Zealand, Guyot, and the Bonds

Destinations:  Zealand Mtn. (4260'), Zeacliff Outlook (3700'), Mt. Guyot (4580'), West Bond (4540'), Mt. Bond (4698'), Bondcliff (4265'), Zealand Pond (2457'), Zealand Falls, Zealand Falls Hut (2630'), Zeacliff Pond (3750')
Trails:  Zealand Trail, Twinway, Appalachian Trail, Zealand Spur, West Bond Spur, Bondcliff Trail, Wilderness Trail, Lincoln Woods Trail
Region:  NH - Central East  
White Mountain National Forest, Pemigewasset Wilderness
Location:  Bethlehem, NH
Rating:  Moderate  
Features:  Summits, views, 4000-footers, rivers, brooks, backpack
Distance:  20.9 miles  
Elevation Gain:  4720 feet (cumulative)  
Hiking Time:  Typical: 12:50  
Outing Duration:  Typical: 19:00  
Outing Duration:  See the Mileage Splits section for daily estimates  
Season:  Summer
Hike Date:  08/14/2009 (Friday) (2 days)  
Last Updated:  11/05/2009  
Weather:  Humid
Author:  Kathy V.
Companion:  Cathie

View (photo by Kathy V.)
View (photo by Kathy V.)

Route Summary   

This is a two-day point-to-point backpack traversing Zealand Mountain, Mount Guyot, West Bond, Mount Bond, and Bondcliff. Although all five peaks are over 4,000 feet, Mount Guyot does not qualify for the 4000-footer list. All peaks, except for Zealand Mountain offer excellent views. Other great views are encountered along the way at Zealand Falls Hut, the Zeacliff Outlook, and some spots directly on the trail. The route also passes within a few strides of Zealand Pond and Zealand Falls and within 0.1 mile of Zeacliff Pond.

