The huge, wooded expanse to the south of the Franconia, Twin, and Wiley Ranges is the Pemigewasset Wilderness, or, affectionately, "The Pemi". The entire area was part of a massive logging operation in the early part of the 1900s, but the regions's recovery from clear-cutting is now complete, and many of the backpackers who explore this vast woodland wouldn't even realize its history if most of the hiking trails of the Pemi weren't on old logging railroad beds, many with ties and spikes still visible.
The southern end of the Twin Range penetrates into the heart of the Pemi, making Mount Bond (4689') the area's high point, but there are also many other peaks littering the area. Owl's Head-4023, a spur of the Francoania Range, is the other major summit in the northern part of this area.
A wild and rugged range without a name forms the southern part of the Pemigewasset Wilderness. Mount Carrigain-4680, an outstanding high peak with very wide-ranging views from its summit ovservation tower, is the principal summit. Mount Hancock-4410 and South Hancock-4200 are the only other summits with trails, leaving the many high 3000 footers just east of Carrigain (Lowell at 3743', Nancy at 3926', Anderson at 3722', and Bemis at 3725') as well as the large mass of Mount Huntington (3700') to the south of Hancock utterly trailless, wild, and rarely visited.
The main artery of the Pemi is the Wilderness Trail, following the East Branch of the Pemigewasset from the Kancamangus Highway almost to Mount Carrigain. This trail and those feeding off of it are the center of excellent backpacking country, owing to the enormous size of the area, many fine peaks ringing it, the relative flatness of much of the central terrain, and the lack of dayhikers and A.M.C. hut users. Anyone backpacking here on a crowded summer weekend, though, is apt to wonder if the Pemi really is a Wilderness.
The southern edge of the Franconia Region is the Kancamangus Highway (NH 112), a 34-mile road leading from North Woodstock to Conway. Only in the central area near its 2830-foot summit at Kancamangus Pass does the road offer much in really nice mountain views, since it runs through thick forest for the most part, but it is still a very pleasant, uncommercialized drive, particularly nice in fall foliage season. The many campgrounds along its length are very popular, and many trailheads lead to the Waterville-Sandwich area and the Pemi, including the massive Wilderness Trail parking lot.