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Presidential Traverse, NH

Presidential Traverse, NH

Pack List
Long Distance Legends

Twenty-three grueling miles on the historic New Hampshire trail

The Long Distance Legends Series features hikes that are famous for their beauty, but legendary for their difficulty. Considered one of the most challening day hikes in the country, the White Mountains' Presidential Traverse climbs nine of the famed summits on an epic 23 mile journey, with over 9000' of elevation gain alone.

We'll depart for New England early on Friday morning, arriving in time for a short hike to stretch our legs before settling into camp. Night one will be spent at camp on the north side of the Presidential Range, allowing us to begin our hike as early as possible the next day. After eating a hearty dinner, we'll head off to bed early to prepare for our journey.

Saturday morning, we'll wake up before dawn to begin our traverse attempt. We'll begin with four miles up to the ridge, knocking off almost 4000 feet in elevation gain in this first stretch alone. After a water fill at Madison Hut, we'll emerge above treeline, where we'll remain for most of the traverse. The exposed trail is beautiful, but subject the infamous and extreme conditions of the White Mountains. We'll continue up over Mount Madison (5367'), Mount Adams (5774'), Mount Jefferson (5712'), and Mount Clay (5533') before reaching the highest point on our traverse - and the highest in the northeast US - Mount Washington (6288'). The summit of Washington is a welcome site, with a full snack bar and our DO Van waiting to help you refuel. At this point, the hardest peaks are behind you, but there is still a long way to go.

The remaining peaks - Monroe (5384'), Franklin (5001'), Eisenhower (4780'), and Pierce (4310') - are accessed via short spur trails, each offering a unique view of the surrounding mountains, if conditions allow. The White Mountains are known to have the worst weather in the world, with extremely high winds and conditions that change rapidly.

Today's hike is designed to set you up for success - with plenty of water resupply points, a refuel and bail-out option on top of Washington, and the support of three DO Guides. You'll be able to travel light and move fast and will be encouraged to hike at your optimal pace. Safety will be our number one priority, though, and if we feel conditions are not optimal, an early descent is always a possibility.

A full day of peak bagging behind you, you'll be transported to Shapleight Bunkhouse - a full service lodge with showers, plenty of food, and comfortable beds. You'll sleep well tonight, dreaming of your time in the clouds. You'll be able to sleep in Sunday before our departure for New York. After a few brief stops, including time for lunch on the road, we'll arrive back in New York by 8:00 PM.

Please note, tents and sleeping bags are required. These can be rented for an additional charge during purchase.


This trip is for experienced hikers and fit individuals only. When sign ups open, you'll be asked to complete a short application before purchasing your spot on the expedition. Your safety is our number one consideration and any individual who does not have appropriate preparation may not be approved.


Meet your DO Guide at 
The North Face on West 73rd St and Broadway at 6:45 AM.
We will depart promptly at 7:00 AM and arrive at the campground in the afternoon.
Afternoon hike (approx 1-2 miles).

Attempt Presidential Traverse
Spend night at Joe Dodge Lodge

Return to New York City by 8:00 PM.


Total Trail Miles: 23
Total Elevation Change: 18,000 Feet


Roundtrip transportation from New York City
Professional guiding & support team
Meals from Dinner Friday through Breakfast Sunday
One night at camp
One night at Shapleigh Bunkhouse
Additional food and water resupply on trail

Photos by Michael Domanic and Phil Blair

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Night one will be spent at a campground near our trailhead to allow for as early a start as possible. If you don't have your own backpacking tent, one can be rented for $60. Meals here are prepared by your DO guides and you'll enjoy some time around the fire before you settle into bed.  Night two will be spent enjoying the comforts of Shapleigh Bunkhouse at the Highland Center. We'll stay in shared bunk rooms, with mattresses and linens provided. The lodge has showers for guests and plenty of games to enjoy as you wind down from your hike. Meals are served on site and can account for any dietary restrictions.


Pack List

  • Comfortable, athletic clothing
  • Hiking boots with light wool socks or supportive trail runners
  • Layers are recommended to account for changing conditions
  • Rain Jacket
  • Hat
  • Sunglasses
  • Tent for night one (can be rented for additional fee)
  • Sleeping bag (can be rented for additional fee)
  • Sleeping pad (can be rented for additional fee)
  • Headlamp or flashlight
  • Day pack or hydration pack / vest
  • Basic first aid kit (band-aids, moleskin, etc)
  • Camp mess kit (bowl, mug, and utensil)
  • Sunscreen
  • Sunglasses
  • Bug spray
  • Warm clothes for evenings at camp
  • Comfortable camp shoes
  • Camelbak bladder or water bottles (3 L capacity)
  • Toiletries
  • Additional snacks
  • Camera
  • Money for meals on the road Friday and Sunday

Long Distance Legends

Our very own backyard, the Northeastern US, is home to three of the toughest, most grueling day hikes in the entire country. The hikes that make up this triple crown -- The Great Range, The Devil's Path, and The Presidential Traverse -- are famous for their beauty, but they're legendary for their difficulty.

This summer, we present our first ever Long Distance Legends Series. Our goal is to help you complete these three epic traverses as single-day hikes and, in doing so, become a legend yourself. To those that complete the trifecta, you'll head home with an official DO Legends Hatchet.

Marathon distances, relentless elevation change, and unpredictable elements are just a few of the challenges that you'll face on your quest for glory. But, with a support crew of DO guides and optimal planning of resupply points, you'll be set up for success.