Zealand Falls and the Appalachian Trail

Bretton Woods, NH
4.8 (5 reviews)

Trip Highlights

  • Stunning Scenery
  • High Peaks & Deep Forests
  • Cozy Mountain Huts
  • Amazing Natural & Cultural History
  • Mountain Creeks & Waterfalls
  • Possibility of Wildlife

Description

Join Wildland Trekking for an incredible 4 days in the famous Pemigewasset Wilderness! Standing out as the largest designated wilderness in the White Mountains, the ‘Pemi’ (as locals call it) is home to moose, deer, and black bear who make their homes among the pristine brooks and impressive waterfalls the area is known for. This tour isn’t all in the woods, however! After we ascend above tree line to the historic Appalachian Trail we will summit multiple iconic peaks including South Twin Mountain (4,902 ft) and Mt. Guyot (4,580 ft).

This unique tour offers an opportunity that is rare within the Unites States – the ability to trek deep into stunning backcountry while spending our nights at comfortable huts with like-minded hikers from across the globe. Our route follows the Appalachian Trail across multiple iconic summits and our nightly lodging includes a comfortable bunk, running water, toilets, hearty meals and outstanding company.

Do you want to see the best of what the Northeast backcountry has to offer in the company of professional and knowledgeable guides, all without carrying a full backpack or sleeping on the ground? This unique tour is the adventure for you!

Read more …
From
$1345 Per Person
Return Guests get a 10% discount on all Trips!
Trip Type: Hut to Hut Trek
Difficulty Level:
Solitude Level:
Group Size: 4-6 Guests
Trip Length: 4 Days
Distance: 15MI / 24KM

DIFFICULTY LEVEL 4

Scale of 1-5. 1 is least difficult; 5 is most difficult

SUMMARY OF DIFFICULTY
This trail features typical New England hiking with steep ascents over short distances with no switchbacks. The second day of this trip starts with a 1200′ ascent in only about 0.7 miles, and this second day has taken our groups 11+ hours on trail. Expect technical, broken terrain that will sometimes require you to use both hands going both up or down. While we are ‘on trail’ all day, the trail is more akin to a continous rock field than a dirt trail for about half of this hike. Thanks to the huts, our packs are on the lighter side and distances are generally short.

Hiking Distances:

3-7 mi

Backpack Weight:

15-25 lbs

Terrain:

Extremely Rugged

Max Daily Elev. ↑↓:

2250 ft

Heights Exposure:

Moderate

Please Note: Terrain, Elevation Gain and Heights Exposure ratings reflect the section or day of the trip with the maximum difficulty of each. Much of the trip is at easier levels. See the trip itinerary for more detailed information.

PHYSICAL DEMANDS OF THIS TRIP

  • Hiking uphill or downhill with a 15-25 lb backpack for 8-12 hours
  • Maintaining balance and footing on extremely rugged terrain
  • Hiking with moderate heights exposure
* For an official and complete list of physical requirements, please see our Essential Eligibility Criteria.

SOLITUDE LEVEL 2

1 least solitude, 5 most solitude

We rate this hiking trip a solitude 2. You can expect to have as much as an hour of solitude at a time.

All White Mountains trips begin and end at the AMC Highland Center near Bretton Woods, New Hampshire. Most guests fly into a regional New Hampshire airport and drive to Bretton Woods via rental car. The nearest airport to is Manchester-Boston Regional Airport in central New Hampshire, approximately two driving hours away. Manchester-Boston is served by domestic airlines including Delta, United, Southwest, and American. Many international carriers serve Logan International Airport in Boston, an additional 30 minutes away in Massachusetts. Bretton Woods is also accessible via bus, Greyhound and Concord bus lines.

DRIVING DIRECTIONS TO THE HIGHLAND CENTER

From central and south-central New Hampshire (Manchester, Concord, etc.):

  1. Take Interstate 93 North to Route 3 North (Exit 35).
  2. Take Route 3 North to Route 302 East (near Twin Mountain).
  3. Take Route 302 East approximately 10 miles to the Highland Center, located roadside right on Route 302.

From Boston and its suburbs:

  1. Take Interstate 93 North to central New Hampshire.
  2. Follow directions above for central New Hampshire. From Portland, Maine:
  3. Take Route 302 West to the Crawford Notch Depot Visitor Center, located roadside left on Route 302.

Private Trips

Travel in perfect company by booking a private trip exclusively for your group!

Our sliding scale for private trips is based on the final number of guests in your group. Rates are per person and do not include sales tax, national park fees or guide gratuity. The final rate is based on the actual number of guests on the trip and may adjust based on cancellations or additions.

Please Note: you can also enjoy a private trip at our normal scheduled rates by filling any empty tour to capacity. However, if group members drop from the tour those spots will automatically become available on our website for instant booking. By purchasing a private trip at the rates listed below, your trip will remain exclusive to your group regardless of cancellations. 

