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About


Wildcat E, Wildcat D
Pinkham's Grant, NH, Bean's Purchase, NH

Trailheads, measurements, times, distances, and maps are all approximate and relative to the hike(s) as shown below.
Looking up the Wildcat Ridge Trail on the way to Wildcat Mountain Peak E
Looking up the Wildcat Ridge Trail on the way to Wildcat Mountain Peak E

Route: Lost Pond Trail, Wildcat Ridge Trail, (Wildcat E), Wildcat Ridge Trail, (Wildcat D), Wildcat Ridge Trail, Polecat, Catnap, Lower Polecat, Route 16 roadwalk

Though I had hiked the D peak of Wildcat multiple times before, I had never ascended via a proper hiking trail. Thus, it was time to try the Wildcat Ridge Trail.

While I had originally planned to start from the proper parking lot, I decided to instead park at Pinkham Notch and use the Lost Pond Trail, as to allow the possibility of a reasonable return trip via the ski trails.

While I had thought the Lost Pond Trail would be one of those faux-hiking trails near popular places - a trail you can basically take a stroller down - instead, it was a rough, rocky mess. The second half of the trail had big boulders that had to be navigated around, which slowed my 3 mph ambitions a bit. The pond was scenic, however.

Once I reached the Wildcat Ridge Trail junction, it steepened up right away. While I have heard a lot about this section of trail being very technical, I didn't find it to be too tricky - that is, in dry summer conditions. Any sort of water-related conditions, especially ice, would make this a dangerous trail.

While the steeps are relentless, there are a few breaks and even a few dips in the trail. With the exception of the summit area, there are frequent views from the trail. The summit is wooded, and the nearest view to it is likely the col between it and D peak (ie, the top of the alpine ski area).

After reaching the approximate summit of E peak (the highpoint is not on the trail), I continued over to the top of the ski area, then up to the summit of D peak. While the summit deck offers some views, the entrance is now gated shut. Thus, there are no decent views of the Presidentials from the summit, though there are some viewpoints along the Wildcat Ridge Trail of points to the south.

Since I had a few nagging injuries giving me subtle reminders, I decided descending via the Wildcat Ridge Trail, the heading over the Lond Pond Trail wouldn't be in my best interest. As a result, I descende via the recently mowed Polecat and Catnap ski trails, then did a boring 15 minute road walk back to the Pinkham Notch Visitor Center.


Hike Ratings
Getting To Trailhead: Easy
Destination: Wildcat E
Length: Moderate
Steepness: Very Difficult
Navigation: Easy
Views: Minimal
Crowds: Minimal
Destination: Wildcat D
Length: Moderate
Steepness: Difficult
Navigation: Easy
Views: Excellent
Crowds: Minimal


Hike Stats
Date Hiked: Tuesday, August 26, 2008
Hike Commenced: 3:09 PM
Parking Elevation: 2,025'
Destination: Wildcat E
Ascent Commenced: 3:10 PM
Summit Reached: 4:47 PM
Time Elapsed: 01:37
Trailhead Elevation: 2,030'
Summit Elevation: 4,046'
Distance: 2.8 miles
Vertical Gain: 2,386'
Destination: Wildcat D
Ascent Commenced: 4:47 PM
Summit Reached: 4:56 PM
Time Elapsed: 00:09
Trailhead Elevation: 4,046'
Summit Elevation: 4,062'
Vertical Gain: 72'
Hike Ended: 6:18 PM
Hike Time Elapsed: 03:09
Hike Vertical Gain: 2,503'


The Lost Pond Trail trailhead next to Route 16
The Lost Pond Trail trailhead next to Route 16




Looking at the Northern Presidentials from the top of the ski area between peaks E and D - Click to enlarge
Looking at the Northern Presidentials from the top of the ski area between peaks E and D

The Wildcat Ridge Trail near the summit of Peak D
The Wildcat Ridge Trail near the summit of Peak D

Looking south from near the summit of Wildcat Peak D - Click to enlarge
Looking south from near the summit of Wildcat Peak D

Topographic map of Wildcat E, Wildcat D - Click to enlarge


Directions to trailhead: Take Route 16 North from Jackson to Pinkham Notch. The Pinkham Notch Visitor Center and parking lots are on the left, shortly before Wildcat Ski Area. The Lost Pond Trail trailhead is located directly across Route 16 from the parking area.

Back to Wildcat E Profile
Back to Wildcat D Profile




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