DATE: Jul 17, 2021 to Jul 17, 2021
Full Day Hike Mount Washinton via Nelson Crag Trail

Meeting Time: 10:00 AM

Event Coordinator: nhclimber03264
Pinkham Notch, NH

Max # People: 12

Trip Guiding / Event Fee: No, I will not be asking participants for money

Difficulty Level: Moderate to Strenuous


Mt Washington via Nelson Crag: The Nelson Crag Trail is an excellent trail challenge. It provides a steep rocky grade on the lower half and completely exposed upper half. Unlike other routes to the summit this trail is lightly traveled adding to its charm.

  • Elevation (highest point) 6288ft
  • Distance to highest point 5.3 miles
  • Total trip distance 9.8 miles.

This trip is considered MODERATE to STRENUOUS. Steep grade (up and down), distance, pace, exposure and weather are all definite factors.

Group will meet at 10 am and depart up the trail by 10:20.

Starting point for this hike is the Pinkham Notch Visitor Center (directions and parking info below). The trip begins by following a fairly easy grade along the Old Jackson Road (minor stream crossings) for 1.7 miles to the Nelson Crag Trail. At this point the grade becomes steep and rocky with several viewpoints. This Trail will break tree line and will be EXPOSED until the summit area. The trail will cross the Mt Washington Auto Road and eventually the Alpine Garden before reaching the summit.

The descent will follow the Tuckerman Ravine Trail for .6 miles at which point it will then continue down the Lion’s Head Trail rejoining the Tuckerman Ravine Trail down to the visitor center.

There are several risks factors, but this trail does provide opportunities to change routes should there be any issues.

  • There are hikers that may choose to hike up and ride down via Mt Washington Stage (Vans)$$. It is not an uncommon practice (planned or for emergency). The trail down is rocky and steep, rough on joints. The Stage vans will bring to the base of the Auto Road. Do not plan to use the Cog Railway, this goes to the opposite side of the mountain range. Hitch hiking to the base is discouraged by state park officials. If you wish to use this resource, YOU must make the arrangements.
  • The summit provides facilities and resources, however, plan in case the trip is rerouted, and the summit is NOT an available resource.

PREPARATION/WHAT TO BRING: White Mountains can and do have unpredictable and extreme weather changes year-round. It is no secret that Mt Washington has extreme weather patterns.

It is expected that hikers:

  • Have extra dry clothing, sun, and wind protection.
  • Always have water and food. There are facilities available at the summit to refill water and purchase food, however, plan for the possibility the trip could be redirected because of extenuating factors.
  • Bug repellent is recommended. Remember the one thing worse than annoying bugs, people complaining about annoying bugs.
  • Helpful hint: Avoid perfumed scents in soaps, bodywash and shampoo. These will attract bugs.
  • It is highly recommended to bring a BLISTER KIT (DIY kits online). DO NOT wear brand-new footwear, foot first aid most likely will be necessary.
  • If you need suggestions on what to bring, PLEASE ASK!!

For this trip it is important to bring along flexibility, patience, and a sense of humor.

Covid Mt Washington is a very popular recreation destination. Although the trail we will be traveling may be lightly traveled the base and summit areas will be busy.

  • Please bring a mask for the use when in close proximity to others.
  • Respect people’s space
  • There are a variety of mask styles to match the variety of covid opinions. Let’s be safe and respect others. We are not the only people on the trail.

Group Size: It is not fun leaving folks out of trips.

  • PLEASE cancel so others may join. If you are on the waiting list, please contact me the days prior to the trip, most likely there is room and if needed this trail will allow us to break the group into smaller groups.
  • Please DO NOT bring dogs on this trip. The trails and summit area are not ideal situations for dogs.

Environmental Impact – The wilderness is a beautiful place, and the alpine zone of Mt Washington is VERY fragile and includes rare species of plants only found in this zone and no place else in the world.

  • Decreasing the impact to the environment is always a priority! Above tree line it is vital to stick to the paths and rocks. Do not stray.
  • Please plan to “carry in and carry out” all items (bins at summit). It may also be possible to collect other hikers’ debris along the way.

Weather: The weather for this trip is very complex and will be monitored the week prior. If it is a concern any updates or cancellation information will be posted by the Thursday prior by 6pm. If it is a cancellation, it will include a rescheduled date so participants can watch for that opportunity.

For weather details;

Safety is a priority! Any time a hiker is injured or lost a HUGE team of volunteers is dispatched to aid in the search and rescue efforts.

  • No one wants to be injured or put other in harm’s way.
  • Always be prepared. Know your limits.
  • Any questions feel free to contact me.


After trip social: This trip is scheduled for the same day as the Mt Washington Observatory annual fund raiser “Seek the Peak”. This is an awesome event with resources at the summit and Auto Road Base.  If you want more details or wish to participate in this event (planning on your own) go to the observatory web site – for details about the event.

  • If there is an interest there are several food and refreshment options such as the scheduled event, visitor center, and south along route 16 in Jackson, North Conway area.

Resources used to plan this trip:

Driving directions to the location and spot to meet at:

Group will meet at 10 am and depart up the trail by 10:20.

Pinkham Notch Visitor Center is a very popular and busy place for hikers and tourists. This particular day there is a huge fund raiser “Seek the Peak” (based at the Mt Washington Auto Road). Anticipate parking to be an issue. I suggest you arrive early. There is parking at the visitor center with overflow at the Wildcat Ski Area (approx. ½ mile north). Find a space that works for you.

  • The visitor center is located on route 16 in Pinkham notch, north of Jackson NH. GPS will get you to this location and cell service is available.

Where to meet: The group will assemble in front of the visitor center and Joe Dodge Lodge. A flag or sign will be posted (sending specific details the week prior). There are bathroom facilities available, as well as food and beverages in the shop.

  • Because of trip preparation the trip leader is unable to provide a ride for this trip.
  • If you are traveling a long distance and need advice on accommodations, please contact me. There are several options from inns, B&B to campgrounds. Availability maybe difficult so plan ahead. If there is enough interest a group campsite could be arranged at a USFS campground.