Mount Washinton via Nelson Crag Trail

Full Day Hike

DATE: Jul 17, 2021
END DATE: Jul 17, 2021

Hike/Event Location: Pinkham Notch NH

Trip Leader(s)

Plymouth, NH United States

Meeting Time: 10:00 AM

Max # People: 12

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

Hike Difficulty Level:

Moderate to Strenuous

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Disclaimer: The club and its members take no responsibility and will not be held responsible for any injuries or accidents that may occur during club events. Outdoor sports are inherently dangerous and accidents will happen. By joining the club or participating in any events posted on our website you are taking responsibility for your own safety and well-being. Anyone with an internet connection can post a trip on our web site. It is your responsibility to determine if this person has the experience and competence to lead the trip. We do not certify or confirm the qualifications of any of our members to lead or participate in trips.

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 – www.mountwashington.org 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:

Directions To Trailhead Parking Lot

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

Pinkham Notch Visitor Center www.outdoors.org/lodging-camping/lodges/pinkham/ 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.


Trip Leader


Outdoor Fitness Level: Moderate to Strenuous

Plymouth, NH

United States
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members signed up for this event

Moving forward fm RI

Outdoor Fitness Level: Moderate

Smithfield, RI

United States
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Outdoor Fitness Level: Moderate to Strenuous

Boston, MA

United States
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Outdoor Fitness Level: Moderate to Strenuous

Newtonville, MA

United States
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Outdoor Fitness Level: Moderate to Strenuous

Jamaica Plain, MA

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Mike from RI

Outdoor Fitness Level: Moderate to Strenuous

Lincoln, RI

United States
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Outdoor Fitness Level: Moderate to Strenuous

Ipswich, MA

United States
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Harrisburg, PA

United States
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Outdoor Fitness Level: Strenuous

Upton, MA

United States
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Outdoor Fitness Level: Strenuous

NYC/Hudson Valley, NY

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Outdoor Fitness Level: Moderate to Strenuous


United States
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Outdoor Fitness Level: Moderate to Strenuous

Yonkers and Binghamton, NY

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Discuss This Trip/Event
Bobcat Posted Jul 16, 2021 at 12:11 AM

For hikers staying at the Sugar Hill "Base Camp" or coming after hike: OK to arrive anytime after 12 Noon Fri. There will be 10 persons staying over Fri & Sat so all 10 beds will be taken. If you prefer to camp to spread out more, there are a few nice spots at the pond and at the house. Pizza and salad will be served Sat eve. Rich is bringing NYC bagels. If you would like to bring something to share please do so (optional). Otherwise other meals are on your own. BYOB also. See you soon!

nhclimber03264 Posted Jul 15, 2021 at 5:28 PM

Check the weather news!! Looking better but plan for anything.

nhclimber03264 Posted Jul 15, 2021 at 12:59 PM

Let's not split hairs. However humor is a factor on these trips.

Richardg Posted Jul 14, 2021 at 10:04 PM

LOL, tough room. Looking forward to the hike!

nhclimber03264 Posted Jul 14, 2021 at 9:52 PM

1. Please check your spam folders for any emails or updates. 2. Looks wet on Saturday, shower caps for those with hair concerns. 3. Be prepared! Any questions please ask!

Richardg Posted Jul 14, 2021 at 7:22 PM

It better not rain. I’m having my hair done the day before.

nhclimber03264 Posted Jul 13, 2021 at 9:19 PM

Using the above links please monitor weather conditions. Rain is likely but too early to confirm. Prepare for possible wet conditions.

nhclimber03264 Posted Jul 10, 2021 at 10:12 AM

Intention is to take the great white whale... oh sorry wrong story. Intention is to summit, replenish water and snacks. BUT do not expect this, severe weather could change our route. Be prepared. 2 liters of water minimum. Snacks (not just sugar) to stay charged. Drink a LOT of water before leaving the trail head. ANY questions or concerns, POST HERE or contact me. This will be a great adventure as long as we plan well.

nhclimber03264 Posted Jul 10, 2021 at 10:07 AM

Watch all the weather forecasts you want! Plan for SUN, WIND and possible RAIN. This mountain is famous for weather changes. BEST source, www.mountwashington.org We will hike in any weather -- well lightning is a game changer. Shocking I know.

nhclimber03264 Posted Jul 10, 2021 at 10:04 AM

Day is fast approaching. Have heard from many of you about overnight/parking plans. Please contact me if you have NOT already done so. Because of work needs, Monday through Friday I can respond and update after 6pm. Feel free to contact me! Time to confirm!

nhclimber03264 Posted Jul 5, 2021 at 10:28 AM

Parking UPDATE -- An email will be sent to each member directly with details and options. Option A -- fend for yourself and meet at 10am on front lawn area of Pinkham Visitor Center Option B-- meet at Sugar Hill Address at 8am and carpool as a group to Pinkham. (highly recommended) Check email, especially SPAM. if you do not get an email in the next 2 hours contact me.

nhclimber03264 Posted Jun 28, 2021 at 7:20 PM

Updates on Parking, Carpooling and over night accommodations will be sent out soon. Hopes to reduce driving time for those coming great distances. Will have details later this week. Don't sweat it, stay cool!

nhclimber03264 Posted Jun 27, 2021 at 8:57 PM

Our overall objective is to have a safe and positive experience. This hike is rated MODERATE to STRENUOUS. This includes steep rocky trail; fully exposed over half the trip; STEADY and CONSISTENT pace; and long distance. Know your limits and don’t be a rescue statistic.

nhclimber03264 Posted Jun 27, 2021 at 8:39 PM

As mentioned above there will be a HIGH volume of hikers on this particular date. There is a major fund raiser for the Mount Washington Observatory scheduled for this date. I am posting the link for information. YOU ARE NOT REQUIRED TO PARTICIPATE. This is just alerting you to what is going on in the area. Check it out! More details later. Jon https://secure.qgiv.com/event/stp2021/

nhclimber03264 Posted Jun 27, 2021 at 8:28 PM

Greetings to EVERYONE! The date draws near, and I will begin sending updates about this trip. 1. Please watch your email (especially spam) for updates. 2. If you are unable to attend please REMOVE your name from the list. This will allow others to move up the list. That said I try to accommodate everyone, if you are on the wait list please plan on attending. NO ONE will be left out. 3. Email any questions and concerns. More updates soon. Jon

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