Day 1: Zeacliff, Zealand, Guyot, and West Bond:
  • Start at the end of Zealand Road and head up Zealand Trail for 2.5 miles until reaching the end of the trail at Zealand Pond.
    • After hiking up the gentle Zealand Trail for 0.8 mile, you will reach Zealand River where the trail curves to the right and a short spur path leads left to the shoreline of the river.
    • A mile farther along Zealand Trail will bring you to a pretty wetlands area crossed by a sturdy boardwalk.
    • A half-mile after that A-Z Trail goes off to the left; continue straight on Zealand Trail.
    • Just 0.2 mile more of easy walking and you will arrive at Zealand Pond on the right where a few strides off the trail will bring you to the shoreline of the pond at a small opening in the trees.
    • Just beyond this point, Zealand Trail ends as it meets Ethan Pond Trail and Twinway. Twinway is part of the Appalachian Trail.
  • At the junction of Zealand Trail, Ethan Pond Trail, and Twinway/Appalachian Trail, bear right to follow Twinway/Appalachian Trail while Ethan Pond Trail veers off to the left. At this point you are only 0.2 mile away from Zealand Falls Hut. Between here and the hut are two access points to Zealand Falls.
    • The first access spot to the falls is where the main trail veers right and there is an obvious path to the left. Follow the side trail for about 40 feet and you'll be at the tail end of Zealand Falls where there is a series of small cascades.
    • Returning to the main path, the trail climbs steeply up toward the hut via stone steps. About halfway up this pitch, is another spur leading to the left, only about 20 feet long, and it brings you to the main section of Zealand Falls where the water drops straight down a 15-foot high cliff. If you're feeling a bit adventurous, you can work your way down the embankment and then across the stream to the ledgy area directly at the foot of the falls.
  • Back on the main trail, tackle the final portion of the steep climb to arrive at Zealand Falls Hut. Here you may want to make a quick detour, just beyond the hut, to the left of the main trail to Whitewall Brook which slides across slanted open ledges before dropping sharply below. There are good views from these ledges.
  • From the front porch of the hut, turn right onto Twinway which is also part of the Appalachian Trail.
  • After barely 0.1 mile, turn left to keep on Twinway/Appalachian Trail while Lend-A-Hand Trail goes straight/right.
  • Follow Twinway/Appalachian Trail for an additional 1.1 miles then keep going straight, leaving the official Twinway/Appalachian Trail route which turns right. After about 50 yards you will reach the Zeacliff outlook.
  • Continue on the spur to rejoin Twinway/Appalachian Trail just a short ways past the outlook.
  • Zeacliff Trail goes off to the left about 0.1 mile later; stay straight on Twinway/Appalachian Trail.
  • After 0.4 mile, a spur path leads left 0.1 mile to the shore of Zeacliff Pond.
  • Continuing on the main trail, progress 1.2 miles farther then look for a small cairn and sign indicating the spur to Zealand Mountain on the right.
  • Turn right and follow the path for 0.1 mile to the summit of the viewless peak.
  • Retrace your steps for 0.1 mile on the spur, then turn right to resume your trek on Twinway/Appalachian Trail.
  • Another 1.2 miles of first downhill then uphill hiking will bring you to the summit of Mount Guyot with good views.
  • Continue across Mount Guyot for about 0.1 mile where Twinway/Appalachian Trail meets with Bondcliff Trail.
  • Turn left onto Bondcliff Trail, leaving Twinway/Appalachian Trail which continues to the right.
  • After 0.6 mile, turn left onto the spur for Guyot Campsite while Bondcliff Trail continues straight ahead.
  • Descend on the spur for 0.2 mile to Guyot Campsite.
  • After getting your gear settled and taking a break, climb up 0.2 mile on the spur back to Bondcliff Trail.
  • Turn left onto Bondcliff Trail and follow it for 0.2 mile where you will find the junction with West Bond Spur on the right.
  • Turn right on West Bond Spur following it first downhill, then uphill for 0.5 mile which will bring you to the summit of West Bond.
  • After enjoying the views, retrace your steps for 0.5 on West Bond Spur until meeting Bondcliff Trail.
  • Turn left on Bondcliff Trail and follow it for 0.2 mile.
  • Turn right on the campsite spur, descending for 0.2 mile back to Guyot Campsite.

Day 2: Mt. Bond and Bondcliff:
  • From Guyot Campsite, climb for 0.2 mile to reach Bondcliff Trail.
  • Turn left onto Bondcliff Trail and follow it for 0.7 mile to the summit of Mount Bond.
  • After enjoying the views, continue across the summit on Bondcliff Trail for 1.2 miles where you will reach the summit of Bondcliff.
  • After another break to take in the scenery, keep going on Bondcliff Trail for another 4.4 miles until it ends upon meeting Wilderness Trail.
  • Turn right onto Wilderness Trail and follow the level trail for 1.8 miles where it becomes Lincoln Woods Trail after crossing Franconia Brook via a long footbridge.
  • Still on level ground, hike for 2.9 miles on Lincoln Woods Trail until it ends at the parking area off of Kancamagus Highway.

Roots on Zealand Trail (photo by Kathy V.)
Roots on Zealand Trail (photo by Kathy V.)

Day 1: Zeacliff, Zealand, Guyot, and West Bond:
Place         Split
Miles
     Total
Miles
Zealand Trail parking area (2000') 0.0 0.0
Zealand River (2200') 0.8 0.8
Beaver swamp zigzag bridge (2400') 1.0 1.8
Jct. Zealand Trail / A-Z Trail (2450') 0.5 2.3
Zealand Pond and Jct. Ethan Pond Trail / Twinway / Zealand Trail (2460') 0.2 2.5
Zealand Falls 0.1 2.6
Zealand Falls Hut (2630') 0.1 2.7
Zeacliff outlook (3700') 1.2 3.9
Jct. Twinway/Spur to Zealand (4250') 1.7 5.6
Zealand Mtn. summit (4260') 0.1 5.7
Jct. Twinway/Spur to Zealand (4250') 0.1 5.8
Mt. Guyot (4580') 1.2 7.0
Jct. Bondcliff Trail/Campsite Spur (4360') 0.7 7.7
Guyot Campsite (4110') 0.2 7.9
Jct. Bondcliff Trail/Campsite Spur (4360') 0.2 8.1
Jct. Bondcliff Trail/West Bond Spur (4500') 0.2 8.3
West Bond summit (4540') 0.5 8.8
Jct. Bondcliff Trail/West Bond Spur (4500') 0.5 9.3
Jct. Bondcliff Trail/Campsite Spur (4360') 0.2 9.5
Guyot Campsite (4110') 0.2 9.7

