View Full Version : New Hampshire in mid-May?

12-07-2010, 22:24
I'm thinking about doing a two-week hike of the NH section from Hanover to Gorham. I go to school on the East coast and live in California, so it'd be nice if I could start when I'm done with exams May 10-11 and then fly home from Boston right before Memorial Day.

However, it seems that most people recommend June or later for the White Mountains. How much would going in mid-May be pushing it?

12-08-2010, 00:30
It is impossable to tell this far in advance. It all depends on the kind of winter/spring we have and every year is a little different. On average, April and May are considered "mud season" and hiking is discouraged, as it damages the trail. Late May/ early June can also be the highth of the spring rainy season. Snow fields often linger until well into June on the higher summits, but the trails themselfs are usually clear well before that.

But then, some years the hiking is great starting in mid May, so you really have to play it by ear. Ideally, being able to decide a go / no go about a week before depending on the current conditions is best. Of course, that might be difficult to do from Cal.

12-08-2010, 08:10
This is what the Mt Washington area looked like last May 10 on mothers day week end. We went up to the Mizpah Hut and the blow downs were terrible, there was plenty of waist deep post holing from 2,800'+ and Ice above tree line. Be prepared.

12-08-2010, 09:43
May can be one of the most difficult months to hike in the Whites based on my experience. Often the snow down low has melted but up high the snow can be deep, tedious and exhausting to travel on....postholing can be an issue even if one is wearing snowshoes.

Here is a link to a site that I find helpful regarding current trail conditions.


Hope this helps....Happy Trails!


Jack Tarlin
12-08-2010, 16:48
What other people have told you is correct. Unless you have a good bit of winter experience, as well as the correct gear, I would not hike NH in May. I would also not go alone.

Also, I see you want to start around 12-13 May and be home by Memorial Day, which falls on the 30th.

This would give you about 17 days for your trip. Keep in mind that it takes most folks 12-13 days to hike from Hanover to Gorham in SUMMER, meaning they'd be averaging about 14 or so miles a day. This sort of progress/mileage may well be impossible in May if the weather is poor.