- Driving Distance: 95 miles
- Skiing Distance: Approx 13 miles
- Difficulty Level: Strenuous
Skiing to the Zealand Falls Hut is one of the best beginner backcountry XC ski trips in the Whites. Though it is friendly to beginners to the backcountry, it is probably too intense for those who are beginners to skiing in general. To have a safe and fun time, make sure all you're trippees are comfortable cruising around the golf course where it's open before you take them back into the woods.
Take 91 North to 93 South. Get off at 10/302 East, and continue about ten miles to the Zealand Campground parking lot. Park here - your trailhead is on the other side of the road.
Close to Zealand Campground is Zealand Road, heading south from 302. This road is typically closed and unplowed in the winter, making it an ideal place to ski. This road is generally flat, but has some steepish bits that make it interesting (challenging, for beginners). Follow the road about five miles, until it ends at the Zealand Trailhead. From here, you're headed back into the woods, passing some lovely snowed over beaver ponds. In about 2.5 miles, you will reach the turnoffs for the falls and hut. It gets steep here, and most people will want to leave their skis behind. The falls are beautiful, and the hut is open in the winter, and makes a nice warm sheltered place to eat lunch. If you have some extra time, continue down the trail into to gorgeous Zealand Notch.
Five miles on the road plus two and a half to the hut makes for about a fifteen mile round-trip.
White Mountain Guide
Advice and Anecdotes
The Zealand Road is usually closed and unplowed, but some years it may be closed and plowed for logging reasons. If this happens, you'll need to ski the whole way in on a trail that parallels the road (not marked on WMG maps), which adds quite a bit to the time and backcountry ski chops required for this trip. You can check status here: http://www.fs.fed.us/r9/forests/white_mountain/conditions/roads_status.php, but it would be wise to call the forest service as well.