Private Rates FOr This Trip

  • 2 People: Rate x 2.5
  • 3 People: Rate x 1.75
  • 4 People: Rate x 1.25
  • 5+ People: Rate x 1.15

*all rates are per person

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ITINERARY

ITINERARY

Day 1

Today you will meet up with your guide and group at the AMC Highland Center, located in the impressive Crawford Notch. We will rendezvous at 5 PM, but consider arriving a day or two early to enjoy this stunning area! Family-style dinner is included tonight after meeting our group, chatting about our trip logistics, and issuing some lightweight gear. After dinner, we will settle into our private room lodging in order to be well-rested and prepared for tomorrow’s adventure.

Day 2

  • Shuttle to Trailhead: 50 minutes
  • Hiking Mileage: 4.7 miles
  • Elevation Gain: 2250 feet

After a tasty buffet style breakfast at the Highland Center we begin our White Mountains adventure with a short shuttle to our trailhead. We’ll start by following the picturesque Gale River through lush forests. As the trail steepens and becomes more rugged, it’ll take our breath away both from the effort and the stunning views that await us at the top. Our destination is Galehead Hut, the most remote hut in the White Mountains hut system. Energetic hikers can leave gear at the hut and complete a short hike to summit Galehead Mountain. Afterwards, we’ll enjoy a hearty, fresh-cooked meal before settling down in our comfortable bunks for the night.

Day 3

  • Hiking Mileage: 7 miles
  • Elevation Gain: 1100 feet
  • Elevation Loss: 1100 feet

After enjoying a mountain breakfast prepared by the friendly hut staff, we’ll hit the trail and bag a few peaks along our way! We start with a very demanding climb of 1,100 feet in less than a mile to the summit of South Twin Mountain, the highest point of our trip. From our perch atop South Twin, we can see deep into the Pemigewasset Wilderness and the Bond Range. We’ll continue on the Twinway Ridge Trail for a few miles as we climb up and over Mount Guyot (4,580′) along the way. The trail will alternate between ruggedly rocky sections with some scrambling and more mellow forest paths, so prepare for a long day of hiking! We’ll finish with a long, rocky descent past Zeacliff Pond and down to our destination at Zealand Falls Hut. The area around the hut is beautiful to explore and features waterfalls and streams. Another freshly prepared dinner and conversation with like-minded hikers top off our day in the wilderness.

Day 4

  • Hiking Mileage: 2.8 miles
  • Elevation Loss: 740 feet
  • Shuttle: 35 minutes

Today we reluctantly depart our comfortable backcountry hut (after another wonderful breakfast) and head back to civilization. We will descend along the Zealand Trail past multiple small ponds and cascades while enjoying blissfully smooth and rock-free trails. After a short drive back to the Highland Center, your guide will prepare a delicious lunch where we’ll say our goodbyes and reflect on our exciting time together in the wilderness.

Please Note: We always do everything in our power to follow the set itinerary, however it can change occasionally based on temporary access restrictions, weather, lodging/campground availability, guest ability/injury, natural events like fires and flooding, and other potential causes. Normal terms and conditions apply to trips with itinerary changes.

Trip Dates & Booking

TRIP DATES & BOOKING

Click on a date to register. You can also click here to request new dates or book through customer service.

Available to Book

AVAILABLE TO BOOK

This trip is available and bookable online! Click on the date to register now or contact us online to book through our award-winning customer service team!

Going Fast

GOING FAST

This trip has 1 or 2 spots remaining and is bookable online! Click on the date to book now or contact us online to book through customer service.

Request a Reservation

REQUEST A RESERVATION

This trip is exclusively booked through customer service due to logistics with lodging, permits, staffing, availability, or something else. Please contact us online or call us at 800-715-HIKE (4453) to request a reservation.

Don't see your dates? Call us! We may be able to add new trip dates.

800-715-HIKE (4453)

Trip Details

Trip Details

What's Included

  • One night in a private room with private bath at the stunning AMC Highland Center
  • Two nights of bunkroom accommodations in backcountry huts in the White Mountains
  • Trained hiking guide(s) with years of personal wilderness and hiking experience, medical certifications, and a passion for leading people into breathtaking landscapes. See Guide Bios.
  • Use of top-of-the-line backpack and trekking poles
  • Appropriately rated synthetic-fill sleeping bag professionally laundered after every trip – or bring your own.
  • All meals are included from dinner the first day through lunch on the last day
  • Roundtrip transportation from the Appalachian Mountain Club Highland Center to the trailhead and back
  • Emergency equipment including a company-issued first-aid kit and communication device (InReach Explorer or satellite phone)
  • You will receive a Lifetime Hiking Membership entitling you, your spouse and your kids to a lifetime discount of 10% off any Wildland Trekking hiking trip after your first one!

What's Not Included

  • Clothes, raingear, and footwear (see recommendations)
  • Sunscreen, toiletries and personal items
  • Waterbottles and a headlamp or flashlight
  • Guide gratuity (industry recommendation is 10-15% of trip cost)

Click here to see a printable, downloadable trip information packet with more detailed information about what to pack.

Meals: What to Expect

We will enjoy some wonderful hut meals, primarily dinners and breakfasts while staying at the huts. All other meals are prepared and provided by your guide.

