For anyone who aspires to conquer the Appalachian Trail, those who have completed the journey and want to hike down memory lane, and even those who simply want to taste the experience, Backpacker Magazine promotes AT in a Day. Their goal is to unite the hiking community to collectively complete the Appalachian Trail in a single day. Sounds fun, right?
The Pemi Loop. In one day. Backpacker Magazine has named it the second hardest day hike in America, which, for most normal human beings, is down-right laughable. It is, after all, roughly the equivalent of doing three Tough Mudders. Conquering the 31.5-mile trek in a day with its eight mountains over 4,000 feet and 9,000 feet of cumulative elevation gain requires superior fitness…or a complete lack of common sense.
The Pemi Loop. The name alone brings a wistful smile to many a New England hiker’s face. Eight wide-open summits on the New Hampshire 48 list of 4,000+ footers—each offering spectacular views of the Pemigewasset Wilderness—plus four other “optional” 4,000+ peaks bagged via short side trails, help make The Loop an annual addiction for many.
For many, the Presidential Range is the Appalachian Trail section most synonymous with New Hampshire, which makes the Franconia Ridge Trail hike from Mt. Liberty to Mt. Lafayette a second fiddle with a marvelous tune. With two mountains over 5,000 feet, the option to summit 4,459-foot Mt. Liberty, and 4,500-foot Mt. Garfield likely also on the docket, this stretch will have hikers crashing and burning by day’s end.
On paper the Garfield Trail looks to be a daunting challenge: a five-mile, 3,000-foot climb in the White Mountains to the summit of 4,500-foot Mt. Garfield. In reality, compared to neighboring hikes such as the Liberty Springs Trail, Falling Waters Trail and Old Bridle Path, it’s a walk in the White Mountains National Forest park.