Trail Run Project Logo

black Pemi Loop

  5.0 ( 21 ) Favorite


29.9 mile 48.2 kilometer loop
80% Runnable


Ascent: 7,442' 2,268 m
Descent: -7,426' -2,263 m
High: 5,190' 1,582 m
Low: 1,210' 369 m


Avg Grade: 9% (5°)
Max Grade: 76% (37°)


Driving directions Take a virtual tour
Zoom in to see details
Map Key

Trail shared by Billy Hafferty with improvements by Liz

A beautiful outing, circumnavigating the western half of the Pemigewasset Wilderness.

Billy Hafferty

Features Views


This loop is unforgettable, taking on some of the most beautiful terrain in the Whites. Once treeline is gained the entire loop can be viewed, making for a unique experience in tracking progress through the day.

The trail is mostly technical rock and root. Ascending is steep with some scrambling and stair sections. The ridge lines tend to be the less technical. The loop is made up of many other shorter sections and peaks. This makes for easy bail out options but also tends to crowd the singletrack later in the morning/afternoon. For the most enjoyable running, plan on starting early and catching the sunrise at the first peak. This will ensure a less crowded ridge line and easier running.

Need to Know

The terrain is technical and challenging.

Runner Notes

It might be advisable to hike the loop as a backpacking trip or long day before attempting to run it. Some of the water sources on the Bondcliff Trail may not be reliable; it is safest to only rely on the Galehead Hut for a refill.

The trail is easy to follow after a couple times studying a map or you can use the Trail Run Project mobile app.

Be prepared for self-rescue and weather, as parts of the loop are somewhat remote. Read up on recent conditions and weather, as many water refill options aren't reliably flowing. Studying the map is also helpful; familiarity with the terrain will be crucial in pacing early on and for assessing bail options.


The route begins at the Lincoln Woods trailhead on the Kanc. From here, one can go clockwise or counterclockwise. Clockwise is more popular, taking on the rougher terrain early and allowing for a more "relaxing" second half. Counterclockwise will allow more retreat options later, at the cost of handling rough terrain later on.

From the trailhead, cross the bridge and head along the Lincoln Woods Trail. This is the widest that the trail gets as it is a former rail trail. At the 1.5-mile mark is where you need to decide if you are going CW or CCW. Stay north on the Lincoln Woods Trail for CCW or head westward on the Osseo Trail to start your ascent up Mount Flume (5.3 miles).

Continue on the Franconia Ridge to Mt Liberty, Little Haystack, then to Mt. Lincoln and Mt. Lafayette. Here the trail turns into the Garfield Ridge/ Appalachian Trail (AT) to Mount Garfield. Mile 15.5 is where you can stop in the Galehead Lodge for water and shelter. Continue on Twinway to South Twin Mountain and Mount Guyot. Leave the Appalachian Trail (AT) for the Bondcliff Trail up Mount Bond and Bondcliff. As you descend Bondcliff, you'll meet back up with the Lincoln Woods Trail which you'll take to head back to the trailhead.

Run this trail?

We need help with the following missing trail information:

Flora & Fauna, History & Background

Is something wrong? Let us know. Have photos to share? Help fellow runners know what's here.


Rate This Featured Run

Rate Quality

   Clear Rating

Rate Difficulty

Share This Run

Check In


Jul 5, 2019
Johnson Shen
It's a difficult trail running, good for hiking, not friendly to running. 29.7mi — 9h 25m
Jun 26, 2019
John VH
I went counter clockwise around the loop 30.5mi — 13h 00m
Aug 6, 2017
Weilong You
32mi — 12h 11m
Jul 23, 2016
Mike McLean
With JF — 10h 45m

Trail Ratings

  5.0 from 21 votes


  5.0 from 21 votes
5 Star
4 Star
3 Star
2 Star
1 Star
Featured Run Rankings


6,179 Views Last Month
61,080 Since Sep 27, 2015
Difficult Difficult



Trail Run Project is part of the REI Co-op family,
where a life outdoors is a life well lived.

Shop REI Running