Northern Presidential Traverse

Bretton Woods, NH
5.0 (1 reviews)

Trip Highlights

  • Phenomenal High Country Views
  • Cozy Backcountry Huts
  • Mountain Creeks & Lakes
  • Deep, Pristine Forests
  • Mountain Solitude
  • Gourmet Lunches & Hot Drinks

Description

Join Wildland Trekking for the most iconic hike in the White Mountains – the Presidential Traverse! The longest of our New Hampshire hiking excursions, this trip traverses the impressive spine of the Presidential Range and gives us the opportunity the summit the largest peaks in the area including Mounts Jefferson, Clay, Washington, and many others.

This trek offers an opportunity that is rare in the USA – the ability to hike deep into stunning wilderness while spending our nights in comfortable backcountry huts. Our trek will take us from the ecologically diverse forests that encompass these mountains (home to black bear, moose, fox and more) up to high alpine ridges and peaks where expansive views will take your breath away. Our nightly lodging includes a comfortable bunk, running water, toilets, hearty meals and outstanding company.

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From
$1695 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: 6 Days
Distance: 22MI / 35KM

DIFFICULTY LEVEL 4

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

SUMMARY OF DIFFICULTY
This trail featuresa typical New England hiking with steep ascents over short distances with no switchbacks. The first day is about 3500′ up in just over over 3 miles. Expect technical, broken terrain that can last for several miles at a time and will sometimes require you to use both hands going both up or down. While we’re “on trail,” the second day is continuous broken rock and technical terrain for the entire day, with a significant exposure section where guests are using both hands to climb with a cliff edge very near (Mount Jefferson traverse). Thanks to the huts, our packs are on the lighter side and distances are generally short. Ultimately this trip is between level 4 and 5, tending slightly toward 4.

Hiking Distances:

3-7 mi

Backpack Weight:

15-25 lbs

Terrain:

Significantly Rugged

Max Daily Elev. ↑↓:

3500 ft

Heights Exposure:

Significant

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 REQUIREMENTS

  • Hiking uphill or downhill with a 15-25 lb backpack for 8-10 hours
  • Maintaining balance and footing on significantly rugged terrain
  • Hiking one section with significant heights exposure

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.

TRAVEL TO BRETTON WOODS

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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We’re here to help. If you have any questions, call 800-715-HIKE or contact us online.
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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: 3.7 miles
  • Elevation Gain: 3500 feet

After a hearty buffet-style breakfast, we’ll shuttle to our starting trailhead to begin our trek. Approaching the impressive Presidential Range from the north, we cross picturesque alpine creeks in beautiful forests as our trail gets steeper and steeper. Our hike culminates in about 1,000 ft. of elevation gain in the last mile – but we’ll take plenty of breaks as we make our way towards the Presidential Ridge. Dramatic views of Madison Gulf welcome us as we reach the treeline and Madison Springs Hut. Energetic hikers may find time to explore Star Lake or Mount Madison before a delicious family-style dinner.

Day 3

  • Hiking Mileage: 6.8 miles
  • Elevation Gain: 1950 feet

Today is our tough day, and we’ll get an early start as we set out on a classic ridge walk towards Lakes of the Clouds. This hike is one of the Northeast’s crown jewels – a stunning walk above the treeline with over a hundred miles of visibility in every direction. However, the trails are exceptionally rugged, rocky, and unstable, making today feel like an “off-trail” adventure. Be prepared for a long, full day of hiking! We’ll pass Mounts Adams, Jefferson, and Clay before traversing underneath Mount Washington and arriving at our stunning destination – Lakes of the Clouds Hut. Well done!

Day 4

  • Hiking Mileage: 3+ miles
  • Elevation Gain: 1300+ feet
  • Elevation Loss: 1300+ feet

Today we relax a bit and enjoy our position perched high on the shoulder of Mount Washington, the highest point in the Northeast! Today is a layover day, so we’ll take a more relaxed pace and explore Mount Washington’s alpine zone. Options include:

  • Tackling Mt. Washington’s steep and rocky trails for a summit attempt
  • Relaxing in the hut with a book and new friends
  • Or exploring nearby Mount Monroe

Another delicious dinner completes our day before we settle into our bunks for the night.

