Answer the call of the wild, hiking USA’s northeast

Who would’ve thought that, among the non-stop metropolises and historic settlements that the USA’s eastern reaches have so much wilderness to offer? See for yourself as you embark on a nine-day trekking adventure with Lonely Planet and Intrepid, taking on parts of the mighty Appalachian Trail. Get wild in New England, find your feet along Franconia Ridge and test your endurance with a hike to the summit of granite behemoth, Mt Katahdin. With a local leader joining you every step of the way as you set up camp and hike to mountain huts – and options to suit your own trekking level – you can truly discover the rugged landscapes, pine-topped ranges and lake-dotted valleys of the Appalachians.


Start
Boston, United States
Finish
Boston, United States
Destination
United States
Style
Basix
Theme
Lonely Planet Experience, Walking & Trekking
Code
SSTA
Physical rating
Ages
Min 15
Group size
Min 1, Max 13

A powerful partnership

Lonely Planet and Intrepid Travel share the same philosophy: we help curious people explore the world.

Why you'll love this trip

  • Trek the highlights of the scenic Appalachian Trail

  • Enjoy dinner and drinks at the historic Greenleaf Hut, a backcountry lodge that has served hikers for nearly 100 years

  • Scramble over huge granite rocks to reach the spectacular summit of Mt Katahdin – the official end of the Appalachian Trail

  • Strictly protected Baxter State Park is as close as you’re likely to come to true wilderness in this part of the world, and moose and deer are frequently sighted

  • Hike to mountain-enclosed Lonesome Lake and the lush Franconia Ridge Trail in the White Mountain National Forest

  • Spend a little time in Boston, a city full of character and history

Is this trip right for you?

  • The focus of this trip is hiking. We tackle some of the more famous and spectacular hikes in these areas, but you must consider your physical ability for some of them. You'll get more out of the trip if you are fit and able to undertake some challenging hikes. There are always easier options if you don't feel able to do the hikes, but be aware that you will be on your own if doing a different hike to the rest of the group.

  • This is a participatory trip. That’s a fancy way of saying you’re not just along for the ride – you’re part of a team. You know the phrase ‘the more you put in, the more you get out’. Well that’s extra true on this trip. Be prepared to roll up your sleeves and help out with camp activities like food prep and washing up. It’s all about giving your new travel mates a hand – everyone knows there’s nothing worse than trying to put up a tent on your own!

  • That teamwork also extends to our optional food kitty of approximately USD 10 per day, run to cover the cost of meals. This kitty saves you worrying about stuff like where to get food or what exactly sales tax is, and actually helps keep your costs down. Instead of paying individually as you go, it means we can bulk purchase items and cook our own food – though there’s always the chance to use it for the occasional pizza night! The kitty is optional and for your convenience, so if you've got specific dietary requirements you can opt out and purchase (and cook) your own food.

  • The weather in the north can be unpredictable at times and you need to be prepared for all weather conditions. It can get surprisingly hot in summer, but it could also be quite cold. We suggest you bring layers.

Itinerary

Welcome to Boston – the historic big city with a neighbourhood feel. You’ll meet the rest of your group and your local leader at 6 pm for an important welcome meeting. Later, you could venture out for dinner. Located on the East Coast, Boston has some dynamite seafood. If you want to try a classic local dish, your leader can give you the lowdown on where to get the best clam chowder.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Special Information
It’s very important that you attend the welcome meeting as we will be collecting insurance details and next of kin information at this time. If you are going to be late please let your travel agent or hotel reception know. Ask reception or look for a note in the lobby for more information on where the meeting will take place.

As this trip spends very little time in Boston, we recommend you spend an extra day or two before (or after) your trip if you want to experience all the city has to offer. If you’d like to spend more time here, we'll be happy to book additional accommodation for you (subject to availability).
The wilderness is calling and today you’ll answer. A half-day drive will deliver you to Franconia Notch State Park, where bubbling brooks cut through thick hardwood forest and granite cliffs lead to alpine peaks. Setup camp at Lafayette Place and then embark on your first Appalachian Trail hike, a 3-kilometre (1.9 mile) round trip to secluded Lonesome Lake, where still waters reflect the hills and mountains that surround it. This moderately challenging trek is a good way to get acquainted with the terrain, and your leader will give you instruction along the way.
Accommodation
  • Camping (with facilities) (1 night)
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
After an early morning wake-up call, pack up camp and set out on the stunning Franconia Ridge Trail, one of the most famous and beloved sections of the Appalachian Trail. You’ll walk for about 10 kilometres (6 miles) and the path is often rocky. It’s also steep – the trailhead (beginning of the hike) sits around 600 metres (2000 feet) and you'll climb roughly 900 metres (3000 feet) reaching around 1520 metres (5000 feet) above sea level. These conditions are demanding, but the sight of the jagged mountainside and lush forest are unforgettable. Views aside, there’s another reward waiting at the end of your trek – an included dinner at the Greenleaf Hut on Mt Lafayette. You’ll spend the night in this beautifully situated backcountry cabin, which has been a hiker’s haven since 1930. Sitting right on the tree line and looking over Eagle Lake, the accommodation tonight is a true off-the-grid highlight.
Accommodation
  • Backcountry Hut (with facilities) (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Appalachian Trail Hike - Franconia Ridge
Meals Included
  • Dinner
Special Information
For this overnight hike you’ll leave majority of your items securely at camp and just take a small pack for the day and evening. Below is a basic list of what you’ll need however, you may want to bring additional personal items. The hut provides each guest with a pillow and three wool blankets.

