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  1. #1
    Registered User DavidNH's Avatar
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    Default is it just me or are trails in the White Mountains (NH) getting more crowded?

    I've done several day hikes in the Whites this year. I don't expect to be alone by any means, but I've never seen crowds like this.

    Garfield Trail to summit of Mount Garfield. The trail felt like a highway. There were nearly 30 people on the summit. It was a nice summer Saturday.

    Ammanoosic Ravine Trail to Lakes of Clouds, the AT to Mt Washington, down via Jewell trail. I think i let someone by ever 5-10 minutes. The hut was full, even at cost of 150$ (!!) per person per night (weekend rate, non AMC member).

    I didn't find many folk atop Mount Osceola.. but I went up there early in the summer.

    Haven't had the gumption yet to go up Mount Lafayette. Maybe in early September.


    So what are your impressions? Are more people out on the trails this year? If so, to me it's a double edged sword. I am happy they are out enjoying the mountains, just wish they didn't all come to the same places I do.


    David

  2. #2

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    So jealous... I wish I were there. I can see what you are saying tho about the crowds... bittersweet.

  3. #3

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    You have easily accessed trails, within a few hours of a few major cities, on a weekend. go do Isolation, Tripyramids, Moriah.. something away from the road a bit. or, go on a tuesday.. bet you will have a lot less company.

  4. #4
    Registered User VT-Mike's Avatar
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    Lots of folks around Lonesome Lake last month. Looking across to the ridge with binocs lots of people up there too.
    -My feet are my only carriage so I've got to push on through-

  5. #5

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    The whole reason for the 4000 footer club is to spread the use among the lesser peaks in the Whites. Still, a lot of folks want to do the big ones. If you want fewer folks and can arrange to hike during the week, it's a lot less crowded. For me, hiking season is just starting up again - haven't been anywhere since May. I avoid summer hiking if I can - I'm sure I'll be miserable in the heat on the trail next year. Spring and fall - just perfect! Fall is better, though, because the bugs are gone.
    Quilteresq
    2013, hopefully.

  6. #6
    Some days, it's not worth chewing through the restraints.
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    That's why I do the trailless peaks on weekends, and save the more popular peaks for times when I can get out mid-week. I don't actually expect to be alone on most peaks, but it's more manageable this way.

  7. #7
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    went up Mount Lafayette on Saturday - great day - nice weather. encountered Well over 100 people on the trail (old Bridal Path). Parking was backed onto the highway for this trail head. Everyone is there for the same reason - hard to keep in mind sometimes when proper trail Etiquette is not followed by most of the people out there.
    All in all a great day of hiking. I was hiking with my 8 and 9 year old and they flew up and down this trail even with all the human obstacles.

  8. #8
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    didn't mean to bold that part in there!

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bobby View Post
    didn't mean to bold that part in there!
    Yeah, I hate when the computer does that





  10. #10
    Registered User coach lou's Avatar
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    I have not been to the Whites in over 15 years because of the crowds. This is the east coast....you will not escape the crowds no matter where you go.

  11. #11
    Registered User Driver8's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bobby View Post
    Everyone is there for the same reason - hard to keep in mind sometimes when proper trail Etiquette is not followed by most of the people out there.
    Your experience is very different from mine, Bobby. I've found all but a few of the hundreds of hikers I've come across in the Whites to be very polite and respectful, both of fellow hikers and of the often delicate environment in which they tread. The worst I've seen is a few people veering off trail onto the sedge on the Gulfside Trail near Mt. Clay and one surly young guy out with his dad on Father's Day treating me rudely. I'd put the figure at about 99% good, 1% not so good from what I've seen. Maybe you're running into more bad apples than I am, or maybe they're just making a bigger impression on you.

    I've done eight hikes in the Whites this spring and summer and found it quiet on May 5 on Moosilauke, somewhat busy on Ammo Ravine Trail on May 12, very, very busy on OBP up Lafayette 5/26 and Tuckerman up W on July 22 and busy up Jewell on June 17. Not busy from Lincoln Woods to campsite on 6/16 nor on Mt. Pemi or to Glen Ellis Falls on 6/16. Wasn't busy on my descents on 5/12, 6/17 or 7/22, the last when I ill-advisedly took the knee-crushing Lion Head trail down instead of Tuckerman's, to my regret, though I lived to tell the tale.

