Presidential TraverseTwenty-three grueling miles on the historic New Hampshire trail

Upper West Side
Upper West Side
Broadway and West 76th Street

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About the trip

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 Mountain's Presidential Traverse climbs nine of the famed summits on an epic 21 mile journey, with over 9000' of elevation gain alone.

We'll depart for New England early on Saturday 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.

Sunday 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 remaine for most of the traverse. 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 REI 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 REI 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 Joe Dodge Lodge - 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 7:00 PM.

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Level 10/10
Upper West SideBroadway and West 76th Street

Trip Details


    • Your Discover Outdoors guide will meet you on the Upper West Side at the southeast corner of West 76th St and Broadway at 8:45 AM. We will depart promptly at 9:00 AM and arrive at the campground in the afternoon.  Subways 1, 2, 3 to 72nd Street.
    • Afternoon hike (approx 1-2 miles).

    • Attempt Presidential Traverse
    • Spend night at Joe Dodge Lodge

    • Return to New York City by 7:00 PM.

    • ​This trip is rated a 9 out of 10 (extremely difficult) and is for fit individuals and experienced hikers only

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

    • Roundtrip transportation from New York City
    • Professional guiding & support team
    • Meals from Dinner Saturday through Breakfast Monday
    • One night at camp
    • One night at Joe Dodge Lodge
    • Additional food and water resupply on trail


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 Joe Dodge Lodge. 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
  • Towel (if showering)
  • Additional snacks
  • Camera
  • Money for meals on the road Friday and Sunday