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“Love it or hate it.” 3 of 5 bubbles
Review of Lakes of the Clouds Hut

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Lakes of the Clouds Hut
Worcester, Massachusetts
Level Contributor
13 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
“Love it or hate it.”
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 11 August 2014

The Lakes of the Clouds has a perfect location about 3.5 miles from the Ammonoosuc Ravine trail head and overlooks the Mount Washington Hotel. In mild physical condition, it should be possible to reach the hut in less than 3.5 hours in decent weather. The hut itself is just above the treeline so the weather can be very unpredictable.

The hut is spartan. Only cold running well water is available and the lights stay on to about 9:30 PM. Beds are a 'prison style' mattress on a wooden bunk with several woolen blankets and pillow. The smallest room holds six, the larger rooms hold many more. At the time of my stay, the hut was fully booked with some spill over hikers sleeping on the floor of dining area.

The food was much better than the accommodations suggested. Dinner consisted of tomato soup, bread, salad, broccoli, Asian flavored chicken with rice, and finally gingerbread for dessert. Coffee, tea, hot chocolate, and water to drink. Breakfast was oatmeal with some add-ins, bacon, and piles of pancakes. The entire meal is served family style at settings for 12 people at each table.

If you are worried about cleanliness, don't go here. The dishes and pans are all very clean, but the many of the other guests and accommodations are not. The pillow and wool blankets for your bunk is likely dirty. The bunks themselves are pretty dirty.

If you want to sleep in quiet, this is also not the place for you. People do get up often at night to use the rest room or go outside and look at the stars. If you are a light sleeper, you will be awake all night long.

If you want to be around hikers and enjoy communal time and don't mind some dirt, this place is perfect for you.

As a few other reviewers have stated, this is not camping. It is an experience that stands alone and is very, very polarizing.

Room Tip: Bunks are hotter the closer you are to ceiling. If you want to sleep cool, find a bunk near the floo...
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  • Stayed August 2014, travelled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
2 Thank Stefan N
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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43 reviews from our community

Traveller rating
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    9
    1
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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    3 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    3.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    3.5 of 5 bubbles
Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (11)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • Any
English first
Metuchen, New Jersey
Level Contributor
8 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 4 August 2014

Our stay at Lakes had both good and not-so-good points. My husband had stayed at this hut, and Madison Hut, a couple of years ago and I wanted to have the experience too. I really can't compare this to anything I've ever done before - I do camp but this is not camping. In some ways it's better, but other ways not.
Here are the things that I loved:
1. The food was tasty and hit the spot. Our dinner was bread (delicious), salad, rice, green beans, beef (my husband loved it, I don't eat beef), and chocolate mint brownies. There was water, tea, cocoa, and coffee for drinks. Breakfast was oatmeal with brown sugar, raisins, dried apples, pancakes with syrup, and bacon. Plus coffee and cranberry juice.
2. The staff is very entertaining. They are young people, either in college or just out of college, very smart, witty, funny, happy, talented. Seriously, I wonder where they will be in 10 years.
3, The location is beautiful and we had a wonderful sunset. It's situated 1.5 miles from the summit of Mt. Washington, which is quite a bit of a hike. The weather took a turn for the worse during our hike, and our hike from the summit to the hut took 1 hour, 45 minutes. It was raining, hailing, and thundering. I was praying we would make it to the hut alive. But when the weather cleared up, after dinner, we had amazing views. It's always so pretty after a storm.

Here are the things I did not love:
1. This is basically communal living. That is def not my style. Lights go out at 9:30, or 9, if the generator is having issues. So we quickly got ready for bed. It was cold, dark and not that easy to get ready for bed. There were 5 people in our bunk so it's tough to get around a small room - maybe 10 x 10 - and we all had a lot of stuff. Wet stuff with nowhere to dry out. The bunks are not that comfortable. I suggest bringing sleeping medication.
2. The noise and the smell were a big issue (for me, anyway) Everyone smells awful. Not just like, I worked out at the gym and need a shower. It's like being stuck in a cloud of foul hiker stench and there's no escape. I think the fact that it had rained and everything was wet added to the smell. I slept with a Dove soap bar by my nose. Our bunk mates were very polite and quiet. However, we may have been the only quiet people in the entire hut. All night long the front door was opening and closing - slamming closed - and maybe they need to add a rule or educate people on how to close a door. I guess people had to go out to smoke or talk on the phone - all night, really, all night - so they kept leaving and coming back. There are no earplugs in the world that would remedy this situation.

I am not a hiker girl and this proved the point to a "T." I will not stay in a hut again - at least not until I am ready to go through extreme physical exertion, lots of pain and discomfort, almost no sleep and then hike down a big mountain. BUT...people that are hikers will probably love this hut. It's a very interesting culture to observe. My husband loves to hike and was totally fine with the hut. Hiking Mt. Washington was on my bucket list and I am glad that I did it. I have no regrets. Safe travels to all - Mt. Washington's weather changes quickly. Be prepared for anything and try to have an alternate plan. The hike from the summit to the hut can be done in 45 minutes, when the weather is good. If it rains, like it did for us, add an hour to that. And if lightning starts, I have no idea what you should do. We are just thankful to be safe and alive.

