Mount Jefferson Loop Hike
Hiking/Walk DATE: 06/25/2016 - 06/25/2016
Trip/Event Location: Randolph, NH
Trip Leader(s): shep5
Max # People: 12
Trip Guiding / Event Fee: No, I will not be asking participants for money
Difficulty Level: Moderate to Strenuous
Mount Jefferson is the third highest mountain in NH and also in the Northeast. It sits at an elevation of 5712 feet and is part of the Presidential Range. The mountain is made up of...
From the intersection of Routes 3 and 302 in Twin Mountain, turn right onto Route 302 East and follow for 4.4 miles. Just past Faybian's Restaurant in the old rail station, turn left onto Base Station Road. Follow this for 4.4 miles to Jefferson Notch Road. It will be on your left. Follow Jefferson Notch Road for 3.2 miles to the trailhead, which will have a parking lot on your right. Look for a gray Hyundai Elantra. NOTE: Jefferson Notch Road is narrow and may be rough. It usually is in decent condition, but may be slow.
GPS Users: 44.296884, -71.354226 (Jefferson Notch Road; Randolph, NH)
On Saturday, June 25th, thirteen (13) of us met up at the Jefferson Notch Road trailhead. We were Martin, Richard, Joe, Chris, Robert, Will, George, David, Rob, Kyle, Karl, Dan and myself. There were 9 of us, who were staying up in Twin Mountain for the weekend (7 at the Tarry Ho Campground and 2 at the Carlton Lodge). Those of us, who had spent the night in the area, carpooled over to the trailhead and we arrived by 9:10AM to a fairly full parking lot. We parked and met everyone else, who were already waiting. We made our introductions and headed up the trail.
It was a beautiful day with warm temperatures and mostly clear, blue skies. At just before 9:20AM we started up the Caps Ridge Trail. This was modest in grade and by 10AM we had reached a clearing and subsequently a rocky ledge with views up towards the Ridge of the Caps and of Mt. Jefferson, itself. Before reaching this point Chris had informed me that he didn't think he could keep up with the group and would just go at his own pace...staying on the Caps Ridge Trail and progressing as far as he could. The rest of the group reached the trail junction with the Link Trail just a few minutes later and we turned onto this trail. While this trail pretty much follows the contour lines through the area between the ridges, it was rough and rocky in some spots along the way. By 10:30 we crossed the upper part of the South Branch of the Israel River. This was a little slippery as it was covered in moss. Another spectacular feature of the Link Trail was that it crossed a very dramatic and steep slide. We reached this at 11AM and there were great views down into the valley. In another 20 minutes we encountered a small rock scramble and by 11:45 we were at the Castle Trail at the base of the Castles. Richard was slowing down due to the rough trail, but we were all together again and we headed up onto the Castles. This was initially steep and then the trail emerged out onto the open ridgeline. It was amazing with clear views in all directions! As we climbed across these rock formations the group was becoming more splintered with most of the group charging up the mountain. I hung back to make sure I could watch the progress of a couple of hikers who were struggling. At about 1PM most of the group had summited Mt. Jefferson (5712'). At about this time, Joe and I stopped and had a bite to eat...we were still below the Cornice and Richard and Will were still behind us. Joe and I reached the Cornice Trail junction by 1:30 and just beyond this I sped ahead to the summit to see what the status was of the rest of the group. Luckily, they were all hanging out here still (2PM). Even Chris who parted from the group earlier was here...as well as Jeff, who had a flat tire earlier in the day had made it. We waited for another 20 minutes for Joe to reach the summit. It was warm, but now partly cloudy. The views over to Mt Washington and the rest of the Presidential Range was simply spectacular. We had a group picture and decided it was time to start our descent by around 2:30.
We descended back down the Castle Trail to meet up with Richard and Will again. We met up with them just above the Cornice. We took another break for Richard and Will to get some lunch. With the group back together again for a brief time, we took the Cornice over to the Caps Ridge Trail. Martin and others had to leave early to head back home, so a good portion of the group sped ahead. For the remainder of guys, the Cornice Trail was rough and slow. By about 5PM, the last of the guys had made it to the Caps Ridge Trail (the initial group of guys made it back to the trailhead by around 4:30). We started descending down the rocky trail and it wasn't until about 6:15, when we were over the roughest areas and were re-entering the woods again. By this time the black flies were brutal. Chris and I reached the parking lot again at around 7:20 and Richard and Will made it back by around 7:50PM. We were pretty much the last ones in the parking lot (there were only a few cars left here and the others in the group had long since left).
There was no cell signal on our way down Jefferson Notch Road, but as soon as we got a signal again, we learned that Robert, Rob and Kyle were having dinner at Fabyan's Restaurant. We joined them at the tail end of their meal, but Joe, Chris, Will, Richard and I enjoyed a relaxing dinner after they left to head back to camp.
Despite the challenges of the day, it was an extremely beautiful day out. The Link Trail and the two ridges were wonderful with their unique characteristics and nearly constant spectacular views. The summits of all the "Presidents" were clear and beautiful, which doesn't happen that often. We were very lucky! While I didn't get to spend as much time with many of the guys, I hope that everyone enjoyed the day and I hope to catch up with many of them again on another future GO outing. Thank you to everyone who came out for the hike (Martin, Richard, Joe, Chris, Robert, Will, George, David, Rob, Kyle, Karl, Dan and Jeff)!
There are 52 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
- What an awesome day... the link and castle trails were breathtaking and for a 3rd summit of Jefferson, it rocked. Thanks Stephen - you're the best!! - Robert.L
Robert.L Jun 27, 2016 at 7:00 PM
Comment: What an awesome day... the link and castle trails were breathtaking and for a 3rd summit of Jefferson, it rocked. Thanks Stephen - you're the best!!