OverviewAppalachian Mountains > White Mountains > Twin Range > South Twin Mountain
Highest peak of its namesake Twin Range, South Twin Mountain is also the eighth-highest mountain in New Hampshire according to the AMC list
and the ninth-highest on the New England Hundred Highest list
. The summit rocks offer long views in all directions, including the highest mountains in New Hampshire: the nearby Franconia Range to the west and southwest, and the Presidential Range
off to the northeast. The view also includes the entire Pemigewassett Wilderness and the Sandwich Range beyond it.
South Twin is a fairly popular day hike from the north, usually after passing over North Twin
but also via the Gale River Trail to Garfield Ridge. The mountain is also commonly climbed as part of a longer hike after a night at Galehead Hut, located on a col to the west of the summit. The hut and the summit lie on the Appalachian Trail, so South Twin gets thousands of visitors each year.
The namesake town of Twin Mountain lies nearby to the north. This name, being written in the singular, implies that South Twin and North Twin are a single mountain, but the USGS and all maps list the two peaks as separate mountains.
from North Twin Trail
The summit of South Twin marks the northern edge of the Pemigewasset Wilderness within the White Mountain National Forest. To get there from anywhere, take Interstate 93. The simplest approach to the mountain is from the north: take route 3 east (just north of Franconia Notch State Park). The trailhead for the North Twin Trail is at the southeast end of Haystack Road, which leaves route 3 about six miles east from route 93.
The simplest route is to take the North Twin Trail
over North Twin and then proceed south on the North Twin Spur
Twinway in late fall
The only other trail to the summit is the Twinway
, which extends from Galehead Hut on a col to the west of South Twin's summit over five miles east to Zealand Falls Hut.
The western end of the Twinway is easily reached from the Gale River Trail
(and a bit of the Garfield Ridge Trail) from the northwest.
Approaching South Twin via the Twinway from the East requires crossing the summit of Mt Guyot, and usually involves a stay at either the Guyot Campsite or the Zealand Falls hut. See the mountain pages for Mount Guyot and Zealand Mountain for more details.
White Mountain National Forest parking $3/day (or get a discount pass
Free parking is available within Franconia Notch State Park, though that makes for a significantly longer walk.
Usual WMNF forest restrictions on hunting, camping, fires, etc. Party sizes limited within the Pemigewasset Wilderness.
Camping AMC High Mountain Huts
The Galehead Hut
is located on the col between Galehead Mountain and the summit of South Twin. It's a short hike from the hut to the summit, though it climbs over a thousand feet in about one mile.
The huts are intended to be about a day's hike apart, though strong hikers may be able to do better. For their sake I will briefly mention two other huts:
The next hut east is Zealand Falls Hut
The next hut west is Greenleaf Hut
Huts are open from mid-May to mid-October (except Zealand Falls Hut, open year-round). Reservations
Trailside Campsites & Shelters
Nothing in close proximity, but three that are not too far are:
Garfield Ridge Campsite & Shelter, located near the summit of Mt Garfield
Thirteen Falls Tentsite, located two miles down the Twin Brook Trail from the Galehead Hut - another 1000 feet elevation loss
Guyot Campsite & Shelter, located between Mt Guyot and Mt Bond.
Allowed, subject to the following rules:
Unless otherwise posted, you may only camp:
* Below treeline (where trees are 8 feet or taller).
(exception: in winter you may camp above treeline if there is at least three feet of snow under your tent (but you may not camp over bodies of water).
* At least 200 feet from the trail and water sources.
* At least a quarter of a mile from any road or facility (ie, campsite, platform, shelter, hut).
There are many in this part of New Hampshire. SP member Whitelief informs me that there are some on the Gale River Rd. Here's a NH directory
with some more.
When To Climb
Year-round. Note that many trailheads will be difficult to reach in winter due to road closures. Road status
remember, the summit may be windy!
David Brin wrote, "In the mountains, there are only two seasons. One of them is called
winter." Things aren't quite so simple in the Whites - we also have Mud Season and Black Fly Season. And it's fair to say there's a (short) summer. But as long as you're prepared, it's possible to climb South Twin in any season. In winter, it is advisable to carry both snowshoes and crampons, though some days you may need neither. In spring and fall, you may want to avoid the stream crossings on the North Twin Trail, or be very well prepared for tough, cold crossings.