Daily Rating: Moderate
Daily Elevation Gain: 3970 feet (cumulative)
Daily Typical Hiking Time: 6:50
Daily Typical Outing Duration: 11:00

Day 2: Mt. Bond and Bondcliff:
Place         Split
Miles
     Total
Miles
Guyot Campsite (4110') 0.0 0.0
Jct. Bondcliff Trail/Campsite Spur (4360') 0.2 0.2
Mt. Bond summit (4698') 0.7 0.9
Bondcliff summit (4265') 1.2 2.1
Jct. Bondcliff Trail/Wilderness Trail (1600') 4.4 6.5
Jct. Wilderness Trail/Lincoln Woods Trail (1440') 1.8 8.3
Lincoln Woods Trailhead (1160') 2.9 11.2

Daily Rating: Easy/Moderate
Daily Elevation Gain: 750 feet (cumulative)
Daily Typical Hiking Time: 6:00
Daily Typical Outing Duration: 8:00

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Trail map of hike route to Zealand, Guyot, and the Bonds (map by Webmaster)

 




  Trail Guide   

This two-day backpack covered over 20 miles and summited five peaks above 4,000 feet. The first day we started at Zealand Trail in Bethlehem, New Hampshire and summited Zealand Mountain, Mount Guyot, and West Bond. We stayed overnight at Guyot Campsite. The next day we hiked up Mount Bond and Bondcliff then completed the long trek out to Kancamagus Highway in Lincoln, New Hampshire.

Since this is a long trip report, I've divided it into sections:

Day 1: Zeacliff, Zealand, Guyot, and West Bond
Day 2: Mt. Bond and Bondcliff


Day 1: Zeacliff, Zealand, Guyot, and West Bond   

In preparation for our two-day backpack, we headed up to the mountains Thursday afternoon, and after spotting a car in Lincoln Woods, went to Twin Mountain to camp. We got up later than expected Friday morning, had a quick breakfast and went off to the trail. We left the second vehicle with the wet tents draped all over and were on the trail by 8:00 a.m. Zealand Trail was very mellow except for the last 0.2 mile to Zealand Falls Hut. There were roots at the beginning, but otherwise it was fairly dry and easy.

We met two folks along the trail – a man and his wife, both in their 80's. We left them at the hut and headed up towards Zeacliff. This was not as easy as the trail to the hut, but going slow and steady got us up the 1.2 miles in just under an hour. Not bad with 30-pound packs. Views were great, though it was quite hazy, with Mount Washington completely in the clouds. The heat and humidity were beginning to get to us. It was very sticky.

After a quick snack we were off towards Mount Guyot. The first bog bridge seemed to be above water until it was stepped on and quickly sunk. We made it across with our boots mostly dry. The hike up to Zealand Mountain was steeper than we expected, with two tricky spots including a little scrambling and an additional area with a ladder that made that section much easier.

Ladder on Twinway between Zeacliff Pond and Zealand Mountain
(photo by Kathy V.)
Ladder on Twinway between Zeacliff Pond and Zealand Mountain (photo by Kathy V.)

