Route: President Carter Loop (NH)

New Hampshire, US
29.3 mi

Owen Smith posted the route:

This is a burly loop starting at the Daniel Webster Scout Trail head going over the northern Presidentials, over the Wilcats and Carters, back to the DWST. I did the Presidential section like a normal Presi Traverse (aside from starting at DWST), and the Wildcats/Carters like a standard WCM Traverse (aside from heading down at the North Carter Trail). The descent down Glen Boulder Trail is a bit technical around a half-mile before and after the Boulder, and it's about a 4300' drop from Washington to the notch. I took the northern section of the Imp Trail down, and there is some really good running a little bit after leaving the top of The Imp face all the way down to the road. After reaching Rt16, i directly crossed the road and followed an old paved road to the Dolly Copp Campground, turned towards the river at the first picnic table, and was able to see a cairn across the river from there. Crossing the river this put me right at the end of the campground, and it was a pretty short jog back to the start of the Daniel Webster Scout Trail. The loop is a lot of fun, and i hope more people put it on their radar.

I got it done in 12:10:31, and i'm sure a lot of time can be cut from this. But hey, 14,262 elevation gain/loss will slow you down!

Sue Johnston posted a variation:

I did a bit longer version of this loop in August 2012. Started/finished in Gorham and ascended Pine Mtn first. Brief notes below:

Gorham Loop

Scanning my White Mtn. maps a few weeks back in anticipation of a trip home to Vermont, this rather obvious and perfect loop jumped off the paper. Why had I never attempted this one before? I contemplated calling it the Peabody Loop since it circumnavigates the Peabody River drainage - and, while stumbling down North Carter towards the end of the day, came up with a few other choices - but ultimately settled on the Gorham Loop.

The route, starting at the Pine Mtn. Trailhead in the town of Gorham, NH:

Up Pine Mtn., down the ledges, then Pine Mtn. Road, up Pine Link to Madison, down to Madison Hut, up Adams tagging JQ Adams on the way, over the summits of Jefferson, Clay, and Washington with lunch and tourist dodging near/on the summit, down upper Tuck's, Lawn Cutoff, and over to Glen Boulder... down Glen Boulder, across Rt. 16, up Wildcat Ridge Trail, across the Wildcats, down to Carter Notch, up Carter Dome, across S, M, and N Carter (Hight and Lethe, too), up Moriah, down Carter-Moriah Trail, and a short roadwalk back to the Pine Mtn. Trailhead. It was kinda hard.

Miles: 40.5
Elevation: 16,817 ft
Total time: A bunch of hours :)
Water stops: @ Madison Hut, Washington summit, and that cool little stream on the way down to Carter Notch
Food eaten: Couple of granola bars, a PB&J sandwich, a gel, chicken soup, & coffee
Difficulty: Harder than the Pemi Loop and Mahoosuc Traverse, a little easier than the Hut Traverse
4000 k'ers: 10 AMCs, 18 Trailwrights (potential for 22)


GPS Track


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On 8-2-2020 Luke Mahoney and I ventured out to do the Sue Johnston version (Gorham Loop) of this FKT. What an incredible and hard loop it truely left me humbled as it was much harder than I originally expected. Having completed the Pemi loop countless times and the Hut traverse several times I was expecting something just a little harder than the Pemi. In my opinion it was much closer to a Hut Traverse. Definitely a loop worth putting on your bucket list if you like to be challenged.

We clocked 37.5 miles, with around 18,000 ft of elevation gain. 

As Sue stated above a bunch of hours (20h 49m).