Pemi Loop / Great Circle

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Driving Directions

The Pemi Loop (also called the Great Circle) is a strenuous but amazing hiking around the center lobe of the Pemigewasset Wilderness. It a 32.5 mile (34.5 mile with West Bond and Galehead Spur Trails) hike with almost 11,000 ft of elevation gain, mostly along ridgeline. It covers 12 mountain summits, including ten 4000+ftrs (Bondcliffs, Bond, West Bond, South Twin, Galehead, Garfield, Lafayette, Lincoln, Liberty and Flume). All the summits are open with the exception of Galehead and have incredible views of nearly all of the White Mountain National Forest. South Twin and Franconia Ridge are particularly impressive.

Driving Directions

60 miles, 1.5 hrs Short - Drive as if you were going to the lodge or Ritchie Smith, then continue on Rt.112 (The Kancamagus) through Lincoln, NH to the Lincoln Woods Trailhead. Long - Look at a map - it's worth memorizing how to get to Lincoln, NH and the Lincoln Woods Trailhead since a vast majority of hikes start here.

Hiking Directions

Day 1 - 4.7 miles, 1.5 hrs Lincoln Woods Trail, passing Franconia falls at (2.9 miles). Continue on the wilderness trail for another 1.8 miles to the bottom of the Bondcliff trail. There is a great wilderness campsite off in the woods to the right, near the river, that is used by DOC trip 57 on their second night out.

Day 2 - 12.5 miles (+1 mile for West Bond Spur Trail and +1 mile for Galehead Spur Trail, 14.5 miles), 10.5 hrs Hike up the Bondcliff trail to the Bondcliffs (4.4 miles), then to Mt.Bond(1.2 miles), then down to the west bond spur (0.5 miles). From there it is 0.8 miles to Twinway. Take Twinway 2.0 miles to the summit of south twin, then 0.8 miles down to Galehead hut/Galehead spur trail. Take the Garfield Ridge Trail 2.7 miles to Garfield campsite.

Day 3 - 14.5 miles, 10.5 hrs Take the Garfield Ridge Trail to the summit of Mt.Garfield (0.4 miles), then continue on the trail to the summit of Lafayette (3.5 miles). Your last water source until halfway down the Osseo Trail will be Garfield Pond, a short ways after Mt. Garfield. There are several false summits on Lafayette and often high winds. Continue on the Franconia Ridge Trail to Mt. Lincoln (1 mile) and Little Haystack (0.7 miles), then on to Mt.Liberty (2.1 miles) and Mt.Flume (1.1 miles). Then after 0.1 miles, take the Osseo trail down to Lincoln Woods (4.1 miles) and then out to Lincoln Woods Trailhead (1.4 miles).

Trip Blurb

FRIDAY SATURDAY SUNDAY Event: Great Circle Hike (cue Lion King) Time: Friday 2pm to Sunday evening Cost: $23 for DOC members, $28 for muggles Difficulty: difficult/appropriately intense for such beauty SO WHAT IS THIS GLORIOUS ADVENTURE OF WHICH YOU SPEAK!?? This is an epic 35 mile weekend backpacking trip that will summit twelve 4,000ft + peaks. We will frolic among the mountains, laugh in good company, glow with the golden splendor that is fall, and spend our nights in tents, cozy in our sleeping bags. This trip is actually going to be the greatest thing ever... so you should... Blitz Melinda Tascarella with your student ID # & dietary restrictions to sign up!


Trip Reports

11F (10/7/11-10/9/11)- (Matt Dahlhausen'11(leader), Melinda Tascarella'14(leader), Sam Kernan'14, Jeremy Brouillet'13, Elizabeth ("Betsy") Winkle'15) Alas! What an amazing trip with perfect weather, good company and just past peak fall foliage too. Highlights from the trip were the view from the top of South Twin, catching the sunrise on Mt. Garfield as it rose above the Presidential range and light poured onto Franconia Ridge (well worth it, and only 0.4 miles from the campsite!), hiking with carrots dangled on hiking poles in front of us to the great amusement of the throngs of people on Franc Ridge, then having a kid ask us: "are you trying to catch bunnies?", getting the reaction of "Holy Crap" in a british accent from a passing hiker, and singing heartily on the garfield ridge trail as we finished off our day. The food and food conversation were equally as epic, with dinners of couscous and veges, brown rice with lentils, and flatbread feasts for lunch. We recommend packing light (we carried just enough clothes, and a lightweight tarp for sleeping), and being ready for the temperature (some of us got a bit cold in 20F sleeping bags when it dropped down to 36F the first night). Be cautious of taking breaks and break time, especially towards the end of the day when your muscles are likely to cool down and realize what you're doing to them. We averaged 1.5 mph at a moderate-strenuous pace, definitely faster than most DOC trips. Keeping group size small helps too - we had 5, could've been ok with 6, but any more than that is likely to slow the group down. The weather helped enormously - no chance of rain, 75F and sunny on both days. The trip would've been slower and more strenuous in rain. In all, a great trip and one worth repeating.