Appalachian Trail: Wildcat Mountain is a 9.2 mile point-to-point trail located near Gorham, New Hampshire. The trail is rated as difficult and primarily used for hiking.
left front Pinkham Notch and used the Lost Pond trail to get to the Wildcat Ridge trail. Like everyone said, the first stretch up from there is very strenuous and rocky. Reached E Summit in 40 mph winds and a little rime ice. Continued on to D Summit and the observation deck. Pretty cool. A girl was warning everyone of approaching weather on the A Summit, and was encouraging everyone to turn back. Myself and one other guy decided to continue. Pretty steep down from D and I knew we would have to climb it on the way back. Made it over to A Summit. big winds, and ice. super coil day for this hike. mostly shielded by the trees. once at A Summit take a short trail to the edge and look down on Carter notch and the hut below. beautiful views of Carter dome as well. Made it back to the observation deck at D Summit (tough hike) and decided to take ski trails down. Thanks to this apps satellite view I was able to follow the left most trail down until even with the Square Ridge, which shows up on the image. There is a small unmarked trail off the ski trails and over to Square Ridge Trail, and took this back to the OP parking lot. Overall a very strenuous workout. Defining an easy hike at all, but rewarding like most tough hikes.
Hiked from route 16 up over Wildcats and down into Carter notch. Refilled our water at the hut and headed up over the Carters. Kept going until we reached Gorham where our car was waiting for us (took a private hiker shuttle to trail head). It was a warm day and I drank 7 liters of water over the 19 miles and 10 hours of hiking. The only real tough going was the beginning and going up out of Carter Notch. We bagged a bunch of 4,000 and met about 8 AT through hikers on the trip. One guy had started at Key West!
So the group of us parked some of our cars at 19 Mile Brook Trail parking lot and started at Glenn Ellis trailhead a little further on 16. This way we were able to make the loop and not have to go back down Wildcat Trail. So after the nice little river crossing at the very beginning it was a steep climb. The views were great though at most of the clearings. The first peak we hit was at the top of the Gondola trail which had the observation tower (this was just a little ways up from the gondola). Wildcat Proper peak though was not as well marked and could have missed it. But the view was nice. We then stopped at Carter Dome Hut and walked back down 19 mi Trail. That was an easy trail down. The dogs (mine and two Ridgebacks) for the most part had no problems. There were some places where they needed a little prodding to make that first leap or used a bypass.
Oh and going up Wildcat there is this interesting small cave structure which had an opening at the other end but you would need to do a little bushwacking to get back on the trail. But for a hot day it brought a little bit of coolness.
I hiked this trail on a cool July day with a little rain in the afternoon. I started at the Pinkham Notch Visitor Center and took the Lost Pond Trail to the Wildcat Ridge Trail. This is a tough and strenuous hike. The climb out of the Notch is very steep and the climb back down was made a little tougher because of a light rain that made the bare rocks a bit slippery. The views from the ledges up and down Pinkham Notch were fantastic with clouds both above and below my viewpoint. The peaks are not marked, not even Wildcat-A, in fact there is very little signage the entire way. Because of numerous false summits it is difficult to tell when you are on any of the five major peaks (except D which has the observation deck). With clouds covering peaks A and B no views were to be had of Carter Notch and points north. The walk back was uneventful, but slow, and the crossing of Ellis River to get to Rt 16 was easy.
We hiked the back side of Mount Washington, on a cold rainy day, starting from the Dolly Copp Campground. The streams were running strongly and we encountered only one person while on the AT - your typical through hiker blasting along at a good clip. The access trail to the AT was steep and it took a while to get on the AT ridge trail. Once we got on the AT, we realized that we would not make it to Mt. Washington before sunset, and decided to head back to the campground. See the video of Atlas the Pomeranian hiking on the AT in this section of the White Mountains: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=skOzhlBoGRs We would defintely do this hike again, and plan on making it to the Mt. Washington Summit, with better planning.
nice hike over three peaks.no crowd to speak of.....very muddy !