Trail Distance: 20 miles
Elevation Gain: 4850'
Terrain Rating: Moderate
Hike In: 7:40AM
Hike Out: 7:30PM
Trailhead: At the end of Zealand Road off Route 302. Google maps here.
On July 3rd, I co-led a hike with the AMC Hiking and Backpacking committee. It was a fast paced group, and we were able to maintain a 2mi/hr pace, finishing the hike at 75% book time! The Bonds are one of the harder places to get to, so I was happy to have a big group to go with. We decided to do a there-and-back hike in order to avoid the Lincoln Woods trail and long car spot. We had great weather, some clouds and some sun. Very little to no bugs. And only tiny spurs of wind at the summits!
From Zealand Trailhead, it's 2.5 miles up to Zealand Hut. It's a very gradual start to your day, passing through meadows and bridges where you hopefully can spot some moose! The last 0.2 miles is steeper and requires some scrambling. I only carried 0.5L of water for this first section. Once we were at the hut, I filled up 4L of water and munched on some bars.
From the hut, head on Twinway Trail for 1.3 miles until a beautiful lookout point at Zeacliff. It's another 1.6 miles until Zealand summit, which is very underwhelming and contains zero views. It's a short detour to the summit. On the positive side, the Bonds will have some spectacular views that will make up for it!
From Zealand summit to Mount Guyot, you will head up a little above treeline and continue along Twinway. It is 1.3 miles to Guyot, and then you will dip down below treeline to a West Bond spur. It is a 1 mile roundtrip detour to West Bond, which has incredible views of Mount Bond and Bondcliff. We arrived at the summit at 12:07PM and spent a half hour eating lunch and relaxing here. Luckily there weren't too many bugs!
After this point, most of your elevation is over with. After West Bond, turn around and head back to Bondcliff Trail. It's a short 0.5 mile hike up to Mount Bond, which doesn't have great views either but makes a good bio break spot, and then 1.2 miles to Bondcliff. Bondcliff is aptly named, and a lot of people will want to take photos at the giant cliff. We certainly did! There were 2 Shiba Inus up at the summit so I spent some time playing with them too.
After our photos, we turned around and headed back the way we came. Our pace slowed down a little through the 600 and 800 ft incline spots back up to Mount Bond and Guyot. Doesn't the return trip always seem like that though?? Back at Zealand Hut, we took a few minutes to think about whether or not we wanted to add Mount Hale. About half of us did, so we decided not to do it. The stroll back on Zealand Trailhead was a perfect way to end the trip, and I'm definitely glad we skipped Lincoln Woods!
- 4L of water
- 5 bars and beef jerky
- Steak and cheese quesadilla
- Salmon X ULTRA MID 2 hiking boots
- Columbia hiking pants
- Topodesigns Mountain Pack
- Icebreaker Merino Wool shirt
- Sun gear: baseball hat, sunblock
- Extra clothes packed away: socks, windbreaker
- Emergency Gear: Map & GPS, Headlamp, reduced First-Aid Kit, Swiss Army Knife