This page answers some questions on other "big hikes", the term "Death March" is often used to describe them.
A. In addition to the Presidential Traverse and Three Bonds in a Day there are several big hikes (15 or more miles with 4,000 or more feet of elevation gain) that are done with some regularity (the term Death March is often used for such hikes). I have listed a few, with some knowledge of the trails and a bit of imagination you can come up with many more!
- The entire Kinsman Ridge trail can be done from either end.
From Kinsman Notch to the Tramway (going over Mt Wolf, both
Kinsmans, the multiple Cannonballs and Cannon) it is 16.9 miles
with 5,900 feet of elevation gain (book time 11:25), the reverse
has about 150 feet less elevation gain.
- There are many ways of doing the Franconia Ridge, the one I
like best starts at Lincoln Woods and takes the Wilderness, Osseo,
Franconia Ridge and Skookumchuck trails (ow: 15.6 miles, 5,300
- There are several ways of combining Garfield Ridge with the
Twins, a (relatively) easy way is up the Garfield trail, along the
Garfield Ridge, up and down the Frost trail to Galehead, then up to
South Twin and out over North Twin and the North Twin trail (ow:
15.5 miles, 5,300 feet, 10:25). Going up the Skookumchuck trail
adds 2.0 miles and 1,200 feet, for a book time of 12:00.
- Long hikes to the summit of Mt. Washington from the South can
be done by the Davis Path (ow: 19.5 miles, 7,000 feet, 13:15) or
the Dry River trail (ow: 15.6 miles, 5,300 feet, 10:25), returning
by the Crawford path and Ammonoosuc ravine trail in both
- A variety of long hikes can be done in the
Great Gulf. Almost all of the trails
leading from the Great Gulf to the Presidential ridge are very
steep and strenuous, so these hikes are all much more strenuous
than the mileage and elevation gain would indicate.
The most straightforward is the Great Gulf trail from trailhead to the summit of Mt. Washington and back (rt: 15.8 miles, 5,000 feet, 10:25). Another possibility is to take the Great Gulf to the summit of Mt. Washington and return over the Northern Peaks (Jefferson, Adams and Madison) and descend by the Osgood trail (20.5 miles, 7,200 feet, 13:50). Countless other variations can be done, all long and strenuous.
- Finally, it is possible to do the whole Wildcat and Carter Moriah trails, starting at Pinkham Notch and ending in Gorham (ow: 17.7 miles, 7,100 feet, 12:25).
|Route||Distance||Elevation Gain||Book Time|
|Franconia Ridge, Osseo to Skookumchuck||15.6||5,300||10:25|
|Garfield Ridge and Twins, up by Garfield||15.5||5,300||10:25|
|Garfield Ridge and Twins, up by Skookumchuck||17.5||6,500||12:00|
|Mt. Washington by Davis Path||19.5||7,000||13:15|
|Mt. Washington by Dry River trail||15.6||5,300||10:25|
|Great Gulf round trip||15.8||5,000||10:25|
|Great Gulf and Northern Peaks||20.5||7,200||13:50|
|Wildcats and Carter-Moriah||17.7||7,100||12:25|
A. All of the above hikes can be done by a merely very fit hiker. The following three hikes are considerably more strenuous, and require exceptional athletic ability.
- Pemi Loop. This starts at Lincoln Woods, and takes the
Wilderness and Osseo trails to Franconia Ridge. Then it goes along
the Franconia and Garfield Ridges, up the Twinway over South Twin
to Guyot, then over the Bonds and back to Lincoln Woods by the
Wilderness trail (lp: 31.5 miles, 9,150 feet, 20:20). For those
interested in the loop (in either one or several days) check Pemi Loop
FAQ by a member of the VFTT community.
- 24 Hour Hut Traverse. Start at the Carter Notch Hut and go to
Lonesome Lake Hut passing all the huts along the way (Madison,
Lakes, Mizpah, Zealand, Galehead, Greenleaf). It is around 50 miles
and over 15,000 feet of elevation gain, the objective is to do it
in 24 hours (usually as one calendar day, starting at midnight and
finishing before midnight). It is not required to do the summits,
some people do them. In fact some people include Pinkham as a
"hut", and so leave Carter Notch by the Wildcat Ridge to Pinkham,
then on to Madison etc.
- Mahoosuc Traverse. The whole Mahoosuc trail, from Gorham to Old Speck, and down to Grafton Notch by the Old Speck trail (ow: 31.1 miles, 10.750 feet, 20:55). Though it seems comparable to the Pemi loop it is vastly more difficult, the Mahoosucs are very rugged, and it includes Mahoosuc Notch, described by many thru hikers as "the most difficult mile of the AT".