View Full Version : Planning a White Mountain overnight

06-21-2010, 11:08 PM
Hi, I am looking to plan an overnight for a weekend in July and am looking for suggestions on where to go. I am a pretty experienced backpacker, but most of my experience comes from a summer program where the trips are already planned so I don't actually have very much experience planning the routes themselves. I am going with some less experienced friends so we're looking to do 16-20 miles or so. On a side note, what resources do you use to plan hikes? I searched for about 2 hours today online and couldn't really find anything.


Note - bagging some peaks would be great, maybe a good ridge run? I've already done a few of the presidentials but possibly something with Adams in it?

06-23-2010, 09:38 AM
I am never positive that my hiking days will work out as planned (busy at work, busy at home, weather etc.), so I tend to plan trips in advance. I use a combination of items: The AMC guidebook, the AMC maps that go with the guidebook, this forum and VFTT (Views From The Top) to research trail conditions and tips, and this site for the upcoming weather.

I like the AMC maps for on-trail and off trail trips. The mileages let you plan how far you can go in a day and help to plan reasonable contingency plans or bailout routes. The guide is good if you are new to the terrain and to help with the rules.

These forums and VFTT usually tip me off or give me ideas for locales that I want to explore and the reasonableness of the trip given the time, season, weather and hiking companions.

Remember that if you are the experienced one, you are responsible for the well being of your companions (whether you like that or not). Forums and the guidebook are handy to let you know how newbies might handle a particular route.

06-23-2010, 01:34 PM
These resources are very good. I also use Delorme's TopoUSA software since it has the trails, distances and I can look at the profile to see how routes compare. Just one more tool.

KD Talbot
06-23-2010, 02:54 PM
I suggest to everyone to get a copy of the White Mountain Guide. It has descriptions, distances and estimated times as well as maps of the WMNF and its trails an includes every trail in the Whites. It is the White Mountain hiker's Bible.

You can read the trail descriptions to find a hike, or do what most do and look at the maps, pick a trail and then read the description. The answer to your questions are in this book as well. For the small price, the lifetime of knowledge in this book is invaluable.

If you buy it here it helps the Obs.

That said, I would suggest a trip over the Wildcats and Carters. 19 miles, lots of views, at Carter Notch Hut one night, Imp Shelter the next, or visa verca.


Snow Miser
06-23-2010, 04:26 PM
I love my copy of the White Mountain Guide!!! Am using it now to plan a route for STP10. Excellent resource.

06-23-2010, 11:01 PM
Thank you for the recommendations, I got the book out of the library for now and bought the maps today. I have a tentative plan:

Day 1 - Castle Tr to Israel Ridge Path and take that up to The Perch (3.7 mi)
I am taking some people who have never gone hiking before, so I think it's best to keep it on the (very) short side and if we get in early some of us can hike up to Jefferson in the afternoon. My biggest concern is if there's enough space at The Perch for 6 or so people on a Saturday night? We don't mind just finding an open area below treeline, but I'm not sure if there are any good spots based on the map.

Day 2 - Israel Ridge to Gulfside, quick stop at Adams, then over Madison and back down Watson to Valley Way all the way out (approx 7 mi, but downhill)

Obviously we'd have cars at both trailheads. Am I missing something, and are there any alternatives to The Perch if it's full?

Thanks again!

06-24-2010, 06:40 AM
The Perch is tiny...six people would be very snuggly;) being able to use it on a Saturday Night (in the summer) for six people is doubtful.

There is an overflow area behind the Perch that holds a few tents if that is an option.

KD Talbot
06-24-2010, 10:08 AM
This is just my opinion, but I base it on years of experience in the mountains.

The route you have chosen is a very difficult one. You have stated you are bringing folks who have never hiked before. If you want them to ever hike again, I suggest you choose something less difficult.

"Short" in the White Mountains translates to "steep". Check the contour lines on the map. Will your group be capable of carrying heavy overnight packs for several miles, rock-hopping over boulders? This is not "a walk in the woods". This is a trek over some of the most difficult trails in New England.

I personally find, and many will agree, that Mount Adams is more difficult to climb than Mount Washington. Again, just my opinion, but maybe you better go get this one on your own or with more experienced hikers/backpackers.

I also agree with Mahoney that the chances of showing up on a weekend and getting a site at the Perch are not very good. Here's some info:


I don't know the timetable, but the Perch is scheduled to be rebuilt and shelter there may not be available at all. There is no legal camping in the Northern Presi's except at designated sites. There is the Valley Way tentsite, but again, getting a spot on a weekend could be difficult.

I know you want to backpack, but I would suggest getting a campsite at Moosebrook or Dolly Copp and doing some daytrips and gauging your hiking partners ability. This will help immensely with planning your next trip.