New England High

North Conway, New Hampshire

Jan 4, 2006
Outside Magazine
North Conway, New Hampshire

Room With a View: AMC's Lakes of the Cloud hut    Photo: courtesy, Appalachian Mountain Club

The Inside 5

Alpinist and Jackson, New Hampshire, native Mark Synnott, 36, calls the White Mountains "the Banff of the East" and raves about: 1. Revving up at Morning Dew Espresso, on Main Street in North Conway. 2. Warming up his legs on the seven-mile loop run on the wooded Bog Brook Trail, in Jackson. 3. Canoeing the flatwater Saco River, camping on sandbars, and studying views of his next ascents. 4. Splurging on a heated-stone massage at the Inn at Thorn Hill, in Jackson. 5. Walking out his front door and through the woods to grab a Bud at his favorite bar, the Shannon Door, in Jackson.

White Mountains Classic: With 100 years' experience operating huts in the Whites, the Appalachian Mountain Club has perfected the art of wilderness hospitality. Hike a 22-mile stretch of the Appalachian Trail from Pinkham Notch to Crawford Notch, staying in three huts along the way: Madison Spring, Lakes of the Clouds, and Mizpah Spring. You'll traverse the largest chunk of alpine tundra in the East, and numerous peaks, including Mounts Adams, Jefferson, Washington, Monroe, and Franklin. Huts are rustic, but meals feature fresh bread, homemade soups, and entrées like marinated beef tips. 603-466-2727
Get Wet: Less than a mile south of Pinkham Notch, the smallest cliff jump at Glen Ellis Falls is 20 feet of pure aria. For something tamer, put on your oldest trunks and slide down Franconia Falls' granite cascades, an hour's hike off the Kancamagus Scenic Byway.
Sport Central: Rumney, about 50 miles southwest of North Conway, has more than 400 hold-riddled mica-schist sport-climbing routes from 5.4 to 5.14. For longer traditional climbs, like the classic four-pitch 5.6 Thin Air, head to Cathedral and White Horse ledges, outside North Conway. Synnott Mountain Guides, 603-383-6976
Fleet Feet: Local trail runners are partial to the 32-mile Pemi Loop, in the Pemigewasset Wilderness; for shorter options, try the three-mile Lincoln Woods Trail, which connects to paths through oak, maple, and beech forests.
Go Fat: Moat Mountain's 25-mile mountain-bike network has everything from logging roads to ridge-tracing singletrack. Overnight at the Forest Service's Covered Bridge Campground, ten minutes away. 304-465-0508

The AMC's Highland Center, at Crawford Notch, is one rung cushier than its huts, offering family-style meals, a fully stocked gear room, and easy access to the Whites' best hikes. Doubles from $135; 603-466-2727
For beer that flows as freely as the smoked barbecue, head to Moat Mountain Smoke House and Brewing Co., a climbers' hangout in North Conway. 603-356-6381
Or spruce up for Sunset Hill House, in Sugar Hill, where you can dine on maple-glazed salmon with caviar while watching the sun set over the Whites. 800-786-4455