Many hikers have done the well known Franconia Ridge loop, going up the Falling Waters trail to Little Haystack, across the ridge over Lincoln to Lafayette, and down by the Greenleaf and Old Bridle Path trails. It is a moderately demanding hike of about 9 miles and 3,900 feet of elevation gain, with great views along the ridge (when the weather cooperates!) as the reward. Here are six less well known intermediate trips in the White Mountains with great rewards. All are around ten miles with about 3,000 feet of elevation gain, and none has any really sustained very steep section. Please note that ten miles and 3,000 feet of elevation gain make these solid intermediate climbs!

Mt. Flume by the Wilderness and Osseo trails (11.2 miles, 3,150 feet). This trail is much less steep (hence longer) than the better known approaches from Franconia Notch, with the first few miles through beautiful open hardwoods. From the summit you get great views into the Pemi, to the Kinsmans and Moosilauke, and to the south.

Mt. Garfield by the Mt. Garfield trail (10.0 miles, 3,000 feet). Another trail with moderate grades and good footing until the final steep and rough 0.2 miles. You get excellent views into the Pemi Wilderness from its northern rim, as well as views of the Presidentials beyond.

Mt. Carrigain by the Signal Ridge trail (10 miles, 3,250 feet). While Mts. Flume and Garfield are on the rim of the Pemi, Mt. Carrigain is in its heart. Thanks to the Sawyer River road it is possible to drive into the forest for two miles, making this a reasonable trip. There are good views from the Signal Ridge, then the trail enters the trees again, to emerge at the summit. There are partial views from the summit, but fortunately the fire tower is still there, and it affords unobstructed views in all directions. The Presidentials are much closer than they were on the two previous summits.

Mts. Eisenhower and Pierce by Edmands and Crawford Paths (8.1 miles, 3,100 feet). Both have easy grades and good footing, this is the easiest way to enjoy the Presidentials above treeline. Two cars are needed to do it as a loop, with only one car you should do a round trip up Crawford's Path to Mt. Eisenhower and back (9.6 miles, 3,350 feet).

Carter Dome and Mt. Hight by the Nineteen Mile Brook, Carter Dome and Carter-Moriah trails (10.2 miles, 3,500 feet). Most of this trip is on easy grades, but there is a steep and rough section (0.6 miles, 800 feet) between Zeta Pass and Mt. Hight. As a reward you get the best views to be found on the Carter-Moriah trail, with a close view of the Presidentials to the west, and the lower mountains on both sides on Evans Notch to the East.

Mt. Moriah by the Carter-Moriah trail (9.0 miles, 3,400 feet). This is again a gentle trail, with great views of the northern Presidential giants, Madison and Adams, just across Rt. 16. In late summer there are incredible blueberry patches on the ledges.

Distances and Elevation Gains for Moderate Fours
Summit(s) Route Distance Elevation Gain Book Time
Mts. Lincoln and Lafayette Falling Waters, Franconia Ridge, Old Bridle Path 8.9 3,900 6:25
Mt. Flume Wilderness and Osseo trails 11.2 3,150 7:10
Mt. Garfield Garfield trail 10.0 3,000 6:30
Mt. Carrigain Signal Ridge 10.0 3,250 6:40
Mts. Eisenhower and Pierce Edmands and Crawford Paths 8.1 3,100 5:35
Carter Dome and Mt, Height Carter Dome, Carter-Moriah and 19 Mile Brook trails 10.2 3,500 6:55
Mt. Moriah Carter-Moriah trail 9.0 3,400 6:10

Comments or Suggestions? Do you have any comments, or do you wish to suggest other similar hikes? That is what the Peakbagging Forum is for!

This is adapted from an article I wrote for the July 2001 issue of the Charles River Mud, the newsletter of the Boston Chapter of the AMC. I thank the Editor of the Mud and the Chair of the Boston Chapter for permission to use it here.