New Hampshire: Hike the Presidential Traverse

Mount Washington, New Hampshire; Photograph by Erin Paul Donovan, Alamy
Mount Washington, New Hampshire; Photograph by Erin Paul Donovan, Alamy

Check this classic Northeast challenge off your bucket list.

What Is It? Push your limits by hiking from one end of the Presidential Range to the other. This challenge, located in New Hampshire’s famed White Mountains, involves walking 20 to 24-plus miles over stout, mountainous landscape and gaining a total of 8,500 to 10,000 feet in the process. For most people, this traverse includes summiting the majority of peaks in the range: Mount Madison (5,367 feet), Mount Adams (5,774 feet), Mount Jefferson (5,712 feet), Mount Washington (6,288 feet), Mount Monroe (5,372 feet), Mount Eisenhower (4,780 feet), and Mount Pierce (4,310 feet). Options exist to add Mount Clay (5,533 feet), Mount Jackson (4,052 feet), Mount Webster (3,911 feet), and Mount Franklin (5,003 feet).

Why Do It? Doing this in a long day—or even as an overnight—is one of the biggest challenges the East Coast has to offer. You’ll begin the day walking along streambeds and through gorgeous stands of birch, beech, maple, spruce, and fir. Quickly, though, you’ll break through to spend most of the trip above tree line (a rare opportunity in the densely forested East) getting 360-degree vistas of the peaks, ridges, forests, and rivers that attract so many to this area.

Make It Happen: Weather in the Presidentials can be brutal. Like any mountain range, it can change quickly, so check the Mount Washington Observatory for accurate weather forecasts and changing trail conditions. Go guided (in summer or winter) with Cathedral Mountain Guides, a company run by AMGA-certified guide Bayard Russell, Jr., and accomplished alpinist Freddie Wilkinson.

See all the summer weekend adventures.

More: See America’s 100 Best Adventures and Long Weekends Like a Local

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50 Best Summer Weekend Adventures: Great adventures are all around us—and summer is the ideal time to seek them. To give you some ideas and inspiration, every weekday we will be sharing a different U.S. summer weekend adventure, state-by-state from A to Z. We invite you to share your favorite summer weekend adventures in the comments section below when your favorite state is featured. Report back after the weekend to tell us about the outdoor adventures you had.

Comments

  1. Kmac
    September 8, 2014, 11:13 pm

    Very fun time with great friends!! Started very early on the summer solstice and finished the same eve around 8:30ish….

  2. What to do this weekend: 9/12/14
    September 12, 2014, 7:52 am

    […] Geographic’s adventure blog travels to the White Mountains to recommend the Presidential Traverse. (For more details on the traverse, check out our recent article on […]