WHITE MOUNTAINS, New Hampshire ??вЂќ In celebration of the seventy-fifth anniversary of Greenleaf Hut in 2005, the AMC is making it even easier this summer for families to get a taste of mountain adventure and hospitality with a special AMC Huts Family Experience Package for first-time hut guests. Steeped in over 100 years of tradition, the AMC’s unique network of eight mountain huts, all a day’s hike apart, stretches 56 miles along the Appalachian Trail through the White Mountain National Forest in New Hampshire.
AMC Huts provide a range of “big mountain” adventures and activities for families with children of all ages and ability levels, from a child’s first hiking trip to teenagers with years of experience under their belts. AMC Huts are also popular with families who want to spend the night in the backcountry without having to carry heavy backpacks, cooking gear, food, sleeping bags, and tents. All full-service huts offer clean, comfortable bunkroom accommodations; friendly, knowledgeable hut crews; home-cooked breakfasts and dinners; and naturalist programs. Full-service season begins June 1 and runs until late September or into October, depending on location.
The AMC Huts Family Experience Package offers up to 27% off standard rates for families staying overnight Sunday through Thursday at any AMC full-service hut. Rates start at $210/night for a family of four ($190/night for members) and include lodging, dinner, breakfast, naturalist activities, and Junior Naturalist patch, plus a discount on books, maps, clothing, and last-minute items at the Highland Center or Pinkham Notch Visitor Center. A 10% discount is offered for hut guests who add a night to their hut visit by staying at the Highland Center or Joe Dodge Lodge.
Spend the day hiking with the family and arrive at one of the AMC’s full-service huts welcomed by an all-you-can-eat dinner of freshly baked bread, salad, soup, entr?В©e, side dishes, and dessert. Served family-style, dinner is a time for swapping stories about the day’s hike and camaraderie among adults and kids. Following dinner, grab a natural history guide or nature writings from the hut library and retreat to the porch for a spectacular mountain sunset.
Families can also participate in a naturalist program led by resident and volunteer naturalists and learn about low-impact hiking, local flora and fauna, and White Mountains history. Children ages four to twelve can earn their Junior Naturalist patch by demonstrating what they have observed around the huts and through educational displays in the library. Families will also have an opportunity to participate this summer in AMC’s Mountain Watch “citizen-science” program, which provides a hands-on opportunity to take measurements and observations of factors that impact air quality and climate change. In the morning over breakfast, the hut crew offers safety tips and the latest weather forecast.
Many families with younger kids looking for shorter, easier hikes with moderate elevation gain start with Lonesome Lake or Zealand Falls Huts.
Nestled against the flank of New Hampshire’s Cannon Mountain at 2,760 feet, Lonesome Lake Hut offers the shortest hiking distance from the trailhead at just under two miles and rewards families with a spectacular view of the Franconia Range across a clear mountain lake. Zealand Falls Hut, located in Zealand Notch, sits at 2,700 feet next to beautiful Zealand Falls with outstanding views of varied ecosystems and abundant wildlife. The three-mile approach most suitable for younger families follows an old railroad grade.
Older families will find more rugged, challenging terrain at Greenleaf, Mizpah Spring, and Galehead Huts, all higher elevation huts that sit below treeline and afford great views with less exposure to weather.
Centrally located near Franconia Ridge, Greenleaf Hut is perched at treeline on the shoulder of Mount Lafayette at 4,200 feet, providing spectacular views of the Franconia Range and memorable sunsets over the notch. Mizpah Spring Hut is located at 3,800 feet, just off the historic Crawford Path on Mount Clinton above scenic Crawford Notch. The most remote hut in the chain, Galehead Hut, is located at 3,800 feet and offers spectacular views of the Pemigewasset Wilderness Area.
The AMC’s frontcountry lodges in the White Mountains, the Highland Center in Crawford Notch and Joe Dodge Lodge in Pinkham Notch, are excellent, easily accessible base camps for families who want to enjoy all that the White Mountains have to offer before or after their backcountry hut adventure. All-inclusive stays offer a range of amenities, including lodging, dinner, and breakfast.
AMC Huts are located along the Appalachian Trail in the White Mountain National Forest, NH off I-93, Route 302, and Route 16. The Highland Center in Crawford Notch is located in Bretton Woods, NH on Route 302, ten miles east of Twin Mountain. The Pinkham Notch Visitor Center and Joe Dodge Lodge are on Route 16, 18 miles north of North Conway, NH, and 10 miles south of Gorham, NH.
Reservations and rates: The one-night, introductory rate for a family of four is $210 per night for non-members and $190 per night for AMC members. This rate includes lodging, family-style dinner and breakfast, activities, Junior Naturalist booklet and patch, 10% discount coupon for books and merchandise, and additional 10% add-a-night discount at Joe Dodge or the Highland Center. Limited availability offer applies Sunday through Thursday, excluding holidays, during the full-service season from June 1 until early to mid-fall. Family child rates apply to ages 15 and under. At least one child must accompany party. Up to two adults per party. Offer does not include Carter Notch Hut, which operates as a self-service destination year round.
For more information or to make reservations, visit www.outdoors.org/lodging/huts/amc-huts-family-experience-package.cfm or call (603) 466-2727.