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Design Your Own Tour With Appalachian Mountain Club!

Outdoor Recreation

If there’s one word that wholly encompasses what you’ll find when you book a trip through the Appalachian Mountain Club (AMC), it’s community.

Whether you’re booking a guided trip that starts at its Highland Center in Bretton Woods, or the Joe Dodge Lodge in Pinkham Notch, the AMC has done a fantastic job of making sure you’re welcomed.

You’ll find two different experiences depending on which lodge you choose to book through. The AMC Highland Center on the western side of Mount Washington, and the AMC Joe Dodge Lodge, on the northeastern side.

Staying and booking a trip through the AMC Highland Center gives you access to its gear room curated through a partnership with LL Bean,
which includes Clare's favorite piece of gear - a "Bivvy Sack." Photo c/o Corey David Photography.

The AMC Highland Center is a relatively new construction compared to Joe Dodge Lodge. Built in 2003, the Highland Center is an educational space used for large groups or conferences, and is also home to an extensive LL Bean gear room. Its lodging is a bit more modern and accommodates couples and families well. The Highland Center opens up to the southern Presidential peaks, Elephant Head, Frankenstein Cliffs, and Arethusa and Ripley Falls.

Families, couples, or individuals have the option of booking a customized trip or reserving an open enrollment course. The AMC is a hub of excursions and activities, and you can design your own trip with a specific desired outcome or join in on a pre-planned trip.

Custom Guided Trips range from hiking the White Mountain 4,000-footers, or hiking from basecamp to AMC’s famous high mountain huts. Customized trips are a great option for any ability, and make a great option for beginners who want to learn the basics and become proficient at a specific skill, or a seasoned hiker looking to sharpen a skill. Booking any customized trip requires a phone call to work with an AMC rep one-on-one to plan your trip! You can get start planning your custom guided trip by calling (603) 466-2727.

Open Enrollment Trips include anything from guided snowshoe tours, hikes with a specific focus - such as backcountry skiing, female-led hikes, hikes that follow specific peaks or landmarks, light backcountry courses, and more. Open enrollment trips can be booked online and by calling (603) 466-2727.

two women reading a map new hampshire
You have the option of customizing your own guided trip or booking a pre-planned trip through the Appalachian Mountain Club. Overnight trips include gear, any transportation, lodging, and meals. AMC handles all logistics, while you get to enjoy the trip! Photo c/o Corey David Photography.

Staff-led, guided adventures booked through the AMC Highland Center offer food, lodging, safety training and most of the necessary gear. Before any multi-day trip, the first day always focuses on acquainting yourself with the lodge. Your guide will lead you through a gear inventory to ensure you’re properly prepared. If you’re staying at the Highland Center, any gear you don’t have, can be found at no extra charge in the LL Bean gear room. There are over 1,000 pieces of gear supplied by the famed outfitter available to all who book a stay and/or trip at the Highland Center.

The AMC Joe Dodge Lodge offers a “classic AMC experience” and has been welcoming explorers for close to 100 years. Its commitment to sustainability, safety, and a one-of-a-kind experience in the White Mountain National Forest has never faltered.

Considered the “gateway to Mount Washington” via the Tuckerman Ravine trail that begins just behind the lodge, hikers, backcountry skiers, and climbers looking for an authentic and rustic lodge will find it in Joe Dodge Lodge.

Overnight guests at the Joe Dodge Lodge can try out LOWA gear and boots at its lodge demo center. Joe Dodge Lodge also offers hot breakfast, a full-service deli and a variety of hot and cold plates for a casual lunch. Trail lunches can be ordered the night before for those planning an early start. And guests can return to a home-cooked dinner before retiring to their bed or bunk.

Clare Arentzen is a guide working out of the AMC Highland Center and loves bringing people together over a shared love of the outdoors.

woman standing on a trail in winter new hampshire
Clare loves leading trips, and especially gets excited for Outdoor Skills Weekend, and the women focused programs hosted by the AMC. She loves empowering all her guests to feel more comfortable with all aspects of an outdoor trip. Photo c.o Corey David Photography.

It’s the inclusive nature of AMC that stands out to Clare. You’re always guaranteed to make a friend there; not only because so many of its guests are there for the same reason, but because the set-up of AMC’s family-style dining, and shared spaces provide an opportunity to connect.

Clare has been guiding for AMC since 2019, but fell in love with hiking during her college years. Growing up in the very flat state of Illinois, she attended college on the East Coast. Randomly signing up for an “Intro to the Appalachian Trail” trip through her college’s Outdoor Club, Clare immediately became enamored with hiking.

From there, she hiked every weekend, until she took on hiking the entire Appalachian Trail after graduation. She worked for the Appalachian Trail Conservancy in Maryland and Pennsylvania, but would make the trek almost weekly to the White Mountains to hike. Finally she realized she could just move to New Hampshire and hike daily, instead of making the nine-hour drive. She took the leap of faith, and landed at the AMC.

Clare has worked as a Ridge Runner, a Wilderness First Responder, and is Leave No Trace certified. She now leads a myriad of guided trips ranging from family snowshoe excursions to hut-to-hut traverses.

Not only has Clare hiked hundreds of miles of trails repeatedly in the White Mountain National Forest, she has also studied all of the maps of the White Mountains. As a guide, she’s not only responsible for educating guests, and keeping them safe, but she knows that guests want local insight on where to go, and what to do next during their trip. Clare’s years of experience hiking throughout the White Mountains let her answer those questions with ease!

“Curiosity is an incredibly important part of taking on any kind of guided trip! The foundation of caring about an area like the White Mountain National Forest is understanding it. One of my favorite parts of a trip is taking a water break on the trail and encouraging guests to look around them. From there we identify plants, bird calls, and animal tracks.”

“I love being able to create community with the guests and members of the Appalachian Mountain Club. One of the best parts of my work is the empowerment so many guests leave with. We work hard during a trip to achieve a goal or a new skill, and that feeling is something that stays with you even after a guest returns home.”

That feeling is especially apparent in the Outdoor Skills Weekend that Clare leads. It’s a crash course in everything you need to know to get out and adventure safely in the outdoors. You learn how to read a map and compass, use equipment properly, identify your own personal layering system to stay protected from the elements and more. Clare loves seeing first-timers go through this course, and then meeting them again later on in the season when they’ve returned for another trip feeling really confident in their skills.

Clare encourages everyone to join her and her fellow guides on for a course. Come and ask questions, learn something new, and become part of the AMC community!

The Mt. Washington Valley Chamber of Commerce highly recommends the hiring of a guide for any outdoor adventure that leads you into the woods. Not only will you be supporting the valley's local economy, which is substantially made up of those dedicated to outdoor recreation, but you'll also be ensuring a successful trip through safety, and technical training. Click the link for a list of guiding outfitters.

For complete trip planning resources and information, explore this site,, or call 800-367-3364 (800-DO-SEE-NH) to talk to a Mt Washington Valley Chamber of Commerce rep.  To learn more about New Hampshire vacations, go to

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