Franconia Notch to Pinkham Notch
First time poster here, love the site.
Last fall I hiked the AT from Glencliff to Pinkham Fall. This year I want to hike from Franconia Notch to Pinkham Notch by going thru the Pemi and staying off of the AT as much as possible.
Starting off, doing the Pemi to Bond Cliff and up to Mt Guyout, then the AT to Zealand Falls Hut where I would take the Avalon Trai to Crawford Notch.
From Crawford Notch take the Crawford Path to Nauman Tentsite and depending on the weather, either stay high on the AT or drop down to the Dry River Trail. And then depending on what trail I'm on, dropping down to Pinkham Notch on the Tuckerman Trail or the Boott Spur trail.
Has anybody here done this hike and can you give any advise or lead me to a trail journal?
How many miles would this be appox? I'm going to order the White Mtn Trail Guide from the AMC tonight.
I averaged about 10 miles a day on the AT hike last fall. Can I do this in 6 days?
I'm planning to do this solo starting on 10-8 and will be using the AMC shuttle to get back to Franconia Notch. I believe the shuttle buses will only be running on weekends at this time of the year. Therefore I need to get to Pinkham on Sat or Sun.
Any info would be appreciated. Thanks!
Franconia to Pinkham
The trip you describe would start at Lincoln Woods in Lincoln, follow the Wilderness Trail, an old railroad bed with very little elevation gain, 4.7 miles to the Bondcliff Trail. From there it's 6.3 miles over 2 summits to Guyot shelter. 11 miles,elevation gain 3800', but the first 5 miles are easy. Depending on your ability this should be easy to reach the first day. On a weekday you may get a spot, but at this time of year I wouldn't count on it. You should be able to at least get a tentsite. I don't know if you can reserve a spot, but here's a link:
From there the trip to Zealand Falls Hut is only a few hours. It depends on your itinerary. If you want to hang out all day, then stop there. It may be full and without a reservation may be tough to get a spot. From Guyot to Zealand Falls Hut is 4.8 miles 600' elevation gain. If you continue on to Crawford Notch you may be able to get a room at the Highland Center. Reserve in advance. The trip would be 6.5 from the hut to Crawford Notch with about a 1300' of elevation gain. 11.3 miles, 1900' elevation gain on second day. It is feasible to make it to Nauman Tentsite the second day, depending on your ability. This would add another 2.6 miles and 1850' of elevation. Maybe too ambitious for a one day hike to have anything left the next day. But theoretically, this could be a 3 day, 2 night hike. From Crawford Notch it is 8.5 miles and 4750' to the summit of Washington. From there it is 4.2 miles down the Tuckerman Ravine Trail to Pinkham Notch. If you drop down to Dry River, it will add significant time and elevation gain to the trip.
These figures are for perfect weather. Don't expect it in October. It is a crapshoot. I've been on Washington in 64 degree weather in October, and I've been on Washington in six inches of snow in September. Expect the nights to be down in the thirties with the possibilities of 20's and snow, frost, sleet, freezing fog, who knows? In other words, be prepared for anything. Warm layers and waterproof boots and gear are a must. Camping gear is up to you. I'd definitely be prepared to spend the night in the woods, even if I had reservations at the huts. There is no camping allowed above treeline in the Whites unless you're on 2 feet of snowpack.
Other than that I can't add much. Good luck and for our shared information we always expect a full trip report with pictures.
Last edited by KD Talbot; 09-14-2007 at 11:20 AM.
Add a day at the beginning?
If you really are intending to use the shuttle, then you may need to start "one day farther west" than described by Keith. I don't think that the hiker shuttle stops at Lincoln Woods.
So, if you park at the Liberty Springs trailhead (or the Flume parking lot), you could go up Mt Liberty, then turn south and head over Mt Flume. To the summit of Mt Flume is 5.1 miles at about 3800 ft of elevation gain. Coming down off the south side of Flume on the Osseo trail, you would meet up with the Wilderness trail described as the starting point in Keith's description. From the summit of Mt Flume to the Wilderness trail is 4.1 miles, all downhill.