All of our hiking and backpacking tours include a diversity of tasty meals packed full of critical carbohydrates, proteins and fats. We carry foods that travel well in the backcountry – rice, pastas, lentils, beans, couscous, packaged meats, nuts, breads, oatmeal, granola, and more.

For optimal taste and energy, we supplement all our meals with spices, herbs, oils, cheeses, butter, sugar, and fruits and vegetables (fresh and dried). In addition, we provide you with with an assortment of trail mix, snacks, and dried fruits to eat at your own discretion.

We regularly accommodate vegan, vegetarian, kosher and non-gluten diets and will make adjustments for food allergies. These and other special dietary requests may require an additional fee.

What Gear We Provide

We provide all group gear which includes the following:

  • Deuter or Osprey backpacks
  • Sierra Designs, Kelty, Big Agnes and Mountain Hardware synthetic-fill sleeping bags (or bring your own)
  • Leki trekking poles
  • Mountain Safety Research cooking stoves
  • Mountain Safety Research cookware
  • Company-issued first-aid kit
  • Emergency communication device(s)

What Gear to Bring

When you register for this tour you’ll receive access to a printable, downloadable trip information packet with a detailed packing list specific to this trip (click here to see it now.) All trips require a sturdy pair of hiking shoes or hiking boots, rain gear, a recommended clothing system, a headlamp or flashlight, a hydration system (water bottles and/or bladder) and other items specific to each trip.

Additionally, some guests choose to bring their own sleeping bag. We supply high quality, synthetic fill bags that are professionally laundered after every trip. Synthetic fill is non-allergenic, insulates when damp and stands up well to repeated washings, but is heavier and bulkier than down. If you’re able to bring your own down sleeping bag, there are multiple benefits. If not, we’ve got you covered!

Trip Logistics

Trip Logistics

Where Do We Meet?

You will meet your guide and group on Day 1 at 5pm at the AMC Highland Center near Bretton Woods, New Hampshire. Your guide will contact you approximately 2 weeks before your trip to coordinate the exact meeting place and pick-up time.

Click here to see a printable, downloadable trip information packet with more detailed information about flights, shuttles, recommended lodging and more.

Start/End Times

Your guide will inform you of the first hiking day’s departure time at the orientation meeting. Generally, you can expect it to be between 5 and 7 am, although the exact time will depend on current weather and road conditions. We will drop you off at your hotel on the final day normally before 5 PM (this time is not guaranteed, as a variety of circumstances can influence our exact return time).

Safety Precautions

Your safety is our top priority. Our hiking tours are led by professional hiking guides, all of whom are wilderness-certified first responders or EMT’s, each with years of guiding and wilderness experience. Guides adhere to standardized risk management protocols in case of any potential or actual incident, and all tours carry an emergency communication device and comprehensive first-aid kit. Additionally we have a “24/7” system through which guides or guests can reach Wildland support personnel at any time.

If you have any further questions about safety, please contact us at 1-800-715-HIKE (4453) for more information.

Weather in the White Mountains

Weather in the White Mountains

The White Mountains are home to the notorious weather station on the top of Mount Washington where in 1934 the fastest wind speed record on land that wasn’t associated with a tornado or hurricane – 231 mph – was recorded. The weather can be wildly erratic, which makes it important to follow the packing list and be prepared for a diversity of conditions including temperate and humid to below freezing to windy and rainy. Thunderstorms in the summer are common, but so are sunny, blue bird skies on long summer days.

Average Temperatures (Fahrenheit)

Month High Low
June 61° 49°
July 65° 54°
August 64° 53°

Accommodations

Accommodations

Highland Center

1 NIGHT

This unique mountain lodge in the stunning location of Crawford Notch, New Hampshire is operated by the same conservation organization that runs the backcountry hut system. The lodge has cozy rooms, general living room and patio with breathtaking views. Wildland guests are in private rooms with shared or private baths.

White Mountain Huts

2 NIGHTS

The White Mountain backcountry huts are remote and in spectacular settings. They offer us the opportunity to sleep above treeline in cozy, indoor “lodging.” The accommodations are in co-ed bunkrooms with separate bathrooms with flush toilets. The bunkhouses are not heated, have no lighting, and electrical outlets are not available.

Trip Reviews

Trip Reviews

  • Average Customer Ratings:

  • 4.8 (5 reviews)
Venkatachalam N
5.0

Excellent

3 months ago

The entire trip experience was great. The website provided all information I was looking for, registration process was simple and easy, preparation instructions were clear and sent well in advance, guide was superb, and the actual trip was well managed. The facilities during the trip was excellent. Will highly recommend Wildland to my friends and family

Tom D
5.0

Awesome

3 months ago

Chris was an awesome guide. Personable and very knowledgeable regarding the area and the overall experience. Always went over and beyond to make sure the hiking experience was successful and enjoyable. He even hiked back down and back up the first day because someone left something behind. That’s a dedicated guide! We will be looking at a lodge based Smoky Mtn hike for next year. Thanks

Robert H
5.0

Unforgettable Experience

1 year ago

The guide Dan knew exactly what to do and was amazingly confident. He is an amazing cook and pleasant to be around no matter how tired I was. Thank you Dan for an unforgettable experience.

See All Guest Reviews!

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