Hiking the New England 67 4,000-Footers
After completing the New Hampshire 48 4,000-footers, local hikers may find themselves wondering what to do next. Many continue on to pursue variations of the 48 (Winter 48, Four-Season 48, Gridding) and others will broaden their horizons beyond New Hampshire to neighboring states. Earning another patch and seeing what trails look like in Vermont and Maine are just two reasons hikers begin working on the New England 67. Summiting 19 more peaks after already doing 48 may seem like an easy task to complete, but depending on where you’re located, it could take some time. Many of the mountains on the NE 67 are spread apart, which means more driving and more planning goes into completing these peaks.
The New England 67 Rules
Just like completing the New Hampshire 48, finishing the New England 67 requires that hikers follow specific rules. The AMC Four Thousand Footer Club website has the rules outlined here for completing the peaks. If you’re working on the 48 and the 67 at the same time (some people start with the 67 because the peaks in Maine and Vermont are closer for them), then check out this article, which outlines in much more detail the ins and outs of the 48 4,000-footers of New Hampshire.
The Peaks on the New England 67 – Maine
All of the mountains on the New England 67 list have maintained trails, with the exception of Redington in Maine. This mountain has no marked trail and is the hardest peak to navigate on the list. The rest of the mountains in Maine have maintained trails. Many are on the Appalachian Trail and hiking them during peak thru-hiker season can be a very exciting experience. The peaks in Maine reminded me a lot of the mountains in New Hampshire. The trails were well marked and maintained, but the large ups and downs, along with the larger amount of roots and rock scrambles, made me feel right at home in a different state.
It made sense financially for me to hike the 14 peaks in Maine by grouping them together and hitting several at once. I hiked Old Speck individually because it’s an outlier. Next, I booked a hotel in Rangeley and hiked all of the 4,000-footers in that region in four days. Finally, I spent the night in Baxter State Park and hit North Brother, Hamlin, and Baxter for my 67 finish. Completing so many mountains in such a short span of time pushed me physically and taught me that I can accomplish some pretty amazing things. It also helped me save on gas and put less wear on my vehicle.
The Peaks on the New England 67 – Vermont
Vermont’s 4,000-footers are all on the Long Trail and are spread far from each other, with the exception of Ellen and Abraham. Summiting each of the five peaks meant driving out and back to various parts of Vermont four times. I completed all five of the summits in a week and then quickly moved on to Maine. Unfortunately, this meant I had less time to focus and really absorb my surroundings when I hiked Vermont.
The difference I noticed most between the peaks in Vermont and the ones in New Hampshire and Maine is that they seem more rolling and the trails were very well marked. I never had to wonder where the trail was and there were even employees of the Green Mountain Club stationed on top of the peaks with alpine vegetation, there to guide and answer questions. There were several Long Trail End-to-Enders hiking when I completed the five peaks for the 67 and meeting these thru-hikers was just another perk of finishing these peaks in summer.
Difficulty/Time to Complete
Most people take several months to complete the final 19 peaks needed for the New England 67. However, how someone goes about completing this list varies. For someone who completes all of New Hampshire and then moves on to working on the 67, completion time will be less than someone doing the 67 and the 48 all at the same time. It took me 36 days to complete the 67, which is very fast. I am lucky that I have summers off and can spend all of my free time hiking. I also planned out my hikes so that I could hit as many peaks as possible in a single trip.
Starting with Vermont was easier than starting with Maine. I found that the peaks in Maine are just more rugged. With the exception of Mansfield, I found the trails less steep and much more forgiving in Vermont. I started with the farthest peaks in Vermont, to get the driving out of the way in the beginning, then worked my way south. Completing the mountains in this order meant ending on Killington. Killington was the most unexciting peak in Vermont, but I wasn’t as focused on exciting at that point; I was more focused on finishing and moving on to Maine.
I am completely happy with the order in which I did all of the peaks in Maine, and if I were to do them again I would go in the same order. Starting with Old Speck was a great introduction to Maine. Completing all of the peaks in the Rangeley Lakes Region at once was like a mini-backpacking adventure, and finishing in Baxter was incomparable.
The Redington bushwhack was the most difficult part of all the mountains simply because there is no marked trail. I did a lot of research and contacted several local hikers through social media to get advice on navigating to Redington. I took notes and screenshots off this video from a local hiker and it helped immensely in making my hike a success.
The peaks that I enjoyed most in Vermont were Mount Abraham and Mount Ellen. Completing both of these peaks in a single out-and-back hike made most sense for me, and the trail between the two peaks was what I loved most about this hike. There are technically five peaks that you summit when doing Abraham and Ellen along the Long Trail. The ups and downs of these five summits are gradual and rolling, and the trail itself is gorgeous. There are no views from the summit of Mount Ellen but the trail and the views from the summit of Abraham more than make up for it.
I can say without a doubt that Baxter and Hamlin Peaks were the most beautiful mountains I hiked in Maine. However, I very much enjoyed the views on the Bigelows and the Saddlebacks as well. Maine has become one of my favorite states to hike in since completing the 67, and every one of the mountains I’ve hiked in that state holds a special place in my heart. I highly recommend everyone, even non-hikers, spend a weekend in Baxter State Park. There are endless outdoor activities to do there, and the park is beautiful.
Suggested Peak to Start
I would recommend starting with Killington in Vermont because this peak is probably the least exciting of the 19. Killington is just off the Appalachian Trail so it has that going for it, but you end on top of a ski resort, which in my opinion is not the most exciting type of summit. It isn’t the most difficult peak to climb and is the southernmost mountain in Vermont on the list so is easier to access.
On the other hand, if you’re looking for the wow-factor right from the beginning, I would recommend starting with Mount Mansfield. This peak was my first in Vermont and it was beautiful. The summit is completely open and the trail between the Chin and the Nose is beautiful. I will caveat this by saying that the trail I took to the summit (The Long Trail near Eagle Pass) is extremely steep right before the summit and requires some decent rock navigating skills.
Having only completed the peaks in Vermont and Maine in the summer, it’s tough to say what the best time of year is to hike them. Given what I know about hiking in all four seasons in New Hampshire, I know that completing these peaks in any season would be well worth it. However, checking road closures and trail conditions is imperative if you intend to hike these peaks from October to April, especially the peaks in Maine.
Variations of the New England 67
Just like there are various versions of the New Hampshire 48 4,000-footers, there are the same variations of the New England 67. As of December 2018, only four people have completed the 67 Grid. Many more have completed the New England 67 in winter. Additional information on how to apply and what the rules are can be found on the AMC Four Thousand Footer Club website.
To apply for the New England 67 and find out more information, head to the AMC Four Thousand Footer Club website. This site has all of the forms you need to fill out to apply for the patch and to become a member of the 67. Information on trail conditions can be found on this site for all the peaks on the 67 list. Weather plays a huge part in hiking any of the peaks in New England, and can have an impact as early as Oct. 1. I prefer Mountain Forecast to find out conditions on higher summits. I also recommend purchasing a copy of The Long Trail map for all the peaks in Vermont, The Rangeley Lakes Region Map for the peaks in that region of Maine (a must-have), and the AMC Maine Guide and maps for the remainder of the peaks in Maine.
Climbing mountains in another state seemed extremely scary to me when I started working on the 67. For some reason, I imagined that it would be completely different and that I wouldn’t know what I was doing. After finishing my first hike in Vermont, I was excited to continue working on the 67. It was like I was exploring a whole new territory from what I was used to. Stepping out of your comfort zone and away from what’s familiar helps you grow. And, after spending so much time hiking in other states, I found a newly ignited passion for my home state.
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