I'm not sure how this messes up the daily mileage, because you would be hard-pressed to make it to Guyot that night, but you can't camp along the Wilderness trail. You may want to spend the night on the Bondcliff trail, south of the summit. We've done that before and it was very nice.
Disclaimer: I've not hiked the Osseo trail before. Anyone who has, please chime in if this is not an acceptable route for some reason.
A big thanks!!
Great information from both of you. I'm thinking I'll make my decision of either doing this north or south bound when I get up there. If the weather is nice I'll start at Pinkham and get the hard part over first and hike down on he ridge to Nauman. Last year it was foggy on the ridgeline so maybe I'll get lucky this time.
If I do it southbound I'm thinking of starting at Lafayette Campground to have a safe place to leave my car. Two years ago someone smashed my window at the lot below Liberty Springs costing me two days to get it fixed.
Either way I'll do the Osseo Trail and the Flume Slide trail.
So, just how bad is the Flume Slide trail? I've heard on the pucker scale of 1 to 10 it was like a 7.
Flume Slide can be difficult, but certainly not impossible. Weather can be a factor as any accumulating moisture, rain or otherwise can make it slick and require more time. Rating it a 7 is a personal matter, we've not found it more difficult compared to other steeps in the Whites. Osseo is an enjoyable trail for ascent or descent. When ascending the real climbing doesn't start till the switchbacks. When descending from the summit of Flume its pitch is reasonable with some spots being quite mild till the wooden steps, after the steps till the switchbacks can be navigated quite easily, and once clear of switchbacks you can really cruise.
Thanks for the info FisherCat.
Finally did it....
I asked you some questions last year about this hike and when I arrived in NH the weather went to rain and fog...after being really nice for two weeks prior. I should have known what was coming.....anyway. I did hike up to Mt Flume from Lincoln Woods and then jumped in the car and drove home.
This year I made it back with my friend Bill (Cookerhiker). DebW joined us for the hike over MT Washington.
We started on 8-31 and finished on 9-3.
We went up on the Boott Trail at Pinkham Notch where we had 60 MPH winds soon after getting above treeline. This went on till we dropped off the ridge at Mizpah. I've been to the top of Mt Wash 3 times prior and never had any wind so this was a nice experience...did I say nice? And did I say in our face all day.
Picked up the Crawford Path at NOTC. Hiked down to Mizpah where we camped out at the campsite. Next morning it was back down to Crawford to the Highland Center where we went back to Carlson's in Twin City to spend the night and regroup.
Back the next morning at Highlands Center starting off on the Avalon/A-Z trail to Zealand Hut for some bowls of soup (good!). Then up the Twinway trail to Mt Guyot where we took the Bondcliff trail to Guyot Campsite for the night.
The next day it was over Mt Bond and Bondcliff then dropping down into the Pemi Wilderness and out at Lincoln Woods. I found out that I had a family emergency on top of Mt Bond and it so happened another hiker was there that offered to get me back to my car at Crawford. So we didn't go over Flume and Liberty this time.
Weather was fantastic except for the wind on Wash. Still have a big "0" for moose on my animals I've seen list. I did hear one around a small marsh opening on the A-Z trail. He was close but he didn't come out of the woods.
Here's ALOT of pics from the hike on Webshots.
Thanks for the advice earlier.
Great trip report and pictures! Must have been amazing to finally get to do this after the long wait and the preparation. Too bad you you got cut short at the end - but like you said, it was just this time. Thanks for sharing.
What a great collection of pictures. I especially like the following:
The frog family in the water
The one you labeled "artsy" (cairn sillouette)
sunset picture on the Presidentials
Lakes of the Clouds picture
the ridge picture at the bottom of page 9 of photo album (which trail is that?)
What a wonderful hike! It must have been thrilling. Thanks for posting your pix.
Thanks for the good words from both of you.
The shots at the bottom of page 9 is from Bond Mtn looking down on Bond Cliff.
Bond Cliff is one of those places I've been seeing these fantastic pictures of over the years so I was very glad to finally get there on a great day. I didn't find the best place for the summit shot until we were loaded back up and heading down the mtn.
But, we saw a lot in the 4 days we were out there. I'm already thinking about another route through the area for the next time.