• Activities:

    Chillin, Photography, Snowshoeing, Backpacking, Hiking

  • Skill Level:


  • Season:


  • Trail Type:


  • RT Distance:

    7.8 Miles

  • Elevation Gain:

    2200 Feet

Easy Parking
Family Friendly

Carter Notch Hut is one of the few AMC huts that is open in the winter and is a perfect overnight adventure for the person that doesn't want to set up camp!

The nineteen mile brook trail is a winding path up approximately 2200 feet of elevation over the course of 3.9 miles. That distance feels a lot farther when you are breaking trail in 18-24 inches of snow and you are carrying 35 lb packs on your backs.  Luckily we started out early and we able to get up to the hut in the very early afternoon. Much of the trail follows along a river and after a freshly fallen snow, it was absolutely gorgeous. The snow was pristine and sparkling, but we could still hear the water running under the layers of ice. It was definitely a magical hike.There is a junction at the halfway point. Then there is one more junction with the trail up the Wildcats. From that junction you are heading straight down about 0.3 miles to the 2 small lakes that Carter Notch Hut is nestled between. It is a very special spot. After dropping off packs, you could continue an additional 0.7 miles up to Wildcat A or 1.2 miles to summit Carter Dome (2 4000 footers in the area). Exhausted from breaking trail, we chose to enjoy the wood stove and hot chocolate in the hut instead. 

The hut in the winter provides guests with purified water, baked goods (for purchase) and use of the kitchen. They also keep the fire going until 9pm when it's lights out. There are 3 separate bunkhouses, and overall the hut sleeps about 40 people. There were only 15 of us on this chilly night in March! Bunkrooms have either 4 beds or 6 and are of course not heated at all, so when temps dipped below zero, we were feeling it! There is a separate building with bathrooms that have compost toilets. Everything is very well cared for by the winter caretaker who has lots of responsibilities that I was glad someone else was doing! 

I have never been someone who has been jazzed about winter camping, but I have to say watching the sun set and the stars come out in the mountains is so different than in the summer. There is a peacefulness in the air that I had never experienced before. It was cold, but man it was worth it. 

Check here for overnight availability: https://www.outdoors.org/lodging-camping/huts/carter/#

Pack List

  • Snowshoes/poles
  • Crampons
  • Sleeping bag (rated to zero if you have it: mine was rated to 15 and I filled it with hand and toe warmers. I was okay but if you have a warmer bag definitely take it!)
  • Insulated bottles (for hiking)
  • Non insulated water bottles (empty so you can make a hot water bottle for your sleeping bag later)
  • Dinner (we opted for freeze dried stuff but there is access to a full kitchen so some people brought eggs/ground beef/ all kinds of things to make real food)
  • Snacks
  • Warm layers (base layers, down, extra socks- up to 4 pairs, gloves)
  • Hand and toe warmers
  • Camera
  • Headlamp

The bunkhouses have mattresses and pillows so no need for sleeping pads!

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Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures. Be aware of local regulations and don't damage these amazing places for the sake of a photograph. Learn More

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Danielle Tourigny Explorer

Maine resident and Physician Assistant student with a love of all things nature. Traveling around to find the most beautiful spots and most delicious eats.

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