Muddy trail conditions took some extra time. At the spur path (0.1 mile) leading to Zealand's summit we made the very muddy traverse. Nothing spectacular, no views, just a small wooden sign. Didn't even stop for pictures as there was a group of guys spread out. Back to the junction for a short break for lunch.

From here to Guyot was rather uneventful. Black flies (gnats?) and horseflies were relentless. Neither of us had bug spray, but we probably wouldn't have used it if we did have it. At one point Cathie was fed up with the horsefly that was harassing her. She asked me to get rid of it. Unfortunately, it kept landing on her head, which made for some rather comical moments as I was smacking her, but the fly seemed to get away each time. At this point we did meet one of the five people we saw all day on that trail. He swore he saw nothing. Hmmm...

Continuing with the hike, there were some open ledges providing glimpses of views along the way but for the most part we were completely within the trees. We finally arrived at the above-treeline view of the trail over to the open summit of Guyot. By this time we were soaked with sweat. The humidity seemed to be getting worse.

Mount Guyot (photo by Kathy V.)
Mount Guyot (photo by Kathy V.)

From there it was a short 0.7 mile to the spur path for the shelter and tent platforms at Guyot Campsite. That 0.2 mile down to the shelter was tough after the previous eight. We arrived around 3:00 p.m. Ryan, the caretaker, was around doing trail work and told us there were still one or two open platforms and room in the shelter. He said the water from the spring is not tested so we might want to filter or treat it. He also suggested a sunset hike up to West Bond. HA HA. He described the trail as "mellow" and the uphill portion as "insignificant." All things relative, we figure Ryan is about 23 and lives to hike. Being more than twice his age (me, and Cathie not far behind), we wondered at his choice of adjectives.

For the time being, we opted for the last open platform rather than the shelter. We quickly set up our tent and bivy before the bugs got too bad. We got water, treated it with iodine tablets and then a phase two neutralizer that worked like magic; cleared both the iodine taste and color. We lounged for a bit, let the sweat dry, (did I mention it was humid?) had dinner, (dehydrated for us both. Cathie loved her lasagna. My curried chicken didn't sit well in my stomach. Ugh!) and decided to get to West Bond that night rather than start the next day with it.

The 0.2 mile back up to the main trail was arduous and seemed much longer than when we'd come down, but we made it. It was discouraging on the West Bond spur path to be going downhill for so long. It's a 0.5-mile long spur, and it seemed like we went down for 0.45 mile and then finally up only for the very last section. There is a bit of a hand-over-hand scramble to the top of a very small summit, but we made it. Mellow and insignificant it was not! The views, however, were spectacular, especially with the late day sun on the Bondcliffs.

View from West Bond (photo by Kathy V.)
View from West Bond (photo by Kathy V.)

We left before we had to use headlamps for our return trek and hit the sack early. Neither of us sleeps well while camping, but I did enjoy the brilliance of the stars and crescent moon.

Day 2: Mt. Bond and Bondcliff   

Up with the sun, choked down breakfast, packed up and hit the trail for the hike up, over and out. We were glad we'd done West Bond the prior night as our legs were feeling it from yesterday's 9.7 miles. The first section up to Mount Bond tested our legs some more and we were both wondering what the heck we were thinking with all that weight on our backs, with the sweat already dripping because – you guessed it – it was humid. Before we knew it though, we were on the summit of Bond with great views. Us and about 3 billion bugs. It was crazy, hazy and hot so we made quick work of it and headed down into the trees for the traverse over to Bondcliff.

Footing was tricky along this section until we began the uphill trek but it was well worth the effort. It was nice to be looking across Owl's Head Mountain to the backsides of Mounts Lincoln, Lafayette and Garfield, where we'd been a few weeks earlier. Five major peaks (four that count on 4000-footer list) within 20 hours. Wooo Hooo!!

View (photo by Kathy V.)
View (photo by Kathy V.)

