Summer on a Shoestring

Hiking the Whites!
April 3, 2013, 7:54 pm
Filed under: Recreation

By Kate Bussell

When we’re not working in the field, swimming in the Saco, or trying to cook dinner for 20+ people, everyone around here is out being active. On the weekends, that means dayhikes. One of my favorite things about living in Bartlett is that we are surrounded by too many great hikes to even conquer in one summer. This is an ongoing blog about great hikes that you must tackle while you’re here!

1. Mt. Washington via Tuckerman’s Ravine

Elevation: 6,288 ft.

Distance: 4.2 miles from Pinkham Notch to the summit via Tuckerman’s; 4.1 miles down from the summit via Lion’s Head trail

Vertical gain: 4,250 ft.

The day we hiked Mt. Washington we were lucky enough to have perfect weather. The mountain is known as “home of the world’s worst weather”, but our crew experienced plenty of sunshine and zero rain—which is super rare! The hike is strenuous, but totally worth it. The views from Lion’s Head are some of the best in the region. Views from the summit are limited since it’s generally cloudy up top.


This was a bizarre experience: everyone has to wait in line to get their picture taken with this sign due to all the people who get to the top by train or car.


Panoramic view from Lion’s Head.

2. Frankenstein Cliff/Arethusa Falls

Distance: 5 miles round trip via Arethusa Falls Trail, Arethusa-Ripley Falls Trail, and Frankenstein Cliff Trail

Vertical gain: 1400 ft.

This is a great moderate hike to do on a weekend. It’s only about 20 minutes from Bartlett and takes a few hours to hike. It offers some great views for less effort than Washington, but it’s still challenging enough to feel like you worked for it.


Arethusa Falls is the second tallest waterfall in New Hampshire.


Frankenstein Cliff

3. Zealand Falls

Distance: 2.8 miles each way via Zealand Trail

Vertical gain: 650ft.

This is another moderate hike that can be done in an afternoon. Zealand recreational area is actually quite a drive away from the White House, but it’s totally worth it. The hike offers views of Zealand pond, you can visit an Appalachian Mountain Club (AMC) Hut, and the view from the top of the falls is spectacular. This is definitely on the top of my list of hikes, but I’m biased because I was the leader of this expedition!


Zealand Pond. Unfortunately I didn’t get to see any beavers, just their dams!

4. Sabbaday Falls

Distance: .5 miles each way

Sabbaday falls is right off the Kancamagus Highway. It’s the easiest “hike” we’ve done. The waterfall is not a typical waterfall and is awesome to see. The day we went there were TONS of “poop butterflies” (so named because that’s what they eat).


5. Mt. Willard

Distance: 3.2 miles round-trip

Elevation gain: 900 ft.

This is a easy hike that I did by myself one day. It only takes a couple of hours, including drive time (depending on your pace—I went pretty quickly). Because this is an easy hike with spectacular views of Crawford Notch, there were quite a few people so I recommend going early. This is another hike that’s too easy and too pretty to not do while you’re here!


Closing remarks:

All of these pictures don’t do the views justice. Not only because a camera can’t capture the beauty like your eyes can, but because the view is ten times better when you’re sweaty and you’ve just busted your butt climbing a mountain. Also, it’s really cool to be able to look at Mt. Washington and say “I was up there!” All of these hikes can be found in the AMC Trail guide. Have fun and be careful!


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