Room Tip: Choosing a bunk is on a first-come, first-serve basis. We were the last to arrive and had the lowes...
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  • Stayed August 2014, travelled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
2 Thank shoppergirlnj
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
New York City, New York
Level Contributor
73 reviews
11 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 57 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 3 August 2014

I'll admit to being a novice to this type of experience, but I was open to staying in something that was a step above a tent with the extravagant amenity being a faucet with running cold water.

Please read the captions of the photos travelers have posted here. Some of the photos are from other huts, NOT Lakes of the Clouds hut. Most importantly from my perspective is a bunk photo that is from some other hut. It shows a spacious bunk area with ladder placed near the head of the bunk and a stone wall background. The traveler that posted the photo labeled the photo correctly, but somehow the photo got posted here under Lakes of the Clouds. Another photo shows a spacious dining area and the traveler put in the caption what hut it was, but it got listed here under Lakes of the Clouds, which it is not. There is another photo showing the Lakes of the Clouds dining area which is large, but filled with more tables and crowded with people.

Having hiked through an increasingly wet day with the finale being lightning in the "home stretch"... so much lightning we chose to separate ourselves from our metal hiking poles and backpacks with metal frames and seek what minimal shelter we could in the short shrubbery along the tree line.

When we finally arrived at the hut it was a stark contrast to the relative peace outdoors. I was told that 94 people were spending the night there. Yes, 94! People were stuffed everywhere, engaged in conversation, playing card games, etc. It was nice to see, but there was no time for me to decompress from my rather harrowing experience moments before.

And I was WET, everything that was supposed to be waterproof and everything that I had sprayed with waterproofing was WET. While I was prepared to spend the night stuffed in a bunk, I was not prepared to see that everyone who arrived before us had used all the hooks in the room. I found one hook in a far corner to hang my backpack on and let it drip. I held no hope of it (and its contents) approaching dry, or even damp, by morning. Being exhausted, the thought of asking people to remove their stuff from hooks was overwhelming. One fellow must have seen my state and took his dry items off four hooks and let me use them. What a wonderful thing he did.

My bunk room was on the eastern side of the hut (room #4, first bottom bunk on the left) and there was one window with many bunks blocking what little light was available at the end of the day. The lack of light in an overcrowded room made the simplest tasks more difficult. I had to find my flashlights in order to start to use them. It was not until dawn that this room had decent lighting. As dawn's light increased, I could see that other bunks had shelves in them. They also had hooks. My main criticism of this Lakes of the Clouds Hut is to standardize the shelving and hooks in EVERY bunk. For the money charged, I should have had a shelf in my bunk to put a few possessions (like a flashlight) within easy reach in the middle of the night. Every bunk should have the same number of hooks and a shelf. Period. While everyone staying at the hut understands the conditions will be primitive, the "first come first served" type of environment is not an excuse to not provide equitable resources.

While many travelers were well-versed in the hut culture, I appreciated the staff's announcements stating the basic rules, like no use of cell phones in the hut... an announcement that was made while I was calling my wife to let her know I was alive... oops! Sorry about that.

I don't have a lot to say about the food and service. It's a hut, and the staff were all college aged people who loved the outdoors. They were diligent about their work and friendly when asked questions. They did the best they could and the system worked. I would have done something different with the preparation of the tasteless tough, fatty meat, but really, so what... it was filling and the rest of the meal was pretty darn good.

Being bit shy, I enjoyed the "family style" dining because it sort of forced people to talk to each other. While it's true that the people at one end of the table would get first pick of whatever was being passed along, it seemed as though everyone had their full by the end of the meal.

I don't want to repeat what others have said, but if it is helpful, read on. Otherwise, I've said my two cents.

- No shower, no towels.
- Cold running water in bathroom (4 sinks I think) and one sink in main area for filling bottles.
- No flush toilets, but pretty good for an "outhouse" type of toilet. Minimal smell and as spacious as regular toilet booths. Enough light inside the bathroom at night to guide you to the seat and sink.
- No light at all after 9:30PM (be aware it could be EARLIER than 9:30 if not enough solar was light collected). The only exception is one dim light in the bathroom.
- I have spent the night in bunks on a submarine, a WWII aircraft carrier, and an early 1800's schooner. All those were more spacious than the bunk room at Lakes of the Clouds stuffed with people and their equipment. The bunk itself was comfortable, however, because it was a decent size once you crawled into it, and it had a solid wooden base (not a hammock).
- I brought a flannel sheet and folded it inside the woolen blankets provided. I also brought a small travel pillow to supplement the pillow provided. I am not aware of any heat other than the body heat of the many guests.
- For caffine addicts like me, real brewed coffee is available at meals and in the morning.
- Vegetarian meals and I am guessing other requests can be made with advanced notice.
- A tip container is on the main counter and tips are encouraged.