We took a break here, met a man and his son from Portsmouth who were heading out the same way but needed a lift back to the Zealand trailhead where they'd left their only car. They were in luck – we were headed back that way and offered them a ride. They hiked a bit faster than us, but since it was either us or sticking out their thumbs, I think they were happy to wait at the bottom.

At first it was a relief to be off the summit and into the trees, but after a while the mud really got tricky and it was time consuming placing each footstep. Side-stepping into the trees was a test with the branches pulling on the backpacks. By the time we got to Wilderness Trail, 4.4 miles later, we were pretty tired and ready to be done; but we had almost 5 miles left.

Some say that last stretch is boring; we were just glad it was flat. The packs didn't seem to be getting any lighter despite the fact that I'd finished off most of my 50+ ounces of water. We stopped for lunch at the Pemigewasset River (East Branch) and soaked our tired feet then hit the trail once more for the last stage. We made those five miles in good time, under two hours.

9.7 miles the first day, 11.2 the second – more than we usually hike but well worth the effort.
 

 


NH - Central East

  Driving Directions   

The starting point for this hike is the Zealand Trailhead, located in Bethlehem, New Hampshire. The endpoint is the Lincoln Woods Trailhead, located in Lincoln, New Hampshire.

Zealand Trailhead

From the East:
  • Traveling on Rt. 302 West, Zealand Road is about 9.2 miles west of the Willey House Historical Site, and about 6.5 miles west of the AMC Highland Center. Zealand Road as well as both of these landmarks are all on the left-hand side of the road.
  • Turn left onto Zealand Road.
  • 3.5 miles from Rt. 302, Zealand Road ends and there is a large parking area on the left.
  • The trailhead is straight-ahead from the road.

From the West:
  • From the junction of Routes 302 and 3 in Carroll (Twin Mountain), go east on Route 302.
  • After 2.1 miles, turn right onto Zealand Road.
  • 3.5 miles from Rt. 302, Zealand Road ends and there is a large parking area on the left.
  • The trailhead is straight-ahead from the road.

Lincoln Woods Trailhead

From Rt. 16:
  • From Rt. 16, turn west onto Rt. 112 (Kancamagus Highway).
  • Travel for about 30 miles, then turn right into the signed Lincoln Woods parking lot.
  • This turn is about 5.5 miles after the hairpin turn in Hancock Notch.
  • The trailhead starts to the left of the visitor's center which is straight-ahead when you drive into the parking lot.

From I-93:
  • From I-93, take exit 32, and head east on Rt. 112 (Kancamagus Highway).
  • Travel for about 5 miles, then turn left into the signed Lincoln Woods parking lot.
  • This turn is just after the highway bridge crossing the East Branch of the Pemigewasset River, and is 0.3 mile after Hancock Campground which is on the right.
  • The trailhead starts to the left of the visitor's center which is straight-ahead when you drive into the parking lot.

Winter: Zealand Road is closed to vehicular travel during the winter, although hikers and skiers are welcome to use it. Snowmobile trails also intersect the road in a couple spots. There is a large winter parking lot on Route 302, 0.2 mile east of Zealand Road. Parking here instead of at the far end of Zealand Road adds 3.7 miles and 500 feet of elevation gain to the hike.

Check out the White Mountain National Forest's road status page for the most up-to-date information on road closures.

Facilities   

  • Bathrooms at the Zealand trailhead parking lot.
  • Zealand Falls Hut has bathrooms and kitchen and lodging facilities.
  • Bathrooms at the Lincoln Woods trailhead parking lot.

Other Notes   

A parking permit is required to park at White Mountain National Forest trailheads and parking areas. You can purchase a WMNF permit from the forest service and other vendors and can also pay-by-the-day using self-service kiosks located in many parking areas.

For more information on parking passes please refer to the White Mountain National Forest website.

Rates:
  • $3 per day
  • $5 for a week-long pass
  • $20 for a year-long pass
  • $25 for two year-long passes (one household/two cars)

More Zealand, Zeacliff, Guyot, Bonds Trail Reports   

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