Day 5

  • Hiking Mileage: 4.7 miles
  • Elevation Gain: 1235 feet
  • Elevation Loss: 1235 feet

Today we’ll have the option to traverse some of the namesakes of the Presidential Peaks, including Mount Monroe (5,372 ft) and Mount Eisenhower (4,780 ft). We will wake to a tasty breakfast in the hut, pack our gear and head off on a section of the Appalachian Trail known as the oldest maintained footpath in the US. Today’s hike is a stunning, sustained ridge walk above treeline with spectacular vistas and mountain scenery. We can expect steep, rocky, and rugged trails if we choose to summit the Presidential Mountains along our route or opt for smoother and more level trails by traversing the ridgeline around the summits. But regardless, we’ll have a steep, scrambling last half-mile as we descend into the trees to end our day at tonight’s hut – Mizpah Springs. We will settle in for the evening and enjoy another meal prepared by the friendly staff in the cozy and comfortable hut.

Day 6

  • Hiking Mileage: 2.5 miles
  • Elevation Gain: 50 feet
  • Elevation Loss: 1929 feet
  • Shuttle: 15 minutes

After our last delicious breakfast together at our hut, we’ll head off on our descent trail toward the Appalachian Mountain Club Highland Center. We’ll enjoy a gradual descent through lush old-growth forest to the trailhead. After the hike, your guide will prepare a lovely lunch back at the AMC Highland Center, where we’ll say our goodbyes to new friends and a fantastic adventure

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
  • Four nights of bunkroom accommodations in backcountry huts in the White Mountains
  • A professional, knowledgeable, certified Appalachian trekking guide
  • Use of top-of-the-line backpack and trekking poles
  • Appropriately rated sleeping bag professionally laundered after every trip
  • 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 guidance 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.

Gear We Provide

We provide all group gear which includes the following:

  • Deuter or Osprey backpacks
  • Sierra Designs sleeping bags
  • 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

We ask that you supply a couple of gear items on your hiking tour. These items are two 1-liter waterbottles per person, either a headlamp or flashlight per person, and a lightweight waterproof stuff sac for your clothes and belongings. Basic items like sunscreen, bug repellent (where and when applicable), lip balm, and toiletries are also important.

What Clothes to Bring

When you register for this tour you’ll receive access to a printable, downloadable trip information packet with detailed guidance about what clothes to pack (click here to see it now.) All trips require a sturdy pair of hiking shoes or hiking boots, rain gear, and our recommended clothing system. A minimum of three pairs of wool or synthetic hiking socks are also required.

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 guidance 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 Considerations

Your safety is our top priority. Our hiking tours are led by professional Appalachian Trail hiking guides, all of whom are wilderness-certified first responders or EMT’s, each with years of guiding and wilderness experience. We’ve developed comprehensive risk management protocols that our guides adhere to in case of an emergency, and all tours carry an emergency communication device. If you have any further questions about safety, please contact us at 1-800-715-HIKE (4453) for more information.

Guides

Your tour will be led by a trained, experienced professional with a solid guiding background, years of personal wilderness and hiking experience, medical certifications, and a passion for leading people into breathtaking landscapes. Check out our Meet Our Team page for staff bios.

Group Size

The standard ratio of guests to guides on this trip is 6 guest and 1 guide. If you have more questions about group size, please give us a call at 1-800-715-HIKE (4453) and we’ll answer all your questions.

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 Mountains Huts

4 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:

  • 5.0 (1 reviews)
Sandra D
5.0

Wonderful, Very Helpful and Professional Guide

1 year ago

Our guide Julian was absolutely wonderful from the very beginning. I had twisted my ankle 2 weeks before the trip and was nervous about what whether I could do the hiking. I was ready to withdraw even after driving to NH but I wanted to speak to him to get his opinion. He was fantastic about going over the expectations and the possibilities for me—really reassuring me that there were options for an early out if I needed it. That gave me the courage to do the trip and it turned out that my ankle just got stronger. Throughout the trip, he was our master chef (unbelievable what he could do in the back country!), trusted guide, fun adventure-partner, and for me, a helping hand.

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