New England’s Fifty Finest

Backpacking

The New Hampshire 48 – 4,000 footer list (NH48) has swelled in popularity. Fueled in part by great books such as Tom Ryan’s Following Atticus and Smith & Dickerman’s The 4000-Footers of the White Mountains, the White Mountain high peaks have received a lot of press lately. As a result, I’ve loved seeing more and more people get outdoors. The 48 are special, for sure, but so are many other wonderful mountains throughout New England. If you’re looking for something a bit different, I suggest taking a look at the emerging “New England Fifty Finest” list (NEFF). It’s awesome!

I don’t know who Roy Schweiker and Andy Martin are, but they are generally credited with compiling the list of New England’s Fifty Finest based upon summits with the highest topographic prominence- a peak’s height above its lowest contour that encloses the peak and no higher peak. There’s no double-dipping with this list. Each hike stands on its’ own and each is wildly unique – with distinctive terrain, geology and wildlife.

Scattered across Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont and Massachusetts, New England’s Fifty Finest will provide you with unparalleled geological and ecological diversity, while most certainly showing you new places throughout New England.

For seasoned NH48 fans, you’ll be happy to learn these 8 of the 48 made it to the NEFF list: Carrigain, Cabot, Carter Dome, Kinsman, Lafayette, Moosilauke, Osceola, and Washington. That leaves 42 additional peaks with greater prominence than many more popular mountain hikes. Let’s take a look at them all, in order of prominence:

NEFF #          Peak                           State               Elevation (ft)              Prominence (ft)

NEFF 1          Washington               NH                  6288                           6150

NEFF 2          Katahdin                     ME                  5268                           4290

NEFF 3          Mansfield                   VT                   4393                           3640

NEFF 4          Lafayette                    NH                  5249                           3360

NEFF 5          Killington                     VT                   4235                           3320

NEFF 6          Sugarloaf                    ME                  4250                           3180

NEFF 7          Equinox                      VT                   3850                           3060

NEFF 8          Jay Peak                    VT                   3858                           2975

NEFF 9          Moosilauke                NH                  4802                           2932

NEFF 10        Bigelow                      ME                  4145                           2855

NEFF 11        Dorset                       VT                   3770                           2840

NEFF 12        Carter Dome             NH                  4832                           2821

NEFF 13        Old Speck                 ME                  4170                           2720

NEFF 14        Cabot                         NH                  4170                           2670

NEFF 15        White Cap                 ME                  3654                           2610

NEFF 16        Coburn                       ME                  3717                           2510

NEFF 17        Greylock                     MA                 3487                           2470

NEFF 18        Putnam                       VT                   3642                           2470

NEFF 19        Saddleback               ME                  4120                           2446

NEFF 20        Kinsman                     NH                  4358                           2420

NEFF 21        Stratton                       VT                   3940                           2410

NEFF 22        Traveler                      ME                  3541                           2340

NEFF 23        Shaw                          NH                  2990                           2340

NEFF 24        Snow                          ME                  3960                           2330

NEFF 25        Ascutney                    VT                   3140                           2290

NEFF 26        Caribou                      ME                  3654                           2260

NEFF 27        Carrigain                     NH                  4700                           2240

NEFF 28        Baldpate                    ME                  3790                           2240

NEFF 29        East                            VT                   3493                           2230

NEFF 30        Grass                          VT                   3109                           2200

NEFF 31        Baker                          ME                  3520                           2190

NEFF 32        Smarts                        NH                  3238                           2190

NEFF 33        Monadnock                NH                  3165                           2160

NEFF 34        Cold Hollow              VT                   3330                           2160

NEFF 35        Signal                         VT                   3370                           2140

NEFF 36        Ellen                            VT                   4083                           2132

NEFF 37        Big Moose                ME                  3196                           2130

NEFF 38        Kearsarge                  NH                  2937                           2100

NEFF 39        Doubletop                 ME                  3489                           2080

NEFF 40        Elephant                     ME                  3772                           2060

NEFF 41        Osceola                      NH                  4340                           2040

NEFF 42        Boundary Bald          ME                  3638                           2010

NEFF 43        Gore                           VT                   3332                           1982

NEFF 44        Cardigan                    NH                  3155                           1922

NEFF 45        Big Spencer              ME                  3206                           1920

NEFF 46        Camel’s Hump         VT                   4083                           1880

NEFF 47        Belknap                      NH                  2382                           1850

NEFF 48        Saddleback               ME                  2998                           1850

NEFF 49        Blue                            ME                  3190                           1840

NEFF 50        Moxie                         ME                  2930                           1820

Screen shot 2013-06-25 at 2.06.24 PMThe New England’ Fifty Finest list will bring you far beyond the White Mountains and into the Green Mountain Range, the Hoosacs, the Berkshires, the Mahoosucs, the Taconics and more.

The Finest Fifty are even more challenging in the winter time.

The Fifty Finest are even more challenging in the winter time.

Bagging all 50 peaks is an accomplishment in perseverance, patience and physical ability. Few have recorded successful completion. Given that each peak is selected for its impressive prominence, there are no multiple-peak hikes: fifty peaks, fifty trips, and fifty hikes. Many of the NEFF are popular, well-hiked mountains. Conversely, several peaks are herd paths and near-bushwhacks, which require navigation gear and an even greater sense of adventure. No matter what time of year you decide to take on one of New England’s Fifty Finest, it’s smart to be prepared for anything mother nature can throw out. Be sure you have dependable rain gear, mid or heavyweight fleece, and hiking boots or hiking shoes that you’ve logged some quality miles in.

If you’ve already banged out some of these hikes, we’d love to hear which ones you took on, which trails you took and all your best New England’s Fifty Finest stories!

 

Justin Chase


Justin "Cracky" Chase is the author of the online journal, Outdoors, By Cracky! Want to get outdoors in New England? Follow him! www.outdoorsbycracky.com

3 Comments

  1. Ellen
    August 29, 2013, 5:13 am

    Nothing, nothing at all in southern New England? Gas is a thing, for a lot of us, for a lot of reasons.

  2. July 9, 2013, 7:23 am

    Great question, Francois. They are two different peaks in Maine. Confusing, but true.

    BTW- congratulations on the NE67- well done! Do you have a next NEFF in mind?

  3. Francois
    July 4, 2013, 12:44 am

    I made the 67 NE so I already have 18 of the 50 Finest done.

    My question is : Why is there Saddleback, ME twice in the list ?

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