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White Mountains NF, NH
Like the Presidential Traverse, the Hut Traverse is a local ritual that challenges hikers on a high-mileage, high-altitude tour de force—except instead of tagging summits, you tag all eight huts in the AMC system. It’s a tradition among hut “croo” members, who sometimes bang out all 56 miles and 16,000 feet of elevation gain in 24 hours. Pick a good weather window (long stretches are above treeline), then set out predawn with a light pack (food and shelter are available at the huts) from Nineteen Mile Brook trailhead. Traveling south front-loads the storm-raked Presidentials. Hike 3.8 miles to Carter Notch Hut, then backtrack to take the Great Gulf and Madison Gulf Trails to Madison Spring Hut (or skip Carter Notch to save 7.6 miles). Fill up water and follow the AT over 6,288-foot Mt. Washington to Lakes of the Clouds Hut, tag Mizpah Spring Hut and Highland Center, then hike the A-Z Trail to Zealand Falls Hut to end your 29-mile day with a foot-cooling soak in the nearby cascades (plus a bunk—BYO bag—and a plate of spaghetti). Day two, visit Galehead, Greenleaf, and Lonesome Lake Huts, then finish at Lonesome Lake trailhead at Lafayette Place Campground. Trailhead 82 miles northwest of Portland, ME; 44.302028, -71.220937Shuttle car44.143156, -71.682867Best Season June offers longest days. Hut $118/non-AMC member; reservation required Contact (617) 523-0636; outdoors.org