The Pemi Loop. The name alone brings a wistful smile to many a New England hiker’s face. Eight wide-open summits on the New Hampshire 48 list of 4,000+ footers—each offering spectacular views of the Pemigewasset Wilderness—plus four other “optional” 4,000+ peaks bagged via short side trails, help make The Loop an annual addiction for many.
Hiking in northern New England is no simple walk in the park. Consider that we’re also home to some of the finest micro-breweries in the business, and one has to wonder: What’s the point of all those rugged, root-tangled miles if the calories burnt aren’t immediately replenished by a pint of ale and good old pub grub?
At 281.4 miles, Maine accounts for only 13 percent of the 2,178.3-mile Appalachian Trail. Statistics, however, are for maps. Ask anyone who has completed the entire trail and they’ll likely tell you Maine is the toughest state of the 14 trail states.
If you’re looking to boldly hike where no explorer has gone before, this trail isn’t for you. On the contrary, Mt. Washington is a major New Hampshire tourist destination, and the Tuckerman Ravine Trail is the White Mountains’ version of hiking Disneyland. This isn’t to say you shouldn’t do it. Quite the opposite, in fact. Consider it required reading for hiking.
I’ve never considered myself afraid of heights. Cautiously reserved, perhaps. One could even say I have a strong sense of self-preservation. But downright chicken—who, me? I don’t know what you’re talking about. Katahdin, the crown jewel of Maine’s Baxter State Park, has a not-so funny way of testing this resolve.
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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