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Presidentials Advice

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  • Presidentials Advice

    I will be up in bethel Maine this summer with my family. Id like to dayhike some of the presidential range. I have never hiked in this area. Our group will have 2 cars so a point to point hike is possible. I was thinking about maybe starting at the Castle or Lowes trailheads, heading up Jefferson, then following the ridge to Madison, and descending the great gulf. Does this seem reasonable? I notice there are a million trails around there, especially on the NW side of the range. So many choices!!! Any advice about this hike or other variations would be appreciated.

    Thanks in advance,

    Love all wilderness!
    Trying to hike and XC ski as much as possible.

    ADK 46/46 still not official.
    W 27/46

  • #2
    I see that you're not going alone and that is good. Dress in layers with extra clothes with you. Take snowshoes. Try to climb on a nice day and turn back if weather turns bad or you run out of time. A predetermined turn-around time is also a good idea and stick to it. A flashlight/headlamp (and extra batteries) for each member of the party is a good idea and to let someone at home know your itinerary (and stick to it!) is also good.

    Ah, I see now that you're going in summer. Still take your snowshoes as you don't want to posthole and ruin the trail for everyone else!
    Last edited by dundee; 02-04-2019, 11:31 AM.


    • autochromatica
      autochromatica commented
      Editing a comment
      He’s going in the summer...

    • CatskillKev
      CatskillKev commented
      Editing a comment
      Snowshoes are not so far off. It could snow. It has snowed every month of the year on Mount Washington.

    • Blowdown Gang
      Blowdown Gang commented
      Editing a comment
      My first time hiking in the Presidentials, July of 1996, it snow flurried a good part of our first day of 4 doing a hut-to-hut traverse. The first night we stayed at the Osgood tent site on the shoulder of Madison, but we heard that Mt Washington received about an inch of snow.

  • #3
    I am hardly an expert, but here's what I did for the presidential range last summer:

    1) North Presidentials - started up the Valley way to summit Madison first. The other car was left at the base of the Ammanohusac ( spelling ??) trail head, which is also right across the Jewel trail head. the car was left in the middle of the traverse in case anyone had to bail (that ended up being me). the 3rd car was left at the Crawford center (I think??? same parking lot area as for Wiley, Field and Tom, and Jackson). The group had a plan to traverse the range and to add on Jackson. I have no ultra aspirations but I am working on the 48 and didn't want to miss the trip. After 7500' or so of gain over femur eating boulders and heat, I had enough and took the Ammo trail from the Lake of the Clouds hut. the group continued on, with some finishing after Pierce and some doing the entire planned thing. I was happy with the 4 big peaks that I got and decided to come back for the Southern presidentials at some other point and to actually enjoy them. I was back in the car well before sunset, ordered pizza for the crew in the pizza joint near the place we were staying in in Gorham and was extremely happy with my decision, as well as the ability to walk the next day i should point out that upon the descent, I noticed a shortcut from the Ammo trail to the Cog parking area and decided to head there. Cog parking area is about 200' or so and maybe 0.5 miles higher than Ammo trail and I enjoyed finishing the hike on the road!

    2) Southern - I went back to NH with my hiking partner for some unfinished business a few weeks later. Cannon and Kinsmans for him, Southern and Jackson for me. We had one car but we planned for him to drop me off at the Cog parking lot and then to pick me up at the parking lot for Jackson (Webster-Jackson trail trailhead, near Crawford notch). We estimated that he would be done ahead of me and either way, neither one of us would wait too long. I also knew I would have service to stay in touch. Anyway, I saved a bit of elevation gain by starting at the Cog parking lot and went up by now familiar Ammo trail to the hut. along the way, I got to enjoy a waterfall that I didn't know was there (the source of the beautiful pool when the trail gets steep). Anyway, once I got to the hut, it was a smooth sailing over Monroe, Eisenhower and Pierce. Absolutely gorgeous and reminded me a bit of the Algonquin-Iroquois area. And the terrain is completely different from the northerns. The trail was rather rough coming down into the Mizpah hut but the approach to Jackson was very beautiful. Unless you are aiming for the 48, I would cut Jackson out for an awesome day along the southerns. The timing was also perfect for my hike - my hiking partner was done when I had about a mile left, so he went to pick up pizza. I only had to wait for a bit before the dinner showed up at the trailhead

    I should also say that unless you are hiking midweek, expect Cascade on cocaine in terms of number of people. I hiked the southerns on a Mon and it was still a bit too busy for my liking but nothing what the Northerns were like on a Sun just a few weeks prior.

    46/46 as of August 1st, 2014!