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Hale (left), North Twin (center), Garfield and Mt. Lafayette Ridge (right)- as seen from the lodge
Named after two of the 4000ft summits of North and South Twin Mountains, our home town of Twin Mountain is an ideal place to stay for hiking trips to the White Mountains. The town is bordered on both the south and east sides by White Mountain National Forrest.
Top of the list has to be Mt Washington as the most famous of the peaks around. We are located on the same side as the Ammonoosuc and Jewel trails which make a great loop that can be done in a day by experienced hikers. The mountain gets lots of publicity, but please be prepared if you plan to hike any of the Presidentials, especially Mount Washington. The Ammonoosuc Ravine Trail gains over 2000ft of elevation in a mile in the middle section and all of that is primarily on exposed granite slab. This is usually the “up” section of the loop as such a steep trail is difficulty to descend and is hard on the knees. The Jewel trail has an easier grade to it but is still challenging and significantly longer. Expect to spend at least 9 hours for experienced hikers and keep a close eye on the forecast and be prepared for all weather
Forming a significant amount of Twin Mountain’s Eastern border is the full Presidential range. Notable trailheads are Capps Ridge Trail ascending Jefferson and Edmunds Path to summit Eisenhower besides the Ammonoosuc Ravine Trail and Jewel Trail already mentioned. Crawford’s Path starts at the southern end of Presidentials and is the most gradual (and therefore the longest at approximately 8 miles) to get to the summit of Mt. Washington.
Just a 10 mile drive away is Franconia Notch State Park. Besides attractions like riding the Arial Tramway or walking through the Flume Gorge, there are many memorable hiking options in the notch. Lonesome Lake is a short hike to a mountain lake and one of the AMC shelters that is operated year round. Going higher up you can summit Cannon Mountain on foot rather than with the Tram, or attempt one of the trails such the Bridal Path or Falling Waters Trail to summit Mount Lafayette.
Next to the summits in the Presidential Range Lafayette is the next tallest and has a summit above treeline. Assuming the weather is clear this guarantees great views but as with the Presidentials once above tree line you are very exposed to the weather and there are many increased risks so make sure you are well prepared.
One of the closest Trailheads to the Lodge are those that take you up to Zealand Falls and Zealand hut, one of the other easier to access AMC shelters. On the same road is also one of the trails to summit Mt Hale, one of the 48 4000ft summits in the Whites. For more experienced hikers and those aiming to get all 48 the hike from Zealand can continue to get the The Bonds and Bondcliff that take you way out into the Pemi Valley Wilderness.
Willard has one of the best effort to summit views ratio of any around. An easy 1.5 mile hike rewards you with a view looking out the top of Crawford Notch. It’s a great hike to do when you are short on time or as a first hike for the younger generation to be introduced to hiking. From the same trailhead you can also take trails up to the summit of Tom, Willey and Field to get 3 more of 48 4000ft summits in the White Mountains.