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  1. #21

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    Fortunately, the terrain is the limiting factor. There just aren't that many places where it's practical to set up a tent. They went to a lot of trouble to build tent platforms for a reason. The choices are extremely limited on the Franconia to Madison section, as most of it is above tree line or damn near it. Sure, there are a hand full of places where people have obviously camped, but these places aren't something you can plan on using.

    The other thing to consider is this is a very active trail and these few sites are directly along the side of the trail. Otherwise, you'd never see them.
    The AT - It has it's ups and downs...

  2. #22
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    While hiking a few days ago I met someone who had camped at Sphinx Col (a fairly popular illegal campsite) above treeline. He was joking it was a popular spot as there were 9 tents there. It was a nice night but last night that I expect anyone camping there wishes they hadnt. There was an extended front that came through the area for about 3 hours with heavy rain and thrunderstorms running right over and near that area. The ridge is fairly narrow in this are and the campsites are basically at the top of the ridge. There are some boulders with vertical faces that might provide some partial protection but expect it was a scary night. There really is no escape from this spot. The ridge drops off steeply into dense nearly impenetrable fir with the trail down into the Great Gulf a low point on the ridge In the other direction its a wide stretch of rock with no cover until ending up in impenetrable fir.

    Not only does camping above treeline potentially damage the plants and terrain that survive up there its downright dangerous in foul weather. All of the AMC huts have extensive lightning protection and grounding in place. Even though it may be mild when folks go to bed, storms can form to the west in the summer and rapidly move in anytime during the night.

  3. #23
    Registered User Kaptainkriz's Avatar
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    I'm planning on a few days in August to hike the AT North from Franconia Notch. The various websites referencing parking, permits, etc. are a bit confusing to me. Is overnight parking allowed at the various trail head lots, more specifically in Franconia Notch? If I intend to leave a vehicle for a few days in Franconia Notch (Trailhead near Bridle Path...), is there a parking permit required? A few years ago I parked at the Ammo trailhead and used a weekly pass, but now can't even find a link for those. Thanks.

  4. #24
    Registered User egilbe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kaptainkriz View Post
    I'm planning on a few days in August to hike the AT North from Franconia Notch. The various websites referencing parking, permits, etc. are a bit confusing to me. Is overnight parking allowed at the various trail head lots, more specifically in Franconia Notch? If I intend to leave a vehicle for a few days in Franconia Notch (Trailhead near Bridle Path...), is there a parking permit required? A few years ago I parked at the Ammo trailhead and used a weekly pass, but now can't even find a link for those. Thanks.
    State park parking at the trailheads. It's free, for now. I've parked my car there several times overnight. No issues. Weekends, those lots fill up early. Pretty empty by late afternoon.

  5. #25

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    It's nearly impossible to get a parking spot in Franconia notch these days. It doesn't matter what day of the week any more. Maybe if you showed up at 3 AM. People were illegally parking on the side of the highway, but the state has put a stop to that. There is now a shuttle bus from the Cannon Mountain ski area parking lot.

    Consider parking at the AMC Highland Center at Crawford notch and taking the shuttle over to Franconia. If your only hiking for a few days, that's where you'll end up anyway. On second thought, you could park at the AT trail head at Crawford, as the shuttle will pick you up there. Then you don't have to get back to the Highland center to get your car, which is 3 miles away. That's what I did when I did that section.

    While it's possible to hike from Franconia to Crawford in two really long and hard days, doing it in 3 or even 4 makes it a more pleasant and less strenuous hike and you can spend time on the summits to enjoy the view, or get to shelter before the thunderstorms roll in.
    Last edited by Slo-go'en; 06-29-2019 at 12:48.
    The AT - It has it's ups and downs...

