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  1. #1

    Default Best time to hike NH?

    All AMC huts will remain close this year according to website so Iím thinking isnít it the best year to hike the whites? Your thoughts?

  2. #2
    4eyedbuzzard's Avatar
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    DFW, TX / Northern NH


    Quote Originally Posted by stephanD View Post
    All AMC huts will remain close this year according to website so Iím thinking isnít it the best year to hike the whites? Your thoughts?
    Yes and no. No huts creates logistical problems especially in the Presidentials as there are few places to camp and they are often 1000's of feet below the ridgeline. There will also I'd imagine be no water refills at the huts as a result, and again it's a long walk down and long climb up unless you carry a full load of water for the day (or more). On the plus side it means there will likely be many who stay away for exactly those reasons. Weekends will still likely have crowds of day hikers. Some locals will not be particularly welcoming, fearing that you're spreading disease from wherever you come from, but tourism based business owners will likely be more than happy to see you and your dollars. I think it depends upon your age as well. If you're relatively young, putting off a hike for a year or two isn't too important. For those of us with fewer years left, putting things off becomes more problematic. Time waits for no man. EDIT: NH itself, from Hanover to Franconia and even to Crawford Notch shouldn't be too much more difficult than a "normal" year. There may be some private shuttle and hostel closures to deal with, but nothing too bad. But I think the northern Presidentials becomes a much more difficult hike both logistically and physically due to the AMC hut and shuttle closures. And it's a difficult enough section normally. There are also trail closures that may come and go I have mixed emotions on the whole thing - there's the desire to hike vs the increased logistics and potential (even if statistically small) health concerns. Little things like hitchhiking may be more difficult - bring a facemask obviously. I would still pick up a hiker hitching a ride, but I'll bet there are many more who won't this year. Good luck whatever you decide.

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    Last edited by 4eyedbuzzard; 05-20-2020 at 09:07.

  3. #3


    It depends on what you mean by hiking the Whites. If you want to hike the AT across the Whites, that will be a challenge this year. But there are plenty of other hiking opertunities. I haven't heard if AMC campsites will be open this summer or not. Kind of hard to keep people out of them though.
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  4. #4


    Quote Originally Posted by 4eyedbuzzard View Post
    There will also I'd imagine be no water refills at the huts as a result, and again it's a long walk down and long climb up unless you carry a full load of water for the day (or more).
    IMO, water isn't an issue as there are external water sources at or near each of the huts:

    Lonesome Lake - the lake
    Greenleaf - thru hikers don't really stop here anyway; hike on to the spring for Garfield Tentsite.
    Galehead - most problematic, IMO; Gale River is a ways away and downhill. There is a spring at Guyot Tentsite, further on.
    Zealand Falls - the falls
    Mizpah Spring - spring at adjacent Nauman Tentsite
    Lakes of the Clouds - one of the lakes. If the visitor center at the summit of Mt Washington opens this summer, it has a tap.
    Madison Spring - a stream fed by Star Lake runs directly past the hut
    Carter Notch - the pond

    If memory serves, there is also an intermittent spring on the Gulfside Trail between Lakes and Madison.

    The advantage of getting water from the huts, besides convenience, is that their water comes from wells and is pre-treated. Giardia is a major concern, so always filter, and I suggest additionally chemically treating or boiling water from sub-alpine standing sources (Lonesome & Carter).

    My caveat is that I've spent a lot of time (relatively speaking: for someone in NY) in the Whites, done the Presidentials and Franconia Ridge multiple times, gone hut-to-hut and backpacking, so it's all very familiar to me. If it's your first time, it can be intimidating.
    Last edited by blackmagic; 05-20-2020 at 13:24.

  5. #5


    There is reliable spring on Gulfside Trail just south of the northernly junction with the Mt Clay Loop. Many hikers take the side trail over Mt Clay as it has great views, that means they walk by the spring and will need to backtrack on the gulfside. There are wet areas that are not reliable on the Gulfside between Edmunds Col and Adams. The is large pond between Greenleaf hut and the AT, its is marked as no trespassing but in an emergency I expect folks use it. Garfield Campsite has a reliable water supply just off the AT, tank up there as Guyot campsite is distance from the AT and includes a downhill walk. If you tank up at Garfield you should be able to make it Zealand Hut. Do note the stretch from RT 302 over Webster Cliffs to Greenleaf is long stretch with no reliable water. There is usually water in the woods between Mt Pierce and Mt Eisenhower as you are climbing out of the trees. I dont recomend this one as these woods and the trail the runs above it are a popular toilet spot. The stream on Edmunds path about 150 yards off the AT north of Eisehower is far nicer and is less likley to be contaminated.

    There is generally water crossing the Jewell trail near treeline. Mt Jefferson and Edmunds col is quite dry once the snow field melts out, make sure you fill up at the spring near the Mt Clay loop. There is water off of Sphinx trail. The trail actually is stream bed once you drop off the ridge.

    The major caveat is that the AMC huts and campsites provide toilet facilities for thousands of day hikers each season. They most likely will be fouling many water sources by poor waste practices. Definitely treat the water no matter how remote it looks.

    BTW Mid September is hard tome to beat for hiking in the whites, its can get cool at night with shorter days but generally less humidity and haze plus fewer thunderstorms.

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