Explore the most popular forest trails in Pemigewassett Wilderness with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

Super fun and my Australian cattle dog had a lot of fun too. Pretty steep after you go past the hut but it’s well worth the view.

For a 50+ hiker, 4 days, 3 nights was perfect. Hammock camping made it even better! Liberty Spring, Garfield, and Guyot Tentsites all had good trees to hang from. At Guyot, we would of had to go an overflow spot had we not had hammocks. We set up right next to the shelter per the caretakers instructions on a steep slope. I had to "daisy chain" a couple of 4" trees with straps to get good support. On the trail there were great people with great stories and quite a few AT through hikers. Watching for the Pemi-Loop trail runners as they breezed by us on our third day with the realization they had come from the Lincoln Woods parking lot that morning was quite humbling.
The most challenging part of the trail was the Twinway which just goes up,up, up. Breaking out at the summit is a great emotional relief rewarded with a 360 degree view. Spectacular hike! I hope to do it again someday. Hi to Chuck and Jay from CT from the guy with a twisted ankle :-)

8 days ago

like others have said, over 18. Maybe closer to 17 if you do the bushwhack. I enjoyed this hike. Weather was calm. No buggs. water crossings were managable. Brook was nice to follow. Scramble up produced some great views. Meet some nice people. Definitely hard going down after the long hike in and walk out seemed to drag a bit but that was it. I wont be running back to this one but im glad for the experience

20 days ago

Firstly? 17.2 miles? Bullocks. When I got back to the trailhead, I had 19.6 on MapMyRun (which is usually pretty on the money in terms of GPS tracking).

That being said, Owls Head is NOT THE WORST THING IN THE WORLD. You just have to readjust your expectations. Think of it like a really (really) long riverwalk (and cross), followed by a slightly treacherous rock climb. If you think of it as a hike with all the usual hike accouterments , you're going to be disappointed.

Things to consider: the cairn to get to the slide is tiny and you can easily miss it. There's a bear warning sign now, which makes it a little easier to spot. The slide itself is easy enough to follow up (to scramble? Eh, depends on your skill level), but I found myself getting really confused on the descent. A little hair raising, especially when you remember you're in the middle of the Pemi wilderness.

That being said, it's really cool to be in the heart of the Pemi wilderness. The view of Fraconia Ridge from the slide is breath-taking and makes up for the lack of views at the summit. And the riverwalk portion is very meditative. So, yes, you'll probably only do this if you're getting your NH48 et al, but it's not the chore everyone makes it out to be.

nice moderate hike. Really cool going up to the hut and the falls. otherwise, with the exception of the cliff, it's just a nondescript hike up to the wooded summit. about six hours round-trip incl a few stops.

29 days ago

A hell of a hike. Don't do what I did and cross the rivers during high waters (we had tons of rain that week). Take the Black Pond Bushwack to bypass the river crossings! I didn’t find out this alternative route existed until I was on my way back down the mountain.

Honestly not as bad as most peak-baggers say. Difficulty comes from the length (and maybe the last mile scramble up to the summit). Would be a beautiful hike on a nice day.

8-25-18. Great day to be out on this hike. Non stop views that took my breath away.

Sprained my ankle halfway and still had a phenomenal day.

Excellent views even in the rain. Difficult hike, but well worth it.

Very easy up to the hut but after that it was a bit difficult to the peak. No view at the peak so if you're looking for a pretty semi difficult hike i would try something else.

Went in the fall, so beautiful. Had soup up in the hut. Definitely recommend this hike!

Fun hike! Usually wooded summits aren’t particularly exciting but the trail itself is so beautiful that I didn’t mind hiking into the middle of the woods to turn around and go back. The huts are always a treat, too. My favorite part was the blueberry bushes on the top between Zeacliff and the summit.

Total trip including breaks took me 5 hours and 35 mins. The first 2.8 to the hut is very flat and took me 1 hour on the way up and 35 mins on the way back (I ran). The trail from the hut to the cliff (1.2) is the most difficult part of the hike and took me 1 hour up and 45 min down. It flattens out again to the summit and that 1.6 took me 1 hour there and 45 min back.

I was skeptical about the easy rating but this really was an easy hike.

1 month ago

We came from the north on the Lincoln woods trail which if you get the chance to do is very cool being in the middle of the Pemigewasset Wilderness. The hike up Owl's Head was a lot of fun! The steep ascent on the slide is tricky and tiring but makes for a very exciting climb. The true summit has a small cairn to mark it so after the steep up you have to do some flat walking before reaching the top. The river crossings were a bit challenging but manageable in relatively low water. :)

We did it in 2 days, 53km (we went the wrong way for 5km ). Very nice hike but not that easy as we did a lot of km each day. Views on the 7 summits are breathtaking. Don’t worry for the water, there’s a lot of place to refill all the way to Galehead Shelter. Make sure to have enough water at this point because the next water supply is on the way down. So you must have at least 2L from galehead to the end of the hike ( if you do it in 2 days ). Many campsite are available all the way. Make sure to not have to much weight in your backpack and hike sticks. For the rest, you must be in shape to do this trail. Definitely recommend.

Hike starts off easy but long, once you get to the hut you are able to cool off in the falls. Pretty strenuous hike up to the outlook but has a nice view. I don’t recommend going to Zealand summit unless your completing the 48 4K mountains, it’s a long boring hike with absolutely no view.

1 month ago

Finally did the commonly dreaded Owl's Head. While it did live up to its name of being a least favorite, it wasn't completely terrible. Would I do it again? Probably not. The water crossings were fun, the water level was high enough to not completely rock hop through. We didn't stay long at the summit thanks to mass amount of flies. The rock slide was challenging both ways but doable especially in dry conditions which we were fortunate enough to experience.

