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Trail Conditions

Trip Log


Mt. Jefferson
Randolph, NH, Thompson and Meserve's Purchase, NH

Trailheads, measurements, times, distances, and maps are all approximate and relative to the hike(s) as shown below.
Looking down the Castle Trail
Looking down the Castle Trail

Route: Castle Trail, (Mt. Jefferson), Caps Ridge Trail

With a nice forecast, it seemed like a great day to head up to the Northern Presidentials.

The Castle Trail started off fairly gently, working its way around a field and along a stream. After the first trail junction, things began to steepen up. After the Link junction, the trail immediately began to get technical with some exposed rock slab scrambles. Though a few were tricky, there were fortunately enough hand holds to ensure ascent. In slippery conditions, this wouldn't be much fun!

The Castles section of the trail was very scenic and interesting, as the rocky crags provided a fun route with unique views. Above the Cornice junction, the trail was typical Northern Presidential traprock.

The views from the crowded summit of Mt. Jefferson were tremendous - though things were clouding up to the south, the visibility was nonetheless strong.

Needing to get back south later in the afternoon, I descended a busy Caps Ridge Trail back to my vehicle-spot. A nice day for Mt. Jefferson!

Hike Ratings
Getting To Trailhead: Easy
Destination: Mt. Jefferson
Length: Moderate
Steepness: Very Difficult
Navigation: Moderate
Views: Excellent
Crowds: Heavy

Hike Stats
Date Hiked: Friday, August 28, 2009
Hike Commenced: 7:27 AM
Parking Elevation: 1,500'
Destination: Mt. Jefferson
Ascent Commenced: 7:27 AM
Summit Reached: 12:29 PM
Time Elapsed: 05:02
Trailhead Elevation: 1,500'
Summit Elevation: 5,712'
Distance: 5 miles
Vertical Gain: 4,462'
Hike Ended: 2:40 PM
Hike Time Elapsed: 07:13
Hike Distance: 7.5 miles
Hike Vertical Gain: 4,527'

The Castle Trail trailhead off US 2
The Castle Trail trailhead off US 2

Looking down the Castle Trail
Looking down the Castle Trail

Looking at Mt. Adams from Mt. Jefferson - Click to enlarge
Looking at Mt. Adams from Mt. Jefferson

Topographic map of Mt. Jefferson - Click to enlarge

Directions to trailhead: Take US 2 West from Appalachia. Shortly after passing the Lowes Path trailhead, the Castle Trail trailhead will be on the left side of the road, as well as a small parking area located adjacent to a field. To get to the Caps Ridge Trail trailhead, take Route 302 West from Bartlett into Carroll. Just after Saco Lake, take a right onto Mt. Clinton Road. Cross over Base Road and continue on Jefferson Notch Road. At the high point of the road, the WMNF fee parking lot will be on the right. The Caps Ridge Trail trailhead is at the back of the parking lot.

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