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

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.

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.

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.

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!

Was expecting a very steep, rugged trail but it wasn’t nearly as steep or rugged as I anticipated. Pretty straight-shot climb. Short as far as 4000 footers go but still a nice hike. No views but the clearing and extremely large cairn at the summit gives the mountain its own character. Couple easy stream crossings of Hale Brook. Great day.

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.

First part of Gale River Trail is easy. Gets steeper and steeper— with the last mile a tough, rocky climb. Then .6 not quite so steep climb to Gale Head Hut and 0.8 very steep rocky climb to South Twin. That 0.8 miles took us an hour on a hot day with packs. Not easy! Beautiful 360 view from South Twin. I recommend staying at the hut. Up and back in a day would be tough.

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

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.

Enjoyed this hike more than I thought I would! Pleasant little waterfalls, mostly mild grade with good footing. The summit offers no view, but it is very pleasant and peaceful!!

I definitely underestimated how steep this was going to be, but it was a very pretty hike and I enjoyed the cairn at the top! Took me about 3 hours total, with time for lunch and pics. And like I said, I wasn't really prepared for what I was getting into, but overall I'm happy that I made this my first 4k! Oh, and DEFINITELY bring bugspray. Bugs were horrendous.

Definitely one of the prettier trails I've done! But I think something needs to be made crystal clear: The Zealand trail to the AMC hut is the easy part. In NO way is the Zeacliff trail beyond it to the summit of Mt Zealand considered easy. It's definitely a steep, rocky and moderate trail. My friend and I were one of the few people who tackled it without trekking poles and while I don't think they are necessary it's clear many others did.

The cliff has a lovely view and the day was utterly perfect! the trail was beautifully maintained but the number of bridges was a surprise. A really pretty hike on a trail that was not overly busy. Definitely recommend.

excellent challenging hike. stayed the night at galehead hut before returning down the gale river trail

No way it's rated easy! past the hut is on the difficult side of moderate. nice view from the cliff and the hut, small pile of rocks and a sign on the summit.

I enjoyed this hike very much especially the brook!

hiking
3 months ago

Beware that this hike can be awful in the spring season, when snow and ice are still on the ground. Sketchy river crossings and icy/slippery cliff sections made for a difficult hike. Trail was mashed potatoes in some sections. Some decent views along the trail, but I would suggest that less advanced hikers hike this trail in summer.

*The gate was closed, so we had to hike 5 extra miles (ie 9.6 miles roundtrip).

I didn’t really care for this hike but it might be because of the trail conditions yesterday. I thought it would be a quick and easy hike but the snow made it difficult in some parts. I used microspikes the entire time but snow shoes would have helped in spots. I am one of those people who kept post holing

Its an ok hike, nothing to amazing and not a great view at the summit, but overall not to bad!

If you like rivers this is a nice trail.

Good rainy day hike. Not the most exciting 4k but a 4k nonetheless. Id save this one for a cloudy or rainy day hike or maybe your 1st 4k.

Great cold hike, definitely not as cold as it could have been but there were some extraordinarily windy spots. The trail was VERY Wet and saturated with water throughout the entire hike. There were a few rainy days beforehand that probably didn't make it better.

One thing I noticed no one really mentions is how many bridges there are, I counted over 90 from the beginning of the trail to the summit of Zealand. Most are after the hut. Nothing wrong with the amount of bridges but based on the other peaks I have hiked it was the most I had ever seen. The bridges around the Zeacliff outlook are loose and SINK when you step on them. There are parts of mud that are pretty much unavoidable, jumping with a heavy pack is pretty exhausting lol.

We actually started before sunrise so we had to use our headlamps for the first 40 minutes or so which was pretty cool. The bridges around the pond area were a bit icy but nothing crazy. We did experience a moose on the trail, luckily it looked like we spooked him more than he did us and we saw him run off into the marshy area.

The trail was a bit busy especially on our way back. Overall a fun hike, obviously with how wet the trail is it is very slippery especially the logs. No bug issues thanks to the temperature, I would imagine it would be pretty miserable during summer with how much water is around. Beautiful trail, definitely would fall hike this again maybe even early spring when the snow has begun to melt.

side note we did get chased down the mountain for a little bit by a bird, definitely a 1st and hopefully the last

hiking
9 months ago

Great hike! As someone who is athletic but not a serious hiker I found this trail perfect. Definitely challenging in some parts and a long hike overall but very manageable with fantastic views at the top!

Great hiking with a fabulous fall foliage bonus! No view from the peak but the views on the hike in made up for it. The hut is so cool! Great croo with answers to all your questions.

it was a good hike .it was beautiful hike

Well maintained and relatively easy 4000 footer, not much for views but lovely Christmas tree forest up top. Balsam scented trails always nice.

a long hike no doubt. a lot of flat at beginning then a steady climb. incredible views so well worth it.

Tougher hike than 'Easy'. The hike is awesome though and the hut is a cool stopping point. Views were cool at the top too

nice easy hike. very peaceful and not crowded due to lack of views. would recommend if u only have 3-4 hrs and want to do a 4k.

Nice trail. Passes by beaver ponds. Half way, there is a hut. They sell food, like soup, cake, tea. Z-cliff view is very beautiful.

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