1 month ago

This was NH 4K footer summit number 47 for me. For the most part I really enjoyed it. You definitely see fewer people during the late stages of this very long trail than most of the other 4Kers. So if you're looking for peace and serenity, you'll get it here. I hiked on 07/29/2018 and here are some very important things of note if you're thinking of doing Owl's Head soon: About 1 mile and 1.5 miles into Lincoln Brook Trail, there are big river crossings that DO NOT have obvious dry ways across. I searched up and down river for 15-20 minutes looking for rock steps to no avail so eventually I just decided to wade across with my hiking shoes on. The water came up about thigh-high. Obviously my shoes got drenched but having wet feet and shoes for the remainder of the hike in warm weather seemed less risky than attempting to leap from rocks that were simply too far apart for comfort. Or wading across barefoot. So just be prepared for this. It's far enough into the hike you won't want to turn back, esp. if you're attempting to check off all 48 4Kers. Other than that, yes the last mile is brutal. Just brutal. Very steep grade along loose, wet rocks and mud. Silver lining is that about a third of the way into this last mile, you do get some amazing views. I altered my "beer at the summit" routine and had one at this spot on the way down after reaching the summit. Be prepared and have fun!

The highlighted trail below is basically the entire route to Owls Head excluding the actual summit push (slide and bushwhack). It’s a cool trail that gives you a chance to experience deep wilderness and a very lightly trafficked path. Although unless you’re doing Owls Head or continuing all the way to Galehead, it’s not worth the mileage. There are no blazes or bridges beyond Franconia Falls, so picking up the trail after river crossings can be tricky. Lincoln Brook crisscrosses the river several times, two of which are big crossings. These can be difficult in high water.

Easy hike to the hut with a lot of wildlife and flowers. The trail to the peak was a little harder with some cools view.

2 months ago

One of the most difficult and most interesting adventures I’ve done in the Whites. I decided to tackle this peak is part of my NE Hundred Highest, and from what I heard it was going to be suffer fest. I found it wasn’t as bad or unrewarding as I was told it would be. You begin with Lincoln Woods, which is very wide and pretty well trafficked, with plenty of signage. After the split for Franconia Falls, there is a big bridge into the wilderness. From here there are no bridges, no blazes and no trace of humans aside from the trail. You have to negotiate many river crossings, most of which would be very difficult in high water. As of 7/19/2018 the water is quite low and you can easily rock hop. The path is very lightly trafficked and very peaceful. The beginning of the Owls Head slide has almost no indicators aside from a small “fence” made from trees. I’d suggest using the AllTrails tracker. The slide climbs very steeply up loose rock before connecting to the obvious herd path. The slide has great views of Franconia Ridge. There is no official trail to the summit but the route is very obvious, there’s one clearing where the summit was previously thought to be, continue past this clearing to the left to the true summit, which has a clearing and a cairn as well as a large fallen tree. From there, go back the way you came. If you don’t want to go down the slide, you can always take the Brutus Bushwhack down, which is a herd path that goes around the slide. This herd path is harder to follow, in fact I lost it for a while and had to search for it by following a topo line on my tracker until I hit it again. This hike would be hellish for a leisure hiker. But if you’re an adventurous hiker who finds pleasure in being deep in the wilderness, bushwhacks and scrambling. This is the perfect hike for you. Definitely one of the most remote and difficult peaks in the Whites.

2 months ago

Miles are off from what we tracked. This was a fun hike with lots of different adventures along the way. A little bit of everything, streams, rain, wildlife, rock climb, scramble, and lots of beautiful trees, bridges, and camp sites.

Very good hike. Past the hut is very rocky and not an easy hike you need poles. After the view at Zea Cliff you continue on Trailway trail to get to Zealand summit. It is confusing at the junction where Zealand trail heads to Ethan Lake so I did not make it to the summit but turned back.

Best part was seeing a moose!

Many folks don't like the long approach (1450' in 8 miles) or the slide (1450' in 8/10 of a mile!), or the fact that the summit is wooded and affords very little view. I consider this a nature hike. If you take your time, and pay attention, you'll see a lot of wildlife. The day of my hike, I was lucky enough to get a great shot of a pine marten at the summit area, and a beautiful, healthy moose near Black Pond (see photos). If you're looking for great summit views, you won't get them here, but you will get a great nature hike, and a chance to view the wildlife of the Whites!

Top 2 most difficult hikes I have done; I would not attempt this unless you’re in good shape and are an experienced backpacker. The reward for the difficulty are 7 amazing views atop some of the most gorgeous peaks in the north east. Did it two days highly recommend.

Tip: water is scarce between lafayette and last tent site so be prepared before you summit lafayette

Got a late start and turned around at the hut. We thought the portions of the river were nicer below and at the lower portion of the waterfall (just before the last section to the hut) were nicer for hanging out because of all the people near the hut / falls. My husband skipped the last and only steep rocky hull to the hut as it was our second hike of the day. Lovely trail.

This trail was awesome ! My wife and I had a great time ! Highly recommend!

Great 3 day hike. Took a couple guys out there for their first time backpacking and they had a blast. Make sure you have enough water containers and know where to refill. And remember leave no trace!!

Channeling my inner simon and Garfunkel

Hello Owls Head my old friend, I won’t be climbing you again.

Because an approach so crazy lengthy, followed by a slide that was slippery

And a summit, that was shrouded all in trees. It did not please... and make sure you get to the real top... of Owls Head.

I would not consider this an easy trail. Some parts are easy but others are very rocky. beautiful scenery and the falls are worth the hike. I didn't go any further than the falls.

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