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Pemigewasset Wilderness - Hancock Campground


The Pemigewasset Wilderness is 45,000 acres in the White Mountain National Forest. Within this wilderness are forty-eight 4,000 foot summits. The Pemi Loop links three mountain ranges—Franconia, Twin, Bond—to take you around the western half of the Pemi Wilderness. And the Loop will take you over eight of those forty-eight 4,000 footers—Flume, Liberty, Lincoln, Lafayette, Garfield, South Twin, Bond, Bondcliff—with the option to take spur trails to cover four more—Galehead, North Twin, Zealand, West Bond. The Pemi loop is considered one of the hardest hikes in the U.S., covering 31.5 miles and gaining a total elevation of almost 10,000 feet. This 20+ hour hike is often split into 2-3 days. However, trail runners have completed it in under 7 hours!


The Pemi Loop starts by the Lincoln Woods Visitor Center where you can park for $3/day. However, if you want a place to stay nearby, there is the Hancock Campground just a half mile down the road. It’s $24/night and an additional $5 for a second vehicle. They do not take reservations; it’s first come, first serve. There are no showers, but there is a bathroom with flushing toilets and running water. The campground is cash only, so be prepared!


If you decide to make it a 2-3 day hike, there are four overnight options: Liberty Springs Tentsite, Garfield Ridge Shelter, Galehead Hut, Guyot Shelter/Tentsite. Liberty Springs Tentsite, Garfield Shelter, and Guyot Campsite are about $10/night and are first come, first serve. Galehead Hut is about $113/night and must be reserved, but they do offer a delicious dinner and hearty breakfast!


The small town of Lincoln is about 10 minutes down the road with a shopping center that has a grocery store and a bank. A nice place to get any supplies/food/cash you may have forgotten. Also, just on the edge of town is the best little café, Half Baked & Fully Brewed. You MUST stop there. Trust me.


If you do decide to visit the Pemi Wilderness and undertake the challenge of the Pemi Loop, let me know how it goes!