“A good run through the White Mountains can be had on the way to the Zealand Falls and AMC's Zealand Falls Hut.”
— Carl Lambrecht
Fall Colors · Lake · River/Creek · Views · Waterfall
Parking along the Zealand Road requires a parking permit, available at the trailhead for $5/day (2017).
This trail takes you on a relatively easy 2.8 mile trail through Zealand Notch to the Zealand Falls Hut, managed by the Appalachian Mountain Club. To find the trailhead, turn off Route 302 onto Zealand Road, and follow it to the end. Along the way, you'll see the trailheads for Sugarloaf
and the Hale Brook Trail
. Continue to the end of the road, where a loop provides for some parking at the trailhead. You're more likely to need to park alongside the road itself, but either way, make sure to fill out an envelope at the pay station and hang a parking tag in your car.
The trail begins from the end of the parking lot on a smooth dirt and gravel trail with very little incline. As you continue, you'll wind through woods and along Zealand Brook, crossing over it in various places. At about 1.8 miles, a wooden walkway carries the trail over a wetlands created by beaver activity. Shortly after, you'll come to an intersection with the A-Z
trail and Zealand Pond. At 2.5 miles, you'll intersect with the Ethan Pond Trail and Twinway
Trail. Turn right to continue to Zealand Falls Hut. The last 0.1 to 0.2 miles are a steep scramble up stone steps and boulders to reach the hut, but the view from the front porch of the hut is worth the climb.
At Zealand Falls Hut, you can use the restrooms, fill up with potable water, and purchase snacks (my wife appreciated a brownie for the journey back). The Zealand Falls are to the left of the hut, and provide a great spot to sit out and enjoy a snack before retracing your steps to return to the trailhead.