The accommodations may be humble but the dramatic location, set between the peaks of Wildcat Mountain and Carter Dome, is five star. Carter Notch Hut, the oldest hut in the Appalachian Mountain Club’s system, turns 100 this year, and remains a welcome oasis for weary hikers. It takes a little effort to get here — a 3.8-mile trek along the Nineteen Mile Brook Trail, climbing about 1,900 feet in elevation. But the rewards are immense; at your doorstep, you’ll find acres of forests, craggy cliffs, mountain lakes, and sweeping views.
Carter Notch Hut is the easternmost hut in the AMC system of eight “off-the-grid” mountain huts spaced a day’s hike apart, along a 56-mile-long stretch of the Appalachian Trail. It’s perched at 3,288 feet and includes two detached bunkhouses and a stone hut, accommodating 40 guests in bare-bones basic, coed bunk rooms. (Mattresses, pillows and wool blankets are supplied but you’ll need to bring your own sheets or a sleeping bag.) The crew prepares hearty, family-style dinners and breakfasts (included). Explore the Ramparts, a rock slide field of boulders the size of Volkswagens, and swim and fish in the nearby Carter Lakes, pristine ponds deep in the notch.
Hike up to wide-open Carter Dome and Pulpit Rock, for eagle-eye views of the vast Carter-
The Nineteen Mile Brook Trail is off Route 16, about a mile north of the Mount Washington Auto Road. $111 adults per night (non-member), $100 for ages 13-17, $58, ages 3-12, 603-466-2727, www.outdors.org.