AMC’s Highland Center at Crawford Notch State Park

This past week, I took an adventure up to White Mountain National Forest to visit the Lodge at Appalachian Mountain Club’s Highland Center. Fresh white powder coated the ground, a welcome change from the lack of winter weather in Boston.

The AMC Highland Center, adjacent to Crawford Notch State Park, was built in 2007. AMC is an outdoor appreciation club that was founded in 1876. With over 100,000 members and 12 chapters from Washington, D.C. to Maine, AMC offers lodging, trips, and education, and dining for outdoor enthusiasts.

The AMC Highland Center is a great place to visit year-round. They offer several options for lodging, from bunk beds with shared bathrooms to family-sized suites. Large, cozy living rooms invite travelers to relax and make new friends.

One of the best parts about staying at the Highland Lodge is the delicious food. Included in your stay is a four course dinner and made-to-order breakfast. You can also order lunch items like sandwiches and salads to go.

The Highland Center Lodge was built on the basis of the AMC “Green Promise”- a commitment to sustainable and environmentally-friendly building practices. The entire lodge features earth tones to blend in to the New Hampshire landscape. 60% of the windows face south, utilizing the sun’s energy. The lodge itself is built on a skeleton of local, recycled steel. Native plants were replanted in the landscape design and are utilized as educational tools in warmer months. Inside the lodge are environmentally-friendly carpets, glues, and paints, along with low-flow composting toilets.

The Highland Center is conveniently located in the heart of the White Mountain region, near the Southern Presidential Range. They offer multiple trips during the day for visitors. An entire L.L. Bean Gear Room is available for guests who need gear, ranging from hats to winter boots. I borrowed snowshoes and headed out to Crawford Notch.

Crawford Notch State Park has nearly 6,000 acres of land available for hiking, cross country skiing, snowshoeing, and more. Waterfalls and beautiful mountain views dot the park. I only got to explore a small corner of Crawford Notch due to an impending snowstorm, but I definitely want to return, especially to find this waterfall!

I love how quiet things get in snowy woods during the winter.

If you’re staying at the AMC Highland Center, you have some of the best of New Hampshire at your fingertips. From the Lodge you can take day-hikes (or day-snowshoes) to Mt. Tom, Mt. Field, or Mt. Pierce.
Several other State Parks are just a short drive away: Mount Washington State Park , Franconia Notch, and Echo Lake State Park.

The Highland Center is a great base camp to explore NH State Parks. Thank you to AMC for having me visit this awesome lodge! Have you ever used any of AMC’s huts, campgrounds or lodges as a place to begin your State Park adventures?


Theresa Conn, New Hampshire State Parks Winter Intern

Hi all! My name is Theresa Conn, and I’m a sophomore Environmental Conservation Studies major at the University of New Hampshire. Growing up in suburban Massachusetts, my family always ventured north to Lake Winnipesaukee and the White Mountains to hike and relax. When it came time to look at colleges, UNH was an easy choice; between its great location, variety of majors, and college-town feel, I was instantly hooked. In the Environmental Conservation program here, I’ve been learning about New Hampshire’s diminishing natural resources. The more time I spend in nature, the more I realize how important it is to conserve the natural spaces we have left. Keeping parts of New Hampshire wild is critical for the health of the planet and ourselves. What I’m interested in exploring while writing this blog are the people and stories behind the parks. Be it talking to hikers on the trails, going out with animal trackers to learn about wildlife, or meeting with the stewards who protect our lands, I want to know who’s out there and why. People are the force that drives land protection, and I hope that I can share their stories using film, photography, and journalism. Grand intentions aside, I can’t wait to find new ways to enjoy the long winter months. Staying pent up inside is boring, and I’m excited to find ways to get outside like dog sledding, snowshoeing, and cross country skiing. I’m ready to explore all that New Hampshire State Parks have to offer, and look forward to sharing my adventures with you!

One thought on “AMC’s Highland Center at Crawford Notch State Park

  1. Hi. My name is Steve Jones. My wife and I come to the White Mountains a couple times a year to vacation and hike. I’m not sure who to contact about this so hopefully you can help or point me in the right direction. We were there back in the beginning of October and we tried to hike around Saco Lake. Half way around there was a 3 railroad tie wide bridge, it’s now down to only 1 tie wide. The other 2 ties have rotted and collapsed. If you stand on the side of Route 302 and look straight across the center of the lake you can see a large boulder. The broken ties are right behind that boulder. Thank you and enjoy the outdoors.

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