Note: For complete trail descriptions, times, elevation, trailhead directions, and major features, see the AMC White Mountain Guide or try our new White Mountain Guide Online.
A trip to Mt. Garfield’s rocky summit (4,500 ft.) rewards hikers with a panoramic view of the surrounding Franconia Ridge and Franconia and Lincoln Brooks valleys.
Moderate-Strenuous: Hikers normally opt to take the Garfield Trail to access the summit. This trail, formerly used as a fire tower access road, is a moderate-strenuous hike up Mt. Garfield, with one area of steep pitch just below the summit. Garfield Trail joins with the Garfield Ridge Trail just before the peak and hikers continue on the final .2 miles to enjoy the spectacular views from Garfield’s summit.
The AMC’s Garfield Ridge Campsite is located on the Garfield Ridge Trail, just northeast of Garfield’s summit.
The AMC’s Galehead Hut is located at 3800 ft. on the Garfield Ridge, near the Twinway, Garfield Ridge, Frost, and Twin Brook Trails. The hut is open from mid-May to mid-October (caretaker basis in May), offering meals and overnight accommodations.
The AMC’s Greenleaf Hut is located at the junction of the Old Bridle Path and Greenleaf Trail, 4.6 miles from Garfield’s summit. The hut is open from mid-May to mid-October (caretaker basis in May), offering meals and overnight accommodations.
The AMC’s Hiker Shuttle stops at the Old Bridle Path and Gale River trailheads, connecting hikers with The Highland Center and Lafayette Place Campground.
Safety in Summer and early Fall
The AMC recommends all hikers check weather conditions in advance, carry a current map and guidebook, along with a compass and knowledge of how to use it. For recommendations on how to plan a safe hike in the White Mountains, see: The 10 essentials for a safe and pleasant hike.
Winter Hiking on Mount Garfield
Winter hiking anywhere in the White Mountains requires specialized equipment and skills, and experience in coping with weather, navigation, and winter gear. Extremely severe storms can develop suddenly and unexpectedly, especially above treeline. The combination of high wind and low temperatures has such a cooling effect that the worst conditions on Mount Garfield are approximately equal to the worst reported from Antarctica, despite the much greater cold in the latter region. Hikers interested in extending their activities into winter are strongly advised to seek out organized trips with leaders who have extensive winter experience. Several AMC chapters offer winter hiking and backpacking instruction, and AMC offers several guided winter mountaineering trips; search for "Instruction" in AMC's activity listings. Helpful information can also be found in the AMC Guide to Winter Hiking and Camping.