One of the most challenging day hikes in New England is the Presidential Traverse, a gargantuan ramble over all the major peaks of the Presidential Range in the White Mountains of New Hampshire.
Tackling the hike means anywhere from 12 to 20 hours on your feet for some 19 to 23 miles while you gain about 9,000 feet of elevation.
A proper traverse climbs all seven summits in the range that are named for U.S. presidents: Madison, Adams, Jefferson, Monroe, Washington, Eisenhower and Pierce. The first four reach heights exceeding 5,000 feet, while the latter two are over 4,000 feet. Mount Washington tops out at 6,288 feet, the highest mountain in the northeastern U.S.
Go crazy a little by adding a few miles and some more climbing over Mount Jackson and Mount Webster, following the AT right out to US 302.
No matter, it’s a monster day. Are you ready for the big hike?
Get the goods on this wild day hike across the rooftop of New England in my latest outdoors column in the Maine Sunday Telegram: “Presidential Traverse hike is thrilling, but be prepared.”
And as my friend and fellow hiking fanatic Philip Werner says: “There is no shame in not doing the traverse in one day. It also makes a fantastic backpacking trip.”
That said, if you choose the easy, and perhaps more sane, route, check with the AMC for high hut info and reservations. It’ll cost you a few bucks but it’s worthwhile and a great experience.