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Backpacker Magazine – January 2011

Trip Finder: Northeast

Your favorite Northeast hikes—from dayhikes to weekenders to multiday trips.

by: Sarah L. Stewart

Get a Presidential view from Franconia Ridge. (Tim Seaver)
Get a Presidential view from Franconia Ridge. (Tim Seaver)
Hike to the summit of 3,335-foot Sunday River Whitecap. (Tim Seaver)
Hike to the summit of 3,335-foot Sunday River Whitecap. (Tim Seaver)
Amble along Cranberry Lake's edge in the 'Dacks. (Gillian Scott)
Amble along Cranberry Lake's edge in the 'Dacks. (Gillian Scott)


 Metacomet Trail, CT
This 51-miler on the New England National Scenic Trail follows the 200-million-year-old Metacomet Ridge north past Revolutionary War sites, Connecticut River views, and basalt (“traprock”) cliffs formed by ancient magma flows. From the southern terminus near Berlin, follow blue blazes along an increasingly untrafficked trail toward the 761-foot traprock specimen Ragged Mountain, a favorite among climbers: Try the Broadway route (5.8) up the Main Cliff.

SHORELINES Cranberry Lake 50, NY
For lakeside shoreline, traipse through the Adirondacks’ Five Ponds Wilderness on a 50-mile loop around 7,000-acre Cranberry Lake. Gillian Scott (above) suggests starting in Wanakena and traveling counterclockwise for an easier first day, when your pack is heaviest. Along the loop you’ll see beaver ponds, sandy beaches, evergreen islands, and winding Oswegatchie River oxbows—but not a lot of people. “We went in July and didn’t see anyone,” Scott says.

RIVERVIEWS Pine Creek Rail Trail, PA
See the Pine Creek Gorge—aka the Pennsylvania Grand Canyon—from bottom to top on a 50-mile loop. Pick up the Pine Creek Rail Trail in Ansonia, and follow the rushing creek to Rattlesnake Rock, 19 miles south. Meet the 30-mile West Rim Trail for a more rugged and remote return. En route, peer 800 feet down into the gorge and 2,000 feet across the airy gap to the opposite rim. Walk 1.5 miles north and east along Colton Road and US 6 to return to your car.


Katie Levy, 26,  who lives in Philadelphia, recommends Pennsylvania’s 63-mile Conestoga Trail for its high-and-low views of the meandering Susquehanna River.

Husband-and-wife team Herb Terns, 41, and Gillian Scott,  37, spend 50-plus days a year in the ’Daks. A good day: skijoring with their dog, Rocky, near undeveloped Pharaoh Lake.

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