New Hampshire’s most unusual lodging, the high huts of the Appalachian Mountain Club, will reopen in June but with some limits on how many people can stay.
The eight huts scattered throughout the White Mountain National Forest were closed to overnight visitors last year due to COVID-19. The AMC announced on Thursday plans to reopen them this summer.
The club, which is headquartered in Boston, said it would open the huts for overnight guests starting June 3 “and intends to continue to offer overnight lodging throughout its normal operating season,” which ends in September or October. However, for at least the first half of June “the huts will operate in a cohort bunk space model.”
Under that model, bunk spaces in the huts “will be assigned to a single reservation rather than our traditional model of shared bunk spaces. Because the layout of each hut is unique, some huts will have cohorts in their own rooms with a door, while in others the cohort will be in a space divided up by temporary barriers and guests may walk through or past the area.”
The proposal will be re-examined every few weeks and may change if the pandemic lessens.
Backwoods mountain lodging is also provided by the Randolph Mountain Club, which has kept open its two shelters that are partly open to the outdoors, but has not announced whether it will reopen its two enclosed cabins on Randolph Mountain.
The Dartmouth Outing Club operates a number of backwoods cabins throughout New Hampshire, nine of which can be rented by people not associated with the college, but after shutting them last year that group has made no announcement about plans 2021.
The announcement from AMC said that the new cohort arrangement would reduce occupancy in some huts, meaning that some existing reservations will have to be canceled.
In another change, blankets and pillows will not be provided, although mattresses will be. “Guests should bring their own appropriately rated sleeping bag and pillow.”
The announcement said “vaccination is recommended but not required for guests.”
AMC’s high huts have long been a unique draw for hikers, offering shelter plus breakfast and dinner in group quarters high in the mountains, sometimes above tree level. Reachable only by foot, they are positioned along the Appalachian Trail, from Lonesome Lake in Franconia Notch to Carter Notch Hut opposite Mount Washington.
The huts are very popular and fill up quickly despite a cost that can run hundreds of dollars per night for a family. Last year was the first time since World War II that none of them opened.
Huts of some kind have existed in the White Mountains since tourists began arriving in the mid 1800s, with a cabin at Madison Springs being the first. It is virtually impossible for any new huts to be built due to modern environmental restrictions. AMC attempted to build a new lodge in Crawford Notch State Park in 2016 but withdrew the idea after loud opposition.
For more details about the AMC’s plan, see www.outdoors.org/articles/answers-to-your-questions-related-to-the-2021-amc-huts-season.