View Full Version : From Fraconia to Crawford Notch
I am planning a hike in mid October that would go from Franconia notch over to Crawford. I plan on dropping a car at the lot in Crawford and starting off in Franconia. I will do my first night at the Liberty Spring campsite (3 mi) and the second at the Garfield ridge campsite (7.5mi). My third day would be at Guyot (6.2) and my last at Ethan pond (8.9), then out. I know this terrain is not that bad once you get on the ridge. From the topo it looks fine down to Guyot and back. But please fill me in. I am curious if I should add the milage to go past Zeland Hut (the AT) or just go the Zeacliff trail. The topo shows the Zeacliff trail to be steep...the AT route seems rather flat. Please give me your thoughts on this route. I know parts of it but not the full route. I am experianced so packing warm clothes etc.. is a given. But what about water at Garfield and Guyot ?
09-06-2010, 11:49 AM
My son and I did this trip in August. Note our TR under "presi Traverse advice". With 35+lb packs we found the up and downs quite a challenge. We live in MI so could not train very specifically for this. Franconia ridge is still full of up and down as well. We stayed at Garfield and Guyot campsites and there are water sources at both. They are diverted streams that require water treatment. Sounds like a great trip - hope your weather is as good as we had in August.
09-06-2010, 12:53 PM
For what its worth, I have drank (grammar?!) from the spring at Guyot many times the last couple of years, without treating it, and have never had a problem, BUT that's me, and its one of the few places I do so. Otherwise, the drop down to Zealand Falls Hut via Twinway is a pretty unrelenting downhill. It says 1.2, but feels longer. If you do so, I'd say leave some time to go up Mt Tom on the way out (to Highland Center I assume is where you are leaving a car?) because its worth the quick jaunt for a nice view. I haven't descended the Zeacliff Trail in a dog's age, so my memory would be fuzzy on comparing its downhill to using Twinway.
09-06-2010, 08:53 PM
This is a great route. We did it two summers ago as a hut-to-hut but the backpacking approach fine. You said you were prepared for cold weather but be prepared for REALLY cold - you can't be sure in October. We did Franconia Ridge as a day hike on the 19th of September last year and the temp on the ridge was 28 degrees and everything was covered with rime ice (and that was in the middle of the day). While I haven't personally been down the Zeacliff trail I don't think that I'd want to do it with a full pack - particularly going down. If you're up for a night at the hut (which I highly recommend) head to Zealand for the last night and then go out the A-Z as you mentioned.
Here's our hut-to-hut TR to give you some idea of the trails. http://www.mountwashington.org/forums/showthread.php?4033-Greenleaf-Galehead-Zealand-Highland-Hut-to-Hut
And the Franconia Ridge TR for some views of the potential conditions. http://www.mountwashington.org/forums/showthread.php?5438-A-Frozen-Shot-of-Franconia-Ridge-With-a-Lonsome-Lake-Chaser-9-19-9-20-2009
Hope this works out for you and you have a great trip! Will look forward to the TR in October
09-06-2010, 09:38 PM
Zeacliff per 9.5.10
We just packed out a bunch from Guyot to Ethan Pond yesterday via Zeacliff and it was terrible compared to previous trips. Having hiked that stretch many times (both by the hut and via zeacliff) I would rather take the steep knee trashing Zeacliff than the incredibly boring stretch of AT down past the hut and out to the pond, but that's just me.
FWIW Zeacliff is washed out up top and really overgrown down bottom... LOTS of moose crap and 2 bears at the pond. :)
...and there isnt a caretaker nor bearbox at the pond....
09-07-2010, 01:54 PM
Ditto on the Zeacliff...steep and rough just under the "Zeacliffs", but overall a beautiful hike with good views of Whitewall Mtn West Slope along the drop. Quieter than the AT too. Water is plentiful at the shelters you cite. You should plan to see the previously mentioned "Zeacliff overlook" (just East of the Zeacliff Trail turnoff), Zeacliff Pond ( a bit of a drop off the Twinway) and Thoreau Falls (just off the AT before Ethan Pond).
One other point to mention is that the footing on the Twinway after Guyot Mtn is a bit rough and your hiking speed over that section may drop.
Thanks to all for the info. I thought the Zeacliff trail would be a challenge. I will be packing for early winter conditions and actually hope for the temps to be cooler. I hadn't planned on going out the A-z trail. My plan was to camp at Ethan Pond. Last week I took my two girls on a quick overnight out to Ethan Pond and then over to Throeau falls as a side trip. It got me thinking I may flip the trip around and go from Crawford over to Fraconia...we'll see. Keep the advise coming though.
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