You will need: Proper hiking footwear; warm clothing, as temperatures will get cooler as elevation is gained (layers and/or a windbreaker are recommended); a hat, sunglasses, sunscreen, as areas may be exposed and include longs stretches above tree lines; a reusable water bottle or camelback (water can be refilled at the hut but you will need enough for hiking); headlamp or flashlight; snacks and a sleep sheet or light sleeping bag, if desired.

Please note accommodation tonight is a backcountry hut which offers co-ed bunkrooms and separate washrooms with toilets.
Make the roughly 5-kilometre (3 mile) descent to Lafayette Place. Going downhill on the uneven ground isn’t easy, but you’ll get some more of those unforgettable views on the way. During the flatter sections, scour the sky for hawks and keep an eye out for American redstarts and sparrows in the trees. Sit down for lunch at camp and then decide whether you’d like to partake in an optional hike or take a trip on the historic Cog Railroad. Those who choose the railroad will ride the car on a three-hour roundtrip to the summit of Mt Washington. It’s quite a steep journey on a wooden track, and if it’s clear, you’ll get incredible views of the ranges from the open windows.
Accommodation
  • Camping (with facilities) (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Mt Washington - Mt Washington State Park
Optional Activities
  • Mt Washington - Cog Railroad (Regular season) - USD72
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Leave behind the thickets of White Mountain for Baxter State Park, where Mt Katahdin towers over the low lakes and spruce trees. It’s a 6-hour drive to your next destination and you’ll set up camp upon arrival. Park namesake and conservationist Percival P Baxter was right when he praised the mountain for its ‘massive grandeur’. In the evening, you might want to take part in an optional float plane trip, which takes you soaring above the incredible landscape of Baxter State Park and delivers you for dinner in a backcountry cabin.
Accommodation
  • Camping (with facilities) (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Baxter State Park
Optional Activities
  • Baxter - Katahdin Backcountry Flight & Dinner - USD170
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
The official terminus of the Appalachian Trail, Mt Katahdin takes your breath away in more ways than one. If you decide to tackle the famed trek, you’ll need to scramble – using your hands to climb up and over boulders – for a large part of it and maintain footing on jagged rocks. Precipitous ridges, steep inclines and a certain amount of exposure are unavoidable and a round trip (15.8 kilometres or 9.8 miles) can take 8–10 hours. But there’s a reason this is one of the most celebrated hikes in North America. Even though it’s well-known, foot traffic in the park and on the mountain is tightly controlled, meaning the environment is pristine and relatively untouched. On clear days, the rough terrain and granite cliffs make for epic views, as the parks numerous lakes dot the landscape far below.
Accommodation
  • Camping (with facilities) (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Appalachian Trail Hike - Mt Katahdin Summit
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Special Information
There’s no getting around the fact that this is a tough – often gruelling – hike, and if there’s a chance of better weather tomorrow then the summit climb will be delayed by a day. If that is the case, there are plenty of other outdoor activities to keep you occupied in the park.
If you climbed Mt Katahdin yesterday, today you are free to further explore the untamed parkland of Baxter. You may want to explore one of the many lakes by canoe – they’re just a small donation to hire – and on the water, you might be able to spot delicate grey jay birds and sparrows. If you can handle another hike, the trail to Sandy Stream Pond is a half-day hike on mercifully flat ground with great opportunity to spot moose.
Accommodation
  • Camping (with facilities) (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Baxter State Park - Hiking - Free
  • Baxter - Canoe Hire - USD3
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
After your days in the Appalachian wilds, today it’s time to head back to civilisation. You’ll make the approximately 5-hour drive back to Boston, leaving New England behind. Enjoy a celebratory meal with your group in the city. Later, rest your weary limbs with a well-deserved evening in a hotel bed – a welcome respite after your nights of camping.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
With no activities planned for today, you're free to leave your Boston accommodation after check-out. If you're staying on in the city, why not check out an Urban Adventures Bowling and Bites tour? You can smash some pins and some snacks in true Bostonian fashion – see urbanadventures.com/destination/Boston-tours for more information and to book. If you would like to spend more time in Boston, we’ll be happy to organise additional accommodation (subject to availability).
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
This trip is a Lonely Planet Experience
Our Lonely Planet Experiences include plenty of free time so you can do the things that suit your budget and interests. Between your Intrepid Travel leader’s local knowledge and Lonely Planet’s trusted travel tips and recommendations, your trip will be more epic than ever.

Meals

1 breakfast, 1 dinner

Transport

Private vehicle

Accommodation

Camping (with facilities) (5 nights), Hotel (2 nights), Mountain hut (1 night)

Included activities

  • Appalachian Trail Hike - Franconia Ridge
  • Mt Washington - Mt Washington State Park
  • Baxter State Park
  • Appalachian Trail Hike - Mt Katahdin Summit

Lonely Planet extras

  • Free access to the Lonely Planet mobile app for one year
  • 25% discount on all items in the Lonely Planet Shop

Dates & availability

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Important notes

SINGLE SUPPLEMENT
A Single Supplement to have your own room is available on this trip however excludes night 3 (White Mountain National Park - Backcountry Hut) where you will be in shared accommodation.

Essential trip information

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