Appalachian Trail (AT) thru-hikers passing through the White Mountains this season will be able to save a few bucks on backcountry shelter and campsite fees, thanks to a new camping deal rolled out this spring by AMC.
After a thru-hiker has paid the standard $10 to spend a night at one of the designated campsites maintained by AMC, he or she can save 50 percent on subsequent stays at other AMC campsites along the trail. The potential savings would add up to $40 if a hiker stayed a night at each site.
In addition, the pass—essentially a punch card—can be presented for one free bowl of soup and up to two free baked goods at any of AMC’s eight high-mountain huts. The pass is also good for a 10-percent discount on such items as headlamp batteries, maps, or moleskin purchased at a hut or at Pinkham Notch Visitor Center.
AMC maintains 14 backcountry campsites along the Appalachian Trail in the White Mountains and the Mahoosucs. Some sites feature three-sided or Adirondack-style shelters, as well as tenting areas. Nine sites charge fees, while another four in the Mahoosucs and one in the Whites are free.
Fees help cover the costs of site maintenance and trail work, as well as human waste composting, which reduces impacts on natural resources and helps protect nearby water sources. While the fees are a critical element of support, AMC subsidizes the program with funds from other sources.
Just the same, “AMC understands the challenges the thru-hiker community faces through the White Mountains and this new pass is working on making their experience a little easier,” says Joe Roman, AMC’s campsite program and conservation manager.
The pass is available to any northbound, southbound, flip-flop, or section hiker at the nine AMC sites where a fee is charged, is valid for up to two weeks, and is not transferable. Northbound hikers will encounter participating campsites in the following order: Kinsman Pond, Liberty Springs, Garfield Ridge, Thirteen Falls, Guyot, Ethan Pond, Nauman, Imp, and Speck Pond.
Roman says approximately 2,000 thru-hikers completed the trail last year, and results of a 2016 survey of thru-hikers indicate that approximately 75 percent stay at AMC’s backcountry campsites for an average of three nights.
AMC has launched other efforts designed to assist thru-hikers navigating the region, including the publication of a thru-hikers’ guide to the Whites and Mahoosucs; a work-for-stay program at its huts and shelters; and the revamping of its AT web pages to include links to local resources and tips for thru-hikers.
AMC also provides thru-hikers with free maps of the AT through the Whites and the Mahoosucs. Included are tips on navigating potentially confusing stretches of trail and historic names of trail segments that predated creation of the AT.