Presidential Range Rail Trail

HARD 8 reviews
#4 of 13 trails in

Presidential Range Rail Trail is a 38.5 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Gorham, NH that features beautiful wild flowers. The trail is rated as difficult offers a number of activity options. Dogs are also able to use this trail.

38.5 miles 1279 feet Out & Back

dog friendly



nature trips

trail running




wild flowers



Presidential Traverse is a 13.5 mile point-to-point trail located near Gorham, New Hampshire. The trail is rated as moderate and primarily used for hiking.

2 months ago

7 months ago

Hiked this trail multiple times, the last time being in 1997 during the winter. Yes, the winter...had really good weather and travelled pretty light(fast). Being older(and wiser), I'd only attempt to do this again during the summer.
Beware, weather changes in a second on this trail and you could become a victim of said weather, plan carefully and make sure people know where you are going. Set a date/time to return, and stick to it!

1 year ago

Amazing hike started Madison and made it all the way to pierce by nightfall!!! Pretty much above tree line the whole way makes for phenomenal views and unforgettable pictures!!! Deff something Id do again :)

1 year ago

Made Madison, Adams, Jefferson, Clay, Washington in one day ran out of time trying to do Presi traverse in one day. Need to solve ride problem on other end. Started in Dolly Copp climbed Daniel Webster intended to make Crawford Path but stopped at Washington. I would have missed ride by 1.5 hrs. Tough challenge but doable. Will try again this year 2015.

~ 21 miles and ~ 10000' over 3 days. Excellent weather - partly cloudy and 60 - 70 deg during the day. Started at the Appalachia parking lot and finished at the Highland Center. Stayed at Madison Springs hut on day 1, and Lake of the Clouds on day 2.

1 year ago

More like 20 miles from Crawford Notch to Appalachia. Did this with three long-time friends over two days. We started early in the morning at Crawford Notch, and went about 15 miles on Day 1 to stay at Madison Springs hut. We hit all the major peaks in the first part, being Eisenhower, Monroe and Washington. Mt. Washington would have been a great way to end Day 1, but the Lake of the Clouds Hut was full.

The second half of the Day 1 was less fun, as a thunderstorm rolled in and we were subject to heavy rain, wind, and hail for several miles. This cleared up around the time we got past Jefferson, and the rest of the afternoon was in beautiful weather. Due to conditions and the lengthening day, we skipped all of the peaks (Clay, Jefferson, Adams) on the way to the Madison Springs Hut.

Day 2 was much easier, as we took Valley Way down to the Appalachia Parking lot, with a diversion on a side trail to catch some waterfalls. The original plan had been to hike to the peak of Madison and then head down, which would allow us to leave our packs at the Hut for the summit, but Day 1 had kicked our butts, and my screaming IT bands would have nothing of more elevation gain, so we skipped that, too.

The description above calls this a "Moderate" hike, but I'd hate to see what strenuous looks like if that's the case. There are multiple climbs along the way, with something on the order of 10,000 feet cumulative elevation gain. The terrain from Mt. Washington and North is almost entirely over granite boulders. It will beat you up.

We had cars at either and, and also stationed a car at the bottom of the cog railway in case we needed to bail out due to the condition of either the weather or our bodies, but we all made it. If we could have stayed at Lake of the Clouds, or dropped packs and summited Washington which would have allowed us to skip that on Day 2, I think it would have been perfect. Ultimately I would like to revisit this hike, going N-S, and spreading it over three days with a night at Madison and a night at LOTC, and taking in the summits we skipped the first time around.

4 years ago

My son Ron and I made the Presidential Traverse by dropping our car off at Pinkham Notch Hut, staying overnight and catching a shuttle dropoff at the Crawford Path on Rt 302. We hiked up to the Lake of the Clouds Hut and spent an ice cold night. The next morning the winds on Mt Washington were clocked at 103 mph, so we were forced to skirt the mountain using the Gulfside Trail over to the Madison Hut. We got caught in a thunderstorm half way to Madison, hiking at "flank speed". Spent overnight in the Madison hut, and set off early the next day down the rocky and slippery Madison Gulf Trail back to Pinkham Notch Hut and our car. The meals were great and plentiful in the huts, but the 3 wool blankets and a hard cot along with only cold water was primative, to say the least. What a memorable hike. If you do this hike plan early, the huts fill up fast in summer. The best hike in New England!

4 years ago

This trail is actually 21.7 miles from start to finish by AMC books. Here is my review for a 1 Day Presidential Traverse successfully completed n 2010

1 Day Presidential Traverse = Summiting at a minimum the (8) AMC acknowledged 4,000 footer peaks of the Presidenital Range including:
Madison, Adams, Jefferson, Agiocochook, Monroe, Eisenhower, Pierce, Jackson
= 21.7 miles & 8,800' of elevation gain = Delicious Brutality!!!!!
Planted 1 car at the Crawford Notch Center on... 302 where we'd finish at 1030pm and planted a car at the Appalachia Trailhead where we started at 5am.

11 members - 10 successfully made it. 1 guy we left on Washington and he rode the bus down.