Outdoor winter adventure with the AMC

Promoting the protection, enjoyment, and understanding of the mountains, forests, waters, and Highland_Dodge_01_021709trails of America’s Northeast and Mid-Atlantic regions, the Appalachian Mountain Club (AMC) maintains two AMC lodges  and a fabulous collection of huts in Mt Washington Valley, NH. The Highland Center in Crawford Notch in Bretton Woods and the Joe Dodge Lodge in Pinkham Notch in Gorham both offer lodge-style accommodations, hearty family-style meals and a bonus of plenty of hiking and scenic beauty right out the back door.

Both lodges provide accommodations and dining for those seeking recreational adventures or a relaxing weekend in a nature-focused atmosphere. Outdoor programs, guided tours, conservation initiatives and volunteer opportunities are also integral parts of both AMC centers. If you’re into exploring the back country in the winter or other seasons, make these AMC lodges your home base. Both the Highland Center and Joe Dodge Lodge offer premier ski and back-country adventures that let you enjoy the great outdoors in a whole new way.

Bretton Woods’ cross-country ski network leads right up to the Highland Center’s back-door,offering unprecedented access to these trails. . And unlike anywhere else you will stay, the Highland Center also offers a completely stocked gear room with everything from backpacks, tents, and walking sticks to jackets, pants and other gear to make enjoyment of the outdoors safe and comfortable.  All this is unbelievably free to guests staying at the Highland Center.

Looking for a guided nature tour? Reserve a spot in the “Ski with an AMC Naturalist.” This program leaves from the Joe Dodge Lodge in Pinkham Notch and is a light trek on Nordic skis where AMC guides will identify animal tracks on the Great Glen Trails network.

For a more advanced adventure, the Winter Ecology and Exploration Series includes a day long exploration on snowshoes in search of animal tracks and signs, a discussion on how animals survive in the White Mountains during winter, identifying winter trees by bark and bud, snow pack science, winter bird ecology and much more. This program leaves from the AMC Highland Center in Bretton Woods.

5250016835_710d2cb8c9_bSki the infamous backcountry of Mount Washington. Tuckerman and Huntington Ravine are revered backcountry trails that lead to basins and bowls that provide outdoor adventure for intermediate and advanced skiers and hikers. Book a room at either the Joe Dodge Lodge and hike to Tuckerman Ravine, or stay at the Highland Center and hike to Huntington Ravine and spend your day skiing uncharted territory. Return to the outdoor centers at the end of the day for comfortable lodging and a warm meal. Overnight guests dine on a breakfast buffet and sit-down family-style dinner of home-baked bread, soup, salad, entrée and dessert. Vegetarian options are always available as well as a one kid-friendly dinner option. Dietary restrictions can be met by notifying guest services. (Note:  during the winter be sure to check for avalanche and other trail conditions warnings in these ravines).

The AMC Highland Center also offers overnight guided hikes that lead you from the center to the AMC’s hut system along the Appalachian Trail. Choose the “Guided Lodge to Hut Adventure: Snowshoe to Lonesome Lake Hut,” in early February and you’ll be treated to forest exploration, identification of wintertime birds, investigating animal tracks and taking in the spectacular views of Franconia Notch in the White Mountain National Forest. Once you make it to the Lonesome Lake Hut, steaming hot chocolate awaits to warm you up. You’ll spend the evening at the hut, preparing a group dinner, checking out the winter sky at night and learning about winter ecology in the White Mountains. The terrain is beginner to moderate and the pace will be comfortable with plenty of time to explore and learn.

Other programs at the AMC Highland Center and Joe Dodge Lodge include Family Adventure WGC-AMC-8196Camps which combine five days of outdoor adventure with mountain hospitality, surrounded by the White Mountain National Forest. Camps are kid-friendly and itineraries are planned with all-inclusive programs, daily guided activities, meals and lodging. Sample activities include; nature walks, map and compass seminars, rescue dog demo, forest explorations, moderate hikes and evening programs set around a campfire. Social hours and group dining are also part of the week’s program.

For more information and a complete listing of classes, click the links below or reserve by calling guest services at the Highland Center, 603-278-4453 or at Joe Dodge Lodge, 800-262-4455.

The AMC has so many options for families and adventure seekers. Engage your family in a Mt. Washington Valley vacation with the promise of spotting wildlife or trying a new activity such as learning to read a map and compass or snowshoeing. Advanced outdoor enthusiasts will enjoy the rustic and welcoming setting of the Highland Center and Joe Dodge Lodge plus a wide array of programs to take advantage of all the White Mountains have to offer.

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