Mts. Jackson and Pierce
4000 Footer DATE: 01/22/2022 - 01/22/2022
Trip/Event Location: Bretton Woods, NH
Trip Leader(s): dpbyrnes
Max # People: 10
Trip Guiding / Event Fee: No, I will not be asking participants for money
Difficulty Level: Moderate to Strenuous
The Mount Jackson and Mount Pierce via Webster Jackson Trail and Crawford Path is a 7.5 mile moderately trafficked loop trail located near Bretton Woods that is rated as difficult. Dogs are also able...
FROM THE JUNCTION OF ROUTES 3 AND 302 IN TWIN MOUNTAIN: Turn east onto Route 302 E. Travel for 12.2 miles. Trailhead parking will be on the right-hand/south side of the road south of Crawford Notch [AMC Highland Center]. Look for parking at the Highland Center, the Crawford Depot Railroad Station (more likely), along the side of the highway (it should be plowed), and there’s even a small lot a little south of the Webster Jackson Trail Head which should be plowed out.
FROM THE JUNCTION OF ROUTES 16 and 302 IN GLEN: Take Route 302 W and travel for 16.9 miles. The trailhead parking area will be on the left-hand/south side of the road.
The trailhead is about .1 mile south of Saco lake on the north side of 302.
Hike Departure is as close to 8:30 as possible, so arrive early to be ready to go.
Look for a white Honda CRV.
It was an epic day doing the Mts. Jackson and Pierce loop hike today. Incredibly crisp, clear, zero wind, sunny all day weather. By crisp of course I mean it was seriously cold, by some estimates -17 degrees when we started. But once moving we were perfectly comfortable all day (that lack of wind thing). We were down to just 3 of us as started up the Webster Jackson trail at 9am sharp. The trail was completely broken with maybe a foot of snow off trail. It’s a pretty good workout going up to Mt. Jackson but the trail is super pretty in the winter - sun dappled forest vistas via a curving ascent on a well protected side of the mountain. We saw maybe 6-8 folks max on the way up. We arrived around 10:30 to the summit of Mt. Jackson which had a stunning 360 degree view of the Whites, with one of the best views of Washington I've ever had, it was so clear. The sky was almost painfully blue, and against the bright white snow I immediately thought to purchase some Blue Willow china when I got home. We waved hi to Jon and Mike (they were doing Mt. Washington), chatted with the few folks that were there, and continued forward onto the Webster Cliff trail towards Mr. Pierce.
We struggled for a minute to confirm we were actually on the trail because there was only one snowshoer who had actually traversed the ridge trail since it literally started snowing in NH. Luckily Jim forgot his spikes and wore his snowshoes all day (naturally, I instructed Russ to leave his snowshoes at the cars since that was what I did) so he took the lead but it was a really tough 1.7-mile slog to get to the Mizpah hut. Russ and I were post holing up to our knees (of course the snow was much deeper for this part of the hike, more like 2 1/2 feet). As I was starting to ruminate that maybe we should just reverse course at the hut as it would be easier, we came upon 5 snowshoers coming the other direction. So the last 1/4 mile to the hut was manageable where we promptly had lunch (reward!). There was a rather adorable young man there who was heading back to Mt. Pierce, so that meant at least 6 people had broken the trail before we had to tackle it. Yay! It's really the simple things in life isn't it? With renewed energy and enthusiasm after lunch, we got back on the trail for the .9 mile to Mt. Pierce. We came across another 4-5 people coming the other way (more trail flattening!) and arrived to a crowd of about 25 folks and some dogs hanging out at the summit. Another cherished another breathtaking view, especially of Washington (we waved hi to Mike and Jon again) before starting our descent on the Crawford Path.
By now the trail was perfectly packed down and we made good time. We encountered probably another 30-35 folks coming up to Mr. Pierce almost all the way back to 302. In fact it was a surprising how late some folks were starting up, but I had to admit that hiking out in the dark on such a comfortable snow pillow trail was not overly concerning. All told, another awesome GO hike.
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What Members Are Saying About This Trip/Event
- Enjoyed your report and pictures Dave! Reminded me of a winter hike I did years ago in the reverse direction. I took my best Mt Washington winter photos on that hike, until I lost the trail and had to turn back. The niceness of this hike is that it generally keeps you below tree line when winds are above, but opens up to spectacular winter views along the way. - phoenix
- We waived at you guys when we reached the Mt. Washington summit a bit before noon. What a day for hiking!!! - Gandalf
phoenix Jan 23, 2022 at 7:58 PM
Comment: Enjoyed your report and pictures Dave! Reminded me of a winter hike I did years ago in the reverse direction. I took my best Mt Washington winter photos on that hike, until I lost the trail and had to turn back. The niceness of this hike is that it generally keeps you below tree line when winds are above, but opens up to spectacular winter views along the way.
Gandalf Jan 23, 2022 at 12:38 PM
Comment: We waived at you guys when we reached the Mt. Washington summit a bit before noon. What a day for hiking!!!