Hiking Guide

 New Hampshire
 New York
 Rhode Island

 View All

 NE 4,000 Footers
 NE 100 Highest
 NH 4,000 Footers
 NH 100 Highest
 NH 52 With A View
 NH Belknap Range
 NH Ossipee 10


Trail Conditions

Trip Log


Mt. Isolation
Jackson, NH, Sargents Purchase, NH, Cutts Grant, NH

Trailheads, measurements, times, distances, and maps are all approximate and relative to the hike(s) as shown below.
The birch glades around the Engine Hill bushwhack
The birch glades around the Engine Hill bushwhack

Route: Rocky Branch Trail, (Engine Hill bushwhack), Isolation Trail, (bushwhack), Davis Path, Isolation Spur, (Mt. Isolation), Isolation Spur, Davis Path, (bushwhack), Isolation Trail, (Engine Hill bushwhack), Rocky Branch Trail

Unbroken Isolation in early January - not exactly a dream scenario. Nonetheless, it seemed like a decent chance to get it.

Fortunately, the Rocky Branch Trail was broken out, making for relatively smooth sailing up to the height of land beyond the Wilderness boundary. Beyond there, we hopped into the birch glades and climbed up to about 3,300-3,400 feet in elevation - a bit too high in places, but nonetheless putting us in line for hitting the Isolation Trail in a good area - just below the 4th water crossing.

The fifth water crossing, the only one we'd need to use, was fully snowbridged. Beyond there, we had to carefully break trail, trying hard to follow the airway (messing up once) while avoiding hidden wet spots.

Reaching the campsite area, we headed due west, popping out on the Davis Path after a few dozen feet. After a short lunch break, we continued up to the summit, where the winds were fortunately not too strong. Opposite the forecast, the skies had clouded as the day had progressed - nonetheless, we had strong views in all directions, including the Presidentials.

The return trip was much easier, though we did do a bit more breaking through Engine Hill, picking a lower route to avoid some spruce. Arriving at the parking area before sunset, we were happy to get a long hike done in early January without headlamps.

Hike Ratings
Getting To Trailhead: Easy
Destination: Mt. Isolation
Length: Difficult
Steepness: Difficult
Navigation: Difficult
Views: Excellent
Crowds: Minimal

Hike Stats
Date Hiked: Sunday, January 10, 2010
Hike Commenced: 6:59 AM
Parking Elevation: 1,260'
Destination: Mt. Isolation
Ascent Commenced: 6:59 AM
Summit Reached: 12:20 PM
Time Elapsed: 05:21
Trailhead Elevation: 1,260'
Summit Elevation: 4,004'
Vertical Gain: 3,034'
Hike Ended: 4:14 PM
Hike Time Elapsed: 09:15
Hike Vertical Gain: 3,324'

The Rocky Branch Trail trailhead
The Rocky Branch Trail trailhead

Looking up the unbroken Isolation Trail
Looking up the unbroken Isolation Trail

Looking at Mt. Washington from Mt. Isolation - Click to enlarge
Looking at Mt. Washington from Mt. Isolation

Directions to trailhead: Take Route 16 North from the Route 302-16 junction in Glen. A few minutes having passing Jackson and just before 16 starts to climb to Pinkham Notch, the Rocky Branch parking lot will be on the left. The Rocky Branch Trail trailhead is at the north side of the parking lot.

Back to Mt. Isolation Profile

Copyright 2002-2021, All Rights Reserved.