Another Awesome Run – New Hampshire’s Pemi Loop

I’m excited to share an update about another great run for 5x5x5 - my effort to run 5 iconic trails over 5 months to raise $5K for World Central Kitchen's relief work in Ukraine (see This one was in New Hampshire’s White Mountains – on the Pemigewasset Loop trail. A little over 30 miles, this trail traverses a ton of peaks (I lost count during the day) and has out–of–this-world views, especially if you’re lucky enough to be doing the trail on a clear day. (It’s the White Mountains, so weather–wise anything can happen ... but I got lucky!)

First, as always … what’s the link to starting an apparel brand? Well, at the parking lot before I set out for the day I met a couple of other folks who were headed out that day too. We chatted for a few minutes, and I mentioned my 5x5x5 effort to raise money for World Central Kitchen … and they unexpectedly gave me a donation. (Thank you anonymous Pemi hikers!) Later that day, it dawned on me that I have to keep telling people about what I’m doing with 5x5x5 to keep raising money for WCK … which is ALSO like what we're doing to make progress with Mill & Mountain … where I think we’re getting better at sharing what we’re doing on Instagram and elsewhere. (If you’re not already following us on Instagram, please do at mill.and.mountain. And thank you!)

Now back to the run ... The Pemigewasset Wilderness is a huge federally designated wilderness area in New Hampshire. It’s part of the White Mountains National Forest, and the largest wilderness area in New Hampshire. It’s also a little south and west of the presidential range in New Hampshire, which includes Mt. Washington. It’s definitely rugged!

This trail is a loop – so no tricky logistics with cars or bikes or any of that. You come right back to where you started. I started at the trailhead near the town of Lincoln, New Hampshire. (Bring your National Parks pass to park in the lot, or some cash to buy a day parking pass.) I got there a little before 5 AM and there were quite a few people in the lot already. I wouldn’t say it was crowded in the lot or on the trail … I probably saw 150-200 people throughout the day … but it wasn’t exactly a solo experience either.

The trail starts out flat-ish for a couple of miles, and then ascends the ridge to the first of the peaks of the day – Mt. Flume. Then there’s Mt. Liberty, Little Haystack Mountain, Mt. Lincoln, North Lincoln, Mt. Lafayette, Mt. Garfield, Galehead Mountain, South Twin, Mount Guyot, and Mt. Bond. Did I mention that there are lots of peaks? There are! See the vertical pic below to get a sense of it. The other thing is that the areas on the vertical relief map that look “flat“… really aren’t. There are tons of steep little ups and downs, plus the regular rocks, roots & mud typical of trails in the Appalachian mountains. This is definitely a trail that’s tricky to “run.” At one point I was descending what felt like a waterfall! Anyway, notwithstanding all that – the views are amazing, the other people are awesome, and it was definitely worth it!

Gear. Poles are super helpful for all the climbs. Trail runners are better than road shoes. A lot of the trail is above treeline, so sunglasses are a good idea – especially if the weather is clear and sunny. I carried some layers in case it got cold, but I ended up being in a t-shirt all day.

Water. Plenty is available if you’re willing to carry a filter, less so if not. I drank a bunch before I started and carried close to 2 liters. This kept me going until I could fill up at the Galehead Hut near the halfway point – which kept me going the rest of the day. Just something to be aware of. 

Food. Nothing special - bars, gels, chews, PB&Js, hydration mix sachets. A turkey sandwich would have been nice. But none were available!

Upshot. Amazing trail, amazing views! It took me just under 12 hours to go just over 30 miles – so not exactly a fast pace. Doing it a day is totally doable – just get an early start!