge for those who dont want to stay in the hut, but they inevitably involve about 1 mile and 1000 feet of elevation drop down to treeline. As mentioned there are stealth sites up above treeline but someone else will have to give you info and you could get caught. Usually the below treeline spots are small and sort of flat nestled in the firs which makes setting up a tent challenging. You most likely will need to carry water to these sites. The RMC camps are handy but they are the inevitable 1 mile and 1000 feet drop, unfortunately you can not make reservations.

The area is a real busy in the first two weeks of September (as its great time of year). Near the end of the month, there have been usually some overnight snows on the ridge.

Many hikers do a Presidential traverse in a day which covers about 3/4's of the route. (crawford to the top of Madison). If you are not familiar with the area, dont plan on that as continous rock hopping is an acquired skill.