Perched alongside a waterfall overlooking the scenic Zealand Valley, the Zealand Falls Hut offers year-round views and rustic off-grid luxury for backpackers and hikers. With a relatively easy 2.8-mile hike in from the Zealand Trailhead, the Zealand Falls Hut is a popular destination for families and beginning backpackers.
The Zealand Falls Hut is one of eight high mountains huts in the New Hampshire White Mountains built and maintained by the Appalachian Mountain Club. The Zealand Falls Hut was built in 1932 as part of a master plan to create huts only one day’s hike apart in order to aid hikers who were on the Appalachian National Scenic Trail.
The Hut is organized around a main entry and gathering space, which adjoins the kitchen. The pine-clad walls adorned with informational posters and chalkboards with colorful drawings greet hikers and guests alike. Wood-pegged drying racks hang like chandeliers above the few large wood tables and benches. At the rear of the main space is the kitchen. To either side of the main space are the co-ed bunk rooms. The bunk rooms feature wooden bunks stacked three high and can accommodate up to 36 guests total. Above the main room is the caretaker’s quarters. Compositing toilets and washrooms are located in a separate building that is accessed out the main door and under a covered walkway.
The Zealand Falls Hut is one of three huts that operate year round on two distinctive “seasons.” Full service runs from June 2 until October 21, and self-service runs from October 22 until May 28. During full service, overnight guests at the hut are given a pillow, three wool blankets, and are served dinner and a hot breakfast by the caretakers or “croo.” During self-service season, care-takers are only available during the hours of 7:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. Guests must bring in all of their own food, but they have full access to the kitchen and utensils. During both seasons hikers need to bring their own appropriately rated sleeping bags and lighting, as there is no available electricity or heat in the hut.
Reservations have to be made to stay at the hut. Reservations for bunks during the full service season are hard to come by and expensive. A one night’s stay can run upwards of $135. Rates vary greatly throughout the year, so it is best to check here for the most current rate and availability.