    Tuckerman's and the Bridle Path are busy for good reason - they're extraordinarily beautiful trails and have huts en route for respite, food, water, safety, etc. I've told everyone I've spoken with about Tuck's to do it even if they don't like crowds, as the views are incredible and it's a good, safe, though challenging trail. If you want to avoid crowds going up Washington, try Nelson Crag, Boott Spur, Great Gulf or Glen Boulder. Longer and/or harder than the more popular routes, with less water except in the case of Great Gulf. To avoid crowds on Lafayette, go up Skookumchuck or maybe Greenleaf all the way from the Notch, though it will be busy from the hut onward.
    The more miles, the merrier!

    NH4K: 21/48; N.E.4K: 25/67; NEHH: 28/100; Northeast 4K: 27/115; AT: 124/2191

  12. #12
    Registered User MamaBear's Avatar
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    There are a lot of hikers out, especially on the more popular and easy to get to trailheads. Of course this is the height of the summer season, too. I hike pretty much at least once a week in the Whites, year round, and off-season, mid-week, there have been times where I've seen either one or two people and once in a while no one else at all. Funny thing is, it is usually the smaller, easier peaks where I've seen no one: Tecumseh, Cannon, Hale, Jackson. I've seen the crowds, too. My son and I counted over 100 cars on Ravine Lodge Road - starting point of many trails to Moosilauke - on Columbus Day weekend last year. There were over 25 when we arrived very early, which validated why I wanted to get out of the house early that day! It is same feeling driving through Franconia Notch on nice weekend with cars lining the sides of the highway because the lots are so full.

    At any rate, while there is sometimes more company on the trails than some are comfortable with, it is good that people are getting out of the house, off the couch and out into nature. They might just get hooked like the rest of us and keep on hiking.

  13. #13

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    Try the trails n and w of adams and madison.kings ravine,great gully,among a few where youll see very few people till you get to gulfside.franconia ridge has always been crowded,for good reason,its spectacular
    but there are plenty of trails left for solitude.i did howker ridge trail last august saw 2people the whole day.

  14. #14
    Registered User johnnybgood's Avatar
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    Caretaker at Greenleaf Hut told me during any given weekend during the summer he estimates upwards to 800 people hike up the Old Bridle/Lafayette trail.
    Getting lost is a way to find yourself.

  15. #15

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    Quote Originally Posted by hikerboy57 View Post
    Try the trails n and w of adams and madison.kings ravine,great gully,among a few where youll see very few people till you get to gulfside.franconia ridge has always been crowded,for good reason,its spectacular
    but there are plenty of trails left for solitude.i did howker ridge trail last august saw 2people the whole day.
    This is true, there are tons of trails in the Whites and they are very much off the beaten path. Probably be a good time to explore them when the crowds are out.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Driver8 View Post
    Your experience is very different from mine, Bobby. I've found all but a few of the hundreds of hikers I've come across in the Whites to be very polite and respectful, both of fellow hikers and of the often delicate environment in which they tread. The worst I've seen is a few people veering off trail onto the sedge on the Gulfside Trail near Mt. Clay and one surly young guy out with his dad on Father's Day treating me rudely. I'd put the figure at about 99% good, 1% not so good from what I've seen. Maybe you're running into more bad apples than I am, or maybe they're just making a bigger impression on you.

    I've done eight hikes in the Whites this spring and summer and found it quiet on May 5 on Moosilauke, somewhat busy on Ammo Ravine Trail on May 12, very, very busy on OBP up Lafayette 5/26 and Tuckerman up W on July 22 and busy up Jewell on June 17. Not busy from Lincoln Woods to campsite on 6/16 nor on Mt. Pemi or to Glen Ellis Falls on 6/16. Wasn't busy on my descents on 5/12, 6/17 or 7/22, the last when I ill-advisedly took the knee-crushing Lion Head trail down instead of Tuckerman's, to my regret, though I lived to tell the tale.