  6. #26
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    FYI, the AT doesnt leave Franconia Notch via the Lafayette Place parking lots (which are perpetually full). The AT crosses the Notch under a bridge with no vehicle access to it. There is designated AT lot just north of the Flume attraction lot on RT3 off an exit off the parkway. Even that lot fills up, albeit far less oftern and the state will not allow overnight parking in the Flume lot or along RT3. From this lot there is connector that runs through the woods and connects up with the AT. It then follows the bikepath through the woods before the Liberty Springs trail (the AT turns right into the wood. The turn off the bikepath is actually about half way between the AT lot and the next lot north on the parkway which is called the Basin. This lot is rarely full all day as its predominant visitor is day user to the Basin attraction that at best might take an hour to visit so there is lot of turnover.

    The one "sure" thing is parking at the new hiker shuttle lot at the top of the notch. The state runs a shuttle from 8:30 AM on to ferry hikers and overnight guests of the two nearby AMC huts. There is cost for this service but is the only choice on good days.

  7. #27
    Registered User Kaptainkriz's Avatar
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    Thanks egible, Slo-go'en, and peakbagger for the detailed info! Our thoughts were on a late Sunday or a Monday to get up to Lonesome Lake from one of the closer parking areas and then work the AT North.That was my reasoning for trying to park up toward the Bridle Path. I like the Basin and have been there a number times, I did not realize that parking could be used overnight...would that also include the lot on the East side of the highway under the little tunnel? It actually was not clear to me whether any of the parking along that section was overnight. It sounds like I have a number of options (Liberty Springs Trailhead Parking Lot, Basin, Bridle Trail, many of which will be crowded. If it goes pear shaped, there is always the hiker shuttle lot. So are all the parking lots indicated here overnight? https://www.nhstateparks.org/visit/s...r-parking.aspx

  8. #28
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    If its called a hiker parking lot it includes overnight. As the link mentions, changes my be coming at the Basin to limit hiker parking. That applies to both sides of the highway (there is tunnel like at Lafayette. There are couple of short term lots not mentioned (Boise Rock ?) and the former northbound Old Man Viewing area that are signed for day use only and do not have trailheads. There are not a lot of good options for Lonesome lake except the Lafayette place lots. Get there early in the AM or late at night and you will find parking.

  9. #29
    Registered User Kaptainkriz's Avatar
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    Thanks, this makes sense to me now.
    Quote Originally Posted by peakbagger View Post
    If its called a hiker parking lot it includes overnight. As the link mentions, changes my be coming at the Basin to limit hiker parking. That applies to both sides of the highway (there is tunnel like at Lafayette. There are couple of short term lots not mentioned (Boise Rock ?) and the former northbound Old Man Viewing area that are signed for day use only and do not have trailheads. There are not a lot of good options for Lonesome lake except the Lafayette place lots. Get there early in the AM or late at night and you will find parking.

  10. #30
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    I parked across from the Highland Center, at the Mt. Clinton Road lot, then walked across the street and got the AMC shuttle to Appalachia trailhead up in Gorham area, to do the Presidential Traverse, north to south, and when We came out two days later, ( one night at Madison Hut, second at Lakes of the clouds Hut) we were at our vehicle. Very convenient, in lieu of car spotting. If you are convenient to a REI, you can get a National Forest parking permit, around $30? It allows you to park at any trailhead parking within WMNF. I have often parked at trailheads late in the evening after a drive up from Boston area on a Friday night, slept in my truck Cap, to get up and get an early start on the trails. The parking pass is a deal, or you can honor pay at most trailhead kiosks. Couple bucks a night..
    Last edited by Ben795; 06-29-2019 at 19:42. Reason: Add info

  11. #31
    Registered User Kaptainkriz's Avatar
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    Thanks again everyone. We ended up using the AT lot on RT3 just North of the Flume. There was open parking on a Sunday at 8AM...a few days later we emerged at Crawford. Worked great. Looking to possibly get back up there to continue to Pinkham. I'm assuming the parking at the highland center won't be an issue on a tues if I stay there.

  12. #32
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    AMC took down the sign for guests only at Highland Center but there is parking at the old railroad station.

  13. #33
    Registered User Kaptainkriz's Avatar
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    Thanks peakbagger!
    Quote Originally Posted by peakbagger View Post
    AMC took down the sign for guests only at Highland Center but there is parking at the old railroad station.

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