Franconia’s Pemi Trail – Perfect for a Ski

I just can’t say enough good things about x-country skiing in the notches.  Two weeks before the amazing expedition in Crawford Notch, I took a few hours for a short ski in Franconia Notch State Park.  I had figured the bike path, popular amongst snowmobilers and with a gentle grade, would serve well for a ski.  It was a good thought, but I discovered an even better alternative: The Pemi Trail.

The Pemi Trail -  Doesn't that look inviting?

The Pemi Trail – Doesn’t that look inviting?

Turns out that the Pemi Trail, a hiking trail which parallels the bike path, is perfect for a ski.  It has a little more variety of terrain and has been well-packed by lots of snowshoers.  Although it’s narrower and requires a little more skill, it’s still mostly gentle and, being away from the snowmobiles, much quieter.

Towards Cannon Mountain in Franconia Notch State Park from the Pemi Trail

Towards Cannon Mountain in Franconia Notch State Park from the Pemi Trail

You can really take your time and enjoy the scenery, which, thanks to winter’s lack of foliage, makes nearly every step special.

Without the foliage, every spot on the trail has a great view.

Without the foliage, every spot on the trail has a great view.

I started at the Lafayette campground and headed north, planning to ski uphill for a while and then return on an easy downhill.

Towards Mt. Lafayette from the trail

Towards Mt. Lafayette from the trail

The trail is really very gentle as it follows the valley bottom.  The deep snow made it easy to explore off-trail too.

The mighty Pemigewasset River

The mighty Pemigewasset River

Thanks too, to the snowshoers who packed down such a beautiful, neat trail.  I didn’t even have to worry about getting lost.

Snowshoers have packed the perfect trail

Snowshoers had packed the perfect trail

I noticed that the trail is actually intended for skiers too, as there were a few well-signed spots where the ski and snowshoe trails diverged.  As time was running late I had to turn around with regrets and make a speedy return via the snowmobile trail.

Picnic anyone?

Picnic anyone?

All in all, it was another fantastic outing and one I look forward to repeating.

Franconia Notch bike path  - great for snowmobiles and skis alike

Franconia Notch bike path – great for snowmobiles and skis alike

Happy travels!

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