Pemi Loop (Clockwise)

Date of Hike: 5/29/10

Lincoln Woods Trail: 1.4 miles
Osseo Trail: 4.1 miles
Franconia Ridge: 5.0 miles
Garfield Ridge Trail: 6.6 miles
Twinway: 2.8 miles
Boncliff Trail: .4 miles
West Bond Spur: 1.0 miles
Bondcliff Trail: 6.5 miles
LW/Wilderness Trail: 4.7 miles
Total Miles: 32.5 miles (9,500 elevation gain)

Trip Report:
- Backpacker magazine rates the Pemi Loop America's second hardest dayhike, with extreme miles, rough/rugged footing, knee hammering rocks, couple of sections of Alpine Zone, and (if doing it clockwise) a final 4.7 miles on the most boring/mind numbing flat section of trail known on earth...So with that being said it was time to finally hike this awesome endurance hike with a stop at West Bond along the way!
- Left RI at 2am, on trail at 5am, Galehead Hut at 12:30pm, Bondcliff Summit at 4pm, hallucinations of a little old man and his dog in a canoe that would paddle me down the Pemi River back to my car at 6:23pm, finished at 7:30 pm
- Temps were above 60 all day, partly cloudy skies with hazy but great views, light wind, terrific trail conditions!
- From the onset I hiked at a pretty good pace, there were more step ladders on the Osseo trail than I had remembered and they were very well placed. Views to Owl's Head and the Bonds in the early morning from the Osseo Trail outlook were exceptional.
- Views from Flume and Liberty were great and as always coming up above treeline before Little Haystack never gets old.
- Hit my first wall hiking up to Lincoln and that's when I saw the first of many people of the day, a trail runner zooming along with only a bottle of water in hand.
- At the summit of Lafayette is the end of the Franconia Ridge Trail and so begins the "Dreaded" Garfield Ridge Trail. It's like a mini rollercoaster ride if you walked the tracks in hiking boots, after the first mile it's 5.6 miles in the woods of elevation gains and losses of every kind imaginable with maybe one or two views...I counted 20 ups and downs and of course the only time the whole day the weather was subpar was on the Garfield Ridge.
- The Garfield Ridge ends at the Galehead Hut 17 miles into the hike, wear I stopped, relaxed, and refueled.  I debated hiking up to Galehead's summit but I was just there two weeks ago and hiking 10 minutes to see a pile of rocks with no views was not going to happen.
- Next up was the Twinway and it's steep ascent up to South Twin, along the way I ran into Big Earl who was doing a Twins, Galehead, and Garfield traverse, nice running into you Earl!
- Views from South Twin were phenomenal as always and the hike over to Bondcliff Trail went pretty fast even with the annoying patches of snow hanging around in spots.
- One of my favorite spots in the Pemi is the section above treeline up to Mount Guyot, views are unbelievable on a good day!
- On the Bondcliff Trail at the Guyot Campsite Trail Junction sign, I took a pic of my favorite trail sign that says 0.7 miles to Bond which I like to photoshop extra letters and a zero in there (Click here to see what I mean)
- At this point of the hike I could feel the my legs wearing down but the views from West Bond, Bond, and the hike down to Bondcliff is so awesome that any pain just goes away.
- However, the hike down from Bondcliff to the LW/W Trail is brutal, every step is killer on your knees and then is followed by 4.7 miles on the flat LW/W Trail which after 28 miles becomes an ultimate gut-check.
- Luckily on this last stretch I didn't lose my marbles or get distracted by my favorite old rusted pieces of railroad parts/trash except for when I thought "Hey if I had a boogie-board I could boogie-down the pemi river and back to my car in about 15 minutes"
- Back at the car I stretched my legs for 15 minutes all the while thrilled about what a great hike I had just completed...a perfect day in the Pemigewesset was Epic!

Pictures: Click Here for all Pictures

Mount Liberty Summit
Franconia Ridge Trail with Mount Liberty and Flume Summits
Bondcliff Trail Mount Guyot
Bondcliff, Bond, and west Bond Summits


  1. Yo are an animal! Keep kicking ass?

  2. You're a beast. Wife and I did Flume via LW/Osseo, 11.2 miles, same day you were there. We were feeling pretty good doing that in 5.75 hours including stops. I'm feelin' humble now. ;-)

  3. Hey Ethan I hiked at a quick pace because I was worried about thunderstorms in the afternoon and getting stuck between Bond and Bondcliff when they came...But the weather held up and it ended up being a perfect day to hike!

    Hope you guys had a blast on Liberty and Flume!

  4. Planning to do Pemi 5/28/11. I'm certain we won't have the stellar conditions you had. Impressive time you finished in. Thanks for the trip report.

  5. Hi Anonymous, hope the weather turns out just right for you. Have a blast doing the loop!


  6. Just completed the Pemi--7/23/11. I used this article as a bench mark and it helped me learn what to expect doing the same exact hike as you did. With dry, sunny and hot conditions I completed the loop/including W.Bond in 15 hrs,19min. Please note this was actual hiking/running time. Resting time and talking to people was an extra hour or so. I hiked solo until Bondcliff where I met a few others who invited me to join their group and finish it together. We all ran the flat boring 4.7 mile stretch (LW/W) in. Thank you for the information you provided. Donna

  7. Hi Donna, I'm glad you were able to get some info from my trip report. Thank you!

    Congrats on your Pemi Loop. Saturday was a really hot and humid day out there so that makes your loop an even greater accomplishment. It's so much fun to be out there all day, taking in the views, and at the end of the day it's beyond rewarding. Awesome job, happy hiking!