Room Tip: If you arrive early enough to have a choice of bunks, get one near a window if you want to have natu...
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  • Stayed August 2014, travelled solo
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
2 Thank Special_Deluxe
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Peterborough, Canada
Level Contributor
28 reviews
10 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 14 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 2 August 2014

Don't underestimate the challenge in getting to the hut. It is a tough climb, with the potential for dangerous weather year-round.

The food is truly excellent. Other reviewers have said enough. I'll just say they aren't exaggerating. The hut crew (known as croo, see note on culture below) know just what hikers need to be well-fuelled and maintain good morale.

Earplugs are mandatory in the bunk rooms. It's amazing how the loudest snorers always fall asleep first! In early August we found it not too cold, but uncomfortably damp and clammy. Cracking open the window might have helped, but that's kind of in the hands of those closest to the window.

I would give it 5 stars but there is a distinctive culture to the huts and AMC that I'm not 100% comfortable with. The croo (why do we need to spell it that way?) want you to buy into their sense of humour but seemed a little humourless with our kids. There is a whiff of elitism about the whole AMC mountain experience. The second night we had two AMC guides at our table and it felt like they were playing the role of camp counsellors, something that didn't enhance the experience for me.

  • Stayed August 2014, travelled with family
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
3 Thank Terry N
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Norwalk, Connecticut
Level Contributor
81 reviews
81 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 62 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 23 July 2014

Stayed there with my friends last Friday night during our Presidential Traverse trip.

This was our very first time staying in a hut. but for those of you who haven't been there yet... this is what I think you should expect.

1. Basic Basic Basic
No shower, bunk beds, minimalist amenities, simple dining room, etc. It's a hut in the middle of the mountain, so it shouldn't come as a shock. Don't forget to make sure you check in as soon as possible to secure a good bunk. I came late and got the bunk bed 3 ft below the ceiling. Also, no shower with tons of hikers probably means the bedroom will smell...

2. Awesome Food
I had low expectation for the food, but I was pleasantly surprised that the food was both bountiful and delicious. Legit three course meal with great dessert. Highly recommend. but don't forget that dinner starts at 6 pm sharp.

3. Awesome Staff
Staffs were pretty amusing and pleasant to interact throughout the stay. They also gave us the opportunity to get to know them, which made me feel like they are one of us.

4. Awesome fellow visitors
Remember that the only way to get to the hut was by hiking, so the people in the hut share same hobby/passion as you. Pretty entertaining and engaging to talk to during our communal dinner.

5. The view
Sunset/Sunrise, so close to Mt.Washington and Mt.Monroe. View is unbeatable.

overall, there's something unique about staying in a hut so high in the middle of nowhere. The price wasn't exactly cheap, but I would love to stay there again.

Highly recommended.

Room Tip: Almost like first come first serve. If you can, check in early so you can get the better bunk.
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  • Stayed July 2014, travelled with friends
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank Chris C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Hanover, New Hampshire
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 20 July 2014

Lakes of the Clouds is amazing. The setting can't be better. I am glad I did a night there to bag the experience, but it's not something I would prefer to do again over camping. The bunks were uncomfortable and not conducive to a good night of sleep. You are packed into bunk rooms like sardines. The chance of getting a room with no snoring Sasquatch is slim. The food was good but ran thin at breakfast. Being at the end of the table meant we were last in line for food which sometimes resulted in slim pickings. For what you pay, I'd prefer to not have to hussle for a piece of bacon. I hate to talk down about one of the greatest treasures in the White Mountains, but people should be aware of the limitations of the hut. In so many ways it's amazing, unparalleled, and well worth the experience. I just think a dose of reality regarding the accommodations and sleeping is relevant here. Also worth noting that the staff is enthusiastic about their work. While corny at times, I appreciate their passion.

  • Stayed July 2014, travelled with friends
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
2 Thank Libre27
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Siena, Toscana, Italy
Level Contributor
150 reviews
17 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 50 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 7 July 2014

Tucked into the craggy side of Mount Washington, this Hut is run by the Appalachian Mountain Club, and offers no-frills bunkhouse accommodations and home-cooked family-style meals. The location provides views that cannot be beat! The hut is accessed via hiking trails, so needless to say it unfortunately is not handicap-accessible.

  • Stayed August 2013, travelled with family
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Lisa N
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Lakes of the Clouds Hut

Property: Lakes of the Clouds Hut
Address: Amoonoosic Ravine, 234 Amc Road, Mount Washington, NH
Region: United States > New Hampshire > White Mountains > Mount Washington
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 1 Speciality Lodging in Mount Washington
Number of rooms: 22

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