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Interesting hike. If you are scared of heights I would not recommend because there are some parts on whiteface where you need to do some free climbing (my dad said he hiked this when he was a teenager 40 years ago and there were ladders but there are NO ladders at all now). We went up whiteface and down passaconaway, completed the whole loop in 7 hours and 48 minutes.. including breaks. We did take a long break at the top of whiteface (maybe half hour to 45 min long). Started at around 11:30ish and finished by 7.. just minutes before sunset! We weren’t paying attention to time at the beginning of the hike but once we left whiteface we sped up to beat the sunset. Also if you have bad knees I wouldn’t recommend unless you have the time to descend carefully and some type of support.

A friend and I made this a two day trip. Trailhead parking and directions were not entirely clear as we drove right to the Blueberry Ridge trail head. After some deliberation decided that we would park at the Ferncroft parking area 2/10m from the trail head.(this is the right move). We hiked in at 0900 and took our time. Even with the heavy rains the day before there was no water avail until the old Camp Rich site just below the summit loop. We saw a lot of moose and bear sign(picture of bear scratching was taken 10-12 feet from my hammock at Camp Rich). Although the summits are in tree line there are a couple of good overlooks. Camp Rich was a cool little piece of the hill. You can feel some of the care and history of that camp and can imagine many hikers and backpackers having great times and creating life memories. There are 4-5 decently flat sites with a large fire pit and plenty of deadfall. It has been very responsibly used with a solid “no trace” look. There is a pristine water source right at the eastern edge of the camp. To find the camp you will have to pay close attention. As you start to round the northern height of the clockwise loop, you will see the first ascent trail to Passaconway. Just before that left turn is a small stream running across the trail, back up from the stream about 20 feet and look north(left) to see a clearing and a lightly tread path into the clearing. Once in the clearing the path will lead you NW about 20-25 yards to the campsite. It was beautifully silent all night, no highway or road noise, with just the occasional jet wash overhead. BRING A BEAR BAG! To really up the seclusion and very lightly used trails we choose to bypass Diceys Trail and take Walden Trail to Wonalancit Ridge Trail. We where very happy with the choice as it was obviously very infrequently used. Great hike, great company, awesome. In summery if you are in it for the big bold summit views, not here. But for nature, seclusion, and very light traffic, you will love this hike.
Say hello to Lip the “fungi” on the Walden Trail (see photos)

Perfect weather for this loop on Sunday. Views are pretty limited. If you like extended exposed views, this is not the best hike. Managed the full loop with my 4 yr old lab in about 5 hours. He loved it. For those with dogs, the Blueberry Ledge trail was bone dry. There was no available water until the Rollins Trail just before heading up the final ascent to Passaconaway.

Views are amazing. Sawyer River Rd. is open.

Great hike with wonderful views as you approach the peak. Nice tower at the top to catch a little break and chat with some fellow hikers. The trails is in great shape with many opportunities to dip in the creek.

hiked this Saturday, road was open

Long and challenging, but beautiful, hike. Our ascent up Blueberry Ledge was fun, and somewhat quick. 3 hrs from parking lot to Whiteface summit (we stop for breaks, too). There was some more ~technical~ climbing up big boulders, but nothing we (or some dogs) couldn't handle. Socked-in summit at Whiteface, which cleared up as we moved on to Passaconaway. The traverse from Whiteface over to Passaconaway took about 3 hrs, and we elected to explore the view spur, which was a nice treat after no views pretty much all day! Our descent was wicked quick. We covered 4 miles in an hour and a half, a record pace for me and my partner. All in all a great day, 8:45 total time.

did this as the carrigain loop, went counter clockwise on carrigain notch trail (very easy) to desolation trail(steep 1.8 miles!!!) and down signal ride trail. there are a lot of great camping spots before the desolation trial. 360 degree view at the top is unreal!!! loved it

Sawyer river road is still closed, added 4 mile total to our trip for~ 17.5 total miles

My legs were definitely not in shape for this challenge. All the boulders made my ascent and descent very slow. If you have sore knees to start with, Mt Madison is not for you. The views are breathtaking!

Did this as part of my Vose Spur - Carrigain linkup and I’m glad I did. Signal Ridge Trail is a beautiful stretch of trail. It’s very well made and easy to walk on, when you’re nearing the summit, the is a small alpine clearing that has great views into Carrigain Notch. The summit is densely wooded but you can see the entire range from the observation deck. There is one river crossing before the junction with Carrigain Notch Trail that could be problematic in high water. Definitely would recommend this hike to anyone who loves the White Mountains, it’s a really cool part of the Pemi that is worthy of exploration.

