Mount Hale, Zealand, South & North Twin Loop

Date of Hike: 9/4/10

North Twin Trail: 1.0 miles
Mount Hale Trail (Fire Warden's Trail): 2.5 miles
Lend-A-Hand Trail: 2.7 miles
Twinway: 6.2 miles
North Twin Spur/North Twin Trail: 5.6 miles
Total Miles: 18.0 miles (5,300 elevation gain)

Trip Report:
- My original plan was to meet up with hikers and take the Caps Ridge up Mount Jefferson and then head over to the Sphinx Trail to do some trail work.  However with high winds forecast for the Presidential Range I figured it would be more enjoyable to find another hike to do and hit the Sphinx on a better day.
- Luckily enough I was invited by Bob and Geri to do the awesome Loop hike over Hale, Zealand, South and North Twin Mountains.  Also joining in on the fun was Mike, Chris, and his girlfriend Christine, since there were three Chris's I was called Chris 3, along with Chris 2, and Ms. Chris!
- On trail at 9am, finished at 5:45pm, Temps in the 60's below treeline, 50's above treeline, light wind, with high clouds and good views.
- Last month while hiking solo I was able to do this hike counter-clockwise because the forecast called for better views early in the day.  This time the forecast was for better views later in the day so the route for the hike was clockwise.
- Our first objective was to find the obscure turn-off for the defunct Fire Warden's Trail, the trick is to locate the strongest little tree on the trail and you'll find the old trail! (click here for picture)
- We made good time up the Mount Hale/Fire Warden's Trail through the beautiful Birch glades.  As we gained elevation fog slowly fell into the trees making for a pretty cool atmosphere.
- At Mount Hale summit we relaxed for a few minutes before heading down the Lend-A-Hand Trail.  While descending the clouds started to lift and the sun started to come out and from here on out we'd be hiking in mostly favorable conditions.
- Once we reached the Twinway we took a break on the rocks above Zealand Falls to refuel and fill up on water before heading up the Twinway to Zealand Mountain.  The views from the outlook into Zealand Notch over to Carrigain Notch were great along the way.
- From Zealand the Twinway drops down into a col then back up to Mount Guyot and over to South Twin. One of my favorite places to hike is the short section above treeline on Mount Guyot looking down into the Pemigewasset Wilderness to Owl's Head with the Franconia Ridge rising high above it.
- We made good time over to South and North Twin and enjoyed the fantastic 360 degree views from South Twin and the terrific views of Galehead and the Garfield and Franconia Ridge from North Twin.
- Now was the long decent back to the river, the first part of the decent was steep but then the grades moderated as we reached the third water crossing.  We decided to use the herd path and bypass the first two crossings as Gerri lead the way setting a good pace as we jogged the remaining mile or so.
- We were all excited to finally be back at the car and having completed such a great hike.  I was also excited to have been able to hike with other people who like to hike at a quick pace and have lots of experience that I can learn from.  Last winter Mike and Bob both completed a single season 48 (Bob twice!), Chris and Christine have completed and are training for a marathon, and throughout this hike Geri was our leader making sure we made good time. Thanks guys fro letting me join in on an awesome hike!!

Pictures: Click here for all pictures

Hiking through the Birch glades
 on the Fire Warden's Trail
View toward Carrigain Notch from the Twinway
Mount Guyot Summit with the
Franconia Ridge off in the Distance 
High Clouds over the Pemigewasset Wilderness
Owl's Head and the Franconia Ridge


  1. Nice loop hike! I was out there the same day, and realized after looking at the gallery of other pictures that we passed each other. I distinctly remember Geri in the lead. I think we passed somewhere on the Twinway between Zealand and junction of Twinway/Bondcliff trails. I was the solo female hiker with short dark hair, turquoise top and red pack. My husband and I blog our adventures on

  2. Hi Summerset

    I remember seeing you! Your blog is great and so are your pictures. I can't believe you got to hike with Nicholas Howe, that is so awesome, I've read his book over and over and over!

    Happy Hiking!