    Tuckerman's and the Bridle Path are busy for good reason - they're extraordinarily beautiful trails and have huts en route for respite, food, water, safety, etc. I've told everyone I've spoken with about Tuck's to do it even if they don't like crowds, as the views are incredible and it's a good, safe, though challenging trail. If you want to avoid crowds going up Washington, try Nelson Crag, Boott Spur, Great Gulf or Glen Boulder. Longer and/or harder than the more popular routes, with less water except in the case of Great Gulf. To avoid crowds on Lafayette, go up Skookumchuck or maybe Greenleaf all the way from the Notch, though it will be busy from the hut onward.

    didn't mean social skills and normal public politeness. Referring to simple trail common sense. If you are moving slow and there are faster hikers behind you - move over. Don't take a break and block the trail. Moving up hill has the right of way - unless special circumstances apply. Don't be really loud and disturb others. Stuff like that. Everyone is pretty much friendly - just a little clueless about how to hike with a bunch of other people on the same narrow trail. It's kind of like using a bike path with a bunch of people that don't follow the established norms for proper use with others. Not rude - just clueless.

    Just take a deep breath, say excuse me and keep hiking....

  17. #17
    Registered User Driver8's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bobby View Post
    didn't mean social skills and normal public politeness. Referring to simple trail common sense. If you are moving slow and there are faster hikers behind you - move over. Don't take a break and block the trail. Moving up hill has the right of way - unless special circumstances apply. Don't be really loud and disturb others. Stuff like that. Everyone is pretty much friendly - just a little clueless about how to hike with a bunch of other people on the same narrow trail. It's kind of like using a bike path with a bunch of people that don't follow the established norms for proper use with others. Not rude - just clueless.
    I'm taking those issues all into account, Bobby, and I reported in my prior post the very few issues I've encountered this year in the Whites. Yielding right of way, whether descending or ascending, is common sense. I've let many descenders pass me thoughtI had the right of way in order to catch my breath - a nod or a wave gets the job done.

    As to yielding to faster hikers passing in same direction, I always do and have had little problem with passing others and their yielding. Maybe, I don't know, but possibly you're a bit impatient or rush people? Maybe not, not saying one way or the other. But if you're in a rush, does it bother you if there's even the slightest delay in someone's letting you pass? If so, you might could do to be more patient. Wouldn't be much fun to go around the world with some chip on your shoulder that all these slow pokes, lesser mortals one and all, just won't get out of your way or off your trail. Personally, I'm too busy taking in the views and breathing the fresh air. Just sayin'. ...
    The more miles, the merrier!

    NH4K: 21/48; N.E.4K: 25/67; NEHH: 28/100; Northeast 4K: 27/115; AT: 124/2191

  18. #18
    Registered User Papa D's Avatar
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    I just hiked nearly the whole range last month - US4 in VT to Pinkham Notch, NH - - the only place there were "crowds" were around Mt. Madison and Mt. Washington which were to be expected - trail was moderately populated - did see a few people with the hallmarks of being a newbie but no one that wasn't polite, etc.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Driver8 View Post
    I'm taking those issues all into account, Bobby, and I reported in my prior post the very few issues I've encountered this year in the Whites. Yielding right of way, whether descending or ascending, is common sense. I've let many descenders pass me thoughtI had the right of way in order to catch my breath - a nod or a wave gets the job done.

    As to yielding to faster hikers passing in same direction, I always do and have had little problem with passing others and their yielding. Maybe, I don't know, but possibly you're a bit impatient or rush people? Maybe not, not saying one way or the other. But if you're in a rush, does it bother you if there's even the slightest delay in someone's letting you pass? If so, you might could do to be more patient. Wouldn't be much fun to go around the world with some chip on your shoulder that all these slow pokes, lesser mortals one and all, just won't get out of your way or off your trail. Personally, I'm too busy taking in the views and breathing the fresh air. Just sayin'. ...
    How does 5 to 10 minutes trying hard not to walk into the person in front of you sound?

    no chip dude

    just an observation regarding hiking conditions in these extremely crowded areas


    I don't think I've ever experienced a stretch of trail as crowded as I did this weekend and I hike Monadnock at least twice a year.


    Seems common sense would dictate these trails would be crowded on a nice summer weekend, but I was not expecting anything like I saw.

  20. #20

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    Quote Originally Posted by VT-Mike View Post
    Lots of folks around Lonesome Lake last month. Looking across to the ridge with binocs lots of people up there too.
    It's a very popular day hike for beginners and folks with young children.

    For less traffic, if you want to climb Washington, use the Dry River Trail. Beware, though, the river becomes VERY wet in heavy rains.
    As I live, declares the Lord God, I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that the wicked turn back from his way and live. Ezekiel 33:11

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