South of Mount Washington, at 6288 feet the highest in the northeast, the large glacial cirque known as Oakes Gulf lies at the headwaters of the Dry River. This river - and just to the east the Rocky Branch - carve sharply down through the heart of this Wilderness and offer contrast to the surrounding long, high ridgelines of the Southern Presidentials and Montalban Ridge. The Dry River is something of a misnomer, as anyone who has tried to cross it after a period of even moderate rain can attest. This, and the many other streams in this Wilderness are flashy and swift, and run cold and clear from snow that melts well into the summer. The area is characterized by mostly spruce-fir vegetation that runs from river bottoms onto the steep slopes of the high ridgelines. Changes in this pattern are found at the southern end of the Wilderness where northern hardwood forests - spectacular in their autumn foliage - dominate, and in the northernmost section where the weather and soils dictate that only alpine-adapted plants will survive. Visitors may encounter deer, moose, black bear, or any of several other species of wildlife while traversing the area along approximately 43 miles of available hiking trails.
Leave No Trace
How to follow the seven standard Leave No Trace principles differs in different parts of the country (desert vs. Rocky Mountains). Click on any of the principles listed below to learn more about how they apply in the Presidential Range-Dry River Wilderness.
Digital and paper maps are critical tools for wilderness visitors. Online maps can help you plan and prepare for your visit ahead of time. You can also carry digital maps with you on your GPS unit or other handheld GPS device. Having a paper map with you in the backcountry, as well as solid orienteering skills, however, ensures that you can still route-find in the event that your electronic device fails.
Motorized equipment and equipment used for mechanical transport is generally prohibited in all wilderness areas.
This includes the use of motor vehicles, motorboats, motorized equipment, bicycles, hang gliders, wagons, carts, portage wheels, and the landing of aircraft including helicopters.
(Known as the Eastern Wilderness Areas Act) - Public law 93-622 (1/3/1975) To further the purposes of the Wilderness Act by designating certain acquired lands for inclusion in the National Wilderness Preservation System, to provide for study of certain additional lands for such inclusion, and for other purposes