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Trail Conditions

Trip Log


Mt. Washington
Pinkham's Grant, NH, Sargent's Purchase, NH

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

Looking up the Tuckerman Ravine Trail as it runs along the snow line

Route: Tuckerman Ravine Trail, Crawford Path, (Mt. Washington), Crawford Path, Tuckerman Ravine Trail

It was finally time to hike Mt. Washington. I had saved this NH 4,000 footer peak for last, as it was one I really wanted to hike. Had I hiked this any earlier, I likely would have never bothered with Owl's Head (and thus the list).

With a humid weather forecast, I decided to get an early start. Arriving at Pinkham Notch a little after 5:30, I was perhaps too eager to get started, as I cut around the back of a building, and then through a field, and back again, figuring I would perhaps run into a sign for the trail there. After wasting a few minutes, I finally walked up past the Visitors Center, found the easily spotting trailhead, and quickly set off for Tuckerman Ravine.

I found the hike up to the ravine to be rather boring - the Tuckerman Ravine Trail up to this point was basically a rocky road (thus limiting my speed) with moderate grades and minimal views. Upon arriving at the huts, things changed, as the ravine towered straight ahead and the rocky road gave way to a rocky path.

I was surprised at how much snow was left in the ravine, considering it was early July. Apparently the section of trail that ascends the ravine had just recently opened - the lower part of this section went right up along the snow (no snow on the trail), then skirted above and below some neat cliffs. The tremendous photo opportunities all around slowed my progress dramatically.

After clearing the lip, things turned into rocky hiking, reminding me a lot of the upper portion of the Caps Ridge Trail to Jefferson. Though under a mile, the section of trail between the Tuckerman Junction and the summit of Mt. Washington seemed to take forever, as it was basically just a series of cairns defining a route up the rocky shoulder.

As I arrived at the summit, I was somewhat shocked by the setting - no wind, mild temperatures, mostly clear skies overhead, and utter silence - no train, no tourists, etc. After reaching the highpoint, I dropped my pack and explored some viewpoints. I particularly enjoyed a ledge below some towers that looked at Monroe and the other Southern Presidentials.

After walking around a bit, I headed into the summit building, had a snack, and spent some money like a good tourist. Altogether I spent about an hour hanging around a quiet summit, before finally descending down the rocky trail.

Back at Tuckerman Ravine, I spent almost an hour sitting on the sun, watching some skiers make some turns - quite a novelty for July in New England!

As I descended below Tuckerman Ravine, I passed a bunch of hikers, making me glad I had started so early and enjoyed a peaceful morning.

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

Hike Stats
Date Hiked: Sunday, July 6, 2008
Hike Commenced: 5:38 AM
Parking Elevation: 2,025'
Destination: Mt. Washington
Ascent Commenced: 5:44 AM
Summit Reached: 8:11 AM
Time Elapsed: 02:37
Trailhead Elevation: 2,032'
Summit Elevation: 6,288'
Distance: 4.2 miles
Vertical Gain: 4,306'
Hike Ended: 12:43 PM
Hike Time Elapsed: 07:05
Hike Distance: 8.4 miles
Hike Vertical Gain: 4,363'

The Tuckerman Ravine Trail trailhead at Pinkham Notch

A rainbow forms on a waterfall in Tuckerman Ravine

Bog laurel on the side of the Tuckerman Ravine Trail above Tuckerman Ravine

Looking south at Mt. Washington over the Great Gulf from Mt. Jefferson

Directions to trailhead: Take Route 16 North from Jackson to Pinkham Notch. The Pinkham Notch Visitor Center, parking lots, and Tuckerman Ravine Trail trailhead are on the left, shortly before Wildcat Ski Area.

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