Trip report

Mt Jefferson Hike

Hiking/Walk DATE: 11/06/2010 - 11/06/2010

Trip/Event Location: Randolph, NH

Trip Leader(s): Gandalf

Max # People: 15

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

Difficulty Level: Very Strenuous

This is a long but highly rewarding approach up beautiful Castle Ravine with the usual Northern Presidentials rock-hop; then down the Castle Trail with terrific views and some tough

Driving directions to the location and spot to meet at:

The trailhead for this hike is located in Randolph, New Hampshire on the south side of Route 2.

From I-93:

  • From I-93, take Exit 36 for Rt. 3 North
  • Follow Rt. 3 North for about 10 miles which will bring you to the junction of Routes 302 and 3 in Carroll [Twin Mountain]
  • Continue driving north on Rt. 3 for 2 miles, then turn right at the blinking light, onto Rt. 115
  • Follow Rt. 115 for about 13 miles until it ends upon meeting Rt. 2
  • Turn right onto Rt. 2 East
  • Follow Rt. 2 East for 4.2 miles, then turn right into the parking area [this parking area is not very visible from the road and can easily be missed]
  • We'll be driving a blue Toyota FJ Cruiser

From Rt. 16:

  • Take Rt. 16 into the town of Gorham
  • At the western-most junction of Routes 2 and 16 [this will be the first junction if heading south on Rt. 16; the second junction when heading north], head west on Rt. 2
  • Follow Rt. 2 for 8.3 miles, then turn left into a parking area [this parking area is not very visible from the road and can easily be missed]
  • We'll be driving a blue Toyota FJ Cruiser

Trip Report/Photos
Featured Photo

The weather forecast was for mostly cloudy skies, chance of snow showers and minimal wind.

We arrived at Bowman at 8:00am to find everyone there. The weather was cloudy and the Catellated Ridge was hidden from view.

To make things interesting we had a very tricky crossing on the Israel River due to high water. The trail was still damp and slippery with fallen leaves. We cruised along the first couple miles at breakneck speed as the grade was flat to moderate and we quicly loosened up. Approching with what the White Mountain Guide describes as the big boulder, I checked my watch and we had covered the first 2.2 miles in 90 minutes. We were beginning to see snow on the trail.

We were making good time but we knew that this was about to end. The crank up to the ridge began here and a quarter mile or so later we were rewarded with an idyllic ridge walk that in places was almost level. This was an open boulevard; a great place to walk. Soon the incline increased and we reach the intersection of the Link Trail where we put on our MicroSpikes for traction. We then started the scramble up to the Castles which are rock outcroppings that resemble a spiny ridge. Soon after we were rewarded with brightening skies as we approached treeline. Within minutes we broke out of the clouds and could see the surrounding peaks poking out like islands in a calm sea.

The scramble up the castles was fun and energizing as the view became more impressive with the increase in height. We started getting excellent views of the upper headwall of Castle Ravine. Looking back, the first Castle was impressive and intimidating as we moved away and looked back into the void. We could not stop taking photos! The gawk factor was outstanding. The total interplay of clouds and peaks was a sensory overload of which we could have stayed in one place to watch all day. Reluctantly we moved upward along the trail and we kept turning around to admire the ever changing scenery.

The mile from the Link junction to the Cornice junction took us about 90 minutes, due to the scrambling and wonderful views. From there we scrambled up the rocks to the summit of Mt. Jefferson. We saw the first people of the entire day descending as we approached. We reached the summit at 12:45pm and there was hardly anyone there. There was no wind, it was comfortable, and the views of the swirling clouds around the peaks was outstanding. Alex measured the temperature and it was 29 degrees. 

We took a number of photos from the summit and marveled at how comfortable the conditions were. We had lunch while gazing at the sumptious summit of Mt. Washington. Wanting to get back before dark we packed it up and quickly descended. We were back to our cars at 5:00.

  There are 55 photos in Album (Note: Move mouse pointer over larger pic and click on NEXT for better viewing)

What Members Are Saying About This Trip/Event

  • A big thanks to Mike & Jon for organizing this trip! This is one of the best hikes in the Whites & the conditions were spectacular- calm winds & undercast with sunny conditions at the summit!! - Bobcat
  • I loved the "sandwich effect" with clouds above and below us as we hit 5000 feet. The perfect summit conditions of sun with no wind was icing on the cake! This hike made me HUNGRY for more!! lol Thanks GO CREW for a memorable time together. - JDNnh

Members That Participated


Outdoor Fitness Level: Very Strenuous

Thornton, NH

United States

Outdoor Fitness Level: Very Strenuous

Thornton, NH

United States

Outdoor Fitness Level: Very Strenuous

Lexington, MA

United States

Outdoor Fitness Level: Strenuous

Upton, MA

United States
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