Let’s see if this makes sense: there’s no truly difficult part of climbing Bondcliff in New Hampshire’s White Mountains and the Pemigewasset Wilderness. The first 50 percent of the hike covering the Lincoln Woods Trail and Wilderness Trail is all flat, heavily traveled ground. Yes, there are a few steep sections on the Bondcliff Trail—show me a 4,000-foot mountain in the Northeast that doesn’t have some serious ups—but even these are quite forgiving by White Mountains’ standards.
Hikers are able to reach the Saddleback Mountain summit, elevation 4,120 feet, in winter via the Saddleback Maine ski resort. Continue along the Appalachian Trail to The Horn, 4,041 feet, for a challenging 7-mile hike.
It was nine degrees in the Lafayette Place parking lot and the car was getting blasted by wind. At a little past seven on a February morning, I had a good mind to retreat home to the warmth of my down comforter. Fortunately, common sense was in short supply.
You can’t sleep. You toss. You turn. Visions of the “world’s worst weather” pummel the sugar plum fairies trying to dance through your head. Bitter cold. Biting winds. Fickly visibility. Winter hiking Mt. Washington—New England’s highest peak at 6,288 feet—is all fun and games with the added disclaimer of avalanche danger.
The White Mountain Guide describes Lowe’s Path as the “easiest way to climb Mt. Adams.” There’s an important distinction to be made here: easiest doesn’t exactly equate easy, especially in the winter. The 4.7-mile climb to New England’s second highest peak, 5,799 feet, will beat your legs into submission like a drill sergeant at boot camp. Don’t worry, though, it’s jolly good fun. And the rewarding views of neighboring Mt. Jefferson, Mt. Madison, and big brother Mt. Washington will quickly cleanse any residue of a pre-dawn rise and shine.
Northeast Hikes is on the hunt for the best New England hiking in Maine and New Hampshire, from Katahdin to Mt. Washington and everything in between. Appalachian Trail hikers past, present and future are invited to follow along with the Maine and New Hampshire section hiking blogs.
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