Great hike with beautiful 360 deg views from the top.

Writing this quite some time after, but on 7/29/18 Sawyer River Road was still closed due to a road washout. This will add another 2 miles each way bringing the total length of the hike to just over 14 miles.

Sawyer River Road is still closed. This additional 4 miles to the hike makes for long day. Got to parking lot around 9:00 on a Saturday and got the last spot. Others after me had to Park on Road. Great hike. As someone said earlier just short of 4K ft. elevation from lot. Majority of the vertical in in the last 3 miles which makes it a challenging climb up and down.

IMPORTANT: The access road is closed for resurfacing as it will be until the spring of 2019 or later. It is still possible to hike but you will need to walk an additional 2 miles along the access road each way (for a total of 14.8 miles of hiking).

The first 2 miles of the hike (not including the access road) are mostly flat and have no net elevation gain, making for a fairly boring walk. The next 3 miles are steep with 3,500 feet of elevation gain.

The trail is in bad condition and is suffering from erosion in the steep sections.

The ridge climb is about half a mile and not very interesting. There is no scrambling, just a mildly steep walk across the ridge with mediocre views. The peak is wooded and you must climb the tower to get any views. Dogs are unable to climb the tower. The views from the tower are good, but not worth the climb in my opinion. I have done about 30-40 hikes in the past three years, most of them more difficult than this one, some of them easier, and some of them the same difficulty, and this is one of my least favorites.

You may enjoy this hike if you like hikes that are entirely wooded, but if not this trail is not for you.

High Humidity is not to be taken lightly. Phew I survived

first things first. The 4000 Footers. Com website needs to update their notes to indicate the access road is not open. this will add a boring 4 mile dust walk to your hike.
Trail is easy to moderate but just watch for the turns as the trail is not marked. we took the wrong turn at the fork about a mile and a half in. just head down about another couple hundred yards and the turn is marked. Ridge and Summit views are probably some of the best in the Northeast so well worth the hike just probably would not do it again due to the access road closure.

Really fun hike, it was definitely some work to get up whiteface , agree with the hard rating, but more fun than hard. Really enjoyed this loop to bring me 1/2 way to 48!

Amazing doing it for a second time this year

Amazing views from the tower and ridge trail. Long hike, lots of time in the woods kinda uneventful. Not blazed very well. Blazes are in the spots you need them in the beginning, but could be much better .

Loved this hike. Took us about 7 hours to complete. Definitely bring PLENTY of water (there are a few streams, but you’ll want to bring a good amount). Views are fantastic, but not necessarily 360 open view-type summit. The very-heavily wooded hiking is awesome. Would be challenging for dogs, but possible for an adventurous pup. Can’t wait to come back!

Was part of a AMC hike. Except for some steep parts while ascending Whiteface - the trail is pretty tame. It is during these steep parts that you get the best views. There aren't many on the mountain top. And the peaks are not clearly marked - its a small cairn with no signpost. Took us some 7.5 hrs. to finish.

The views from the ridge approaching the summit are spectacular. And the 360 degree view from the fire tower are equally amazing. The access road to the trail head is closed due to a washed out section of road, this adds a pretty boring 2 miles each way from the parking lot at 302. The trail starts off pretty flat, but then you pay for it. It levels out at the ridge, and then a final ascent to the summit. No views whatsoever on the way up until you hit the ridge. Lots of water toward the bottom and thankfully a trickle coming out of a mossy rock wall about 2/3 the way up where we were able to refill. The views always make the hike worthwhile in my opinion, but at 14 miles, I likely won’t be doing this one again. Encountered 6 people total, so probably a good choice if you like to avoid crowds.

My friend and I completed this loop on June 9th. It took 6 hours including a 40 minute rest at the top. We hit Whiteface first, which offered nice views, then headed over to Passaconaway. It was a mild descent and a steep, but short ascent back up to Passaconaway. The summit of Passaconaway is wooded and marked by a small cairn...us along with other groups at the top were confused as to whether that was actually it (since there was no sign and the cairn was so small), but based on process of elimination (all other directions were lower) we all decided that it was. The outlooks at the top are really nice and give you a nice view of Mt. Washington.

Great trek as others have stated. Sawyer River Road not open yet so did the 2 mile hike up to the trailhead. Continued up Signal Ridge for 5 miles to summit. A good hike in that when you start from Rt 302 you get another 500' or so gain which puts you at about 3,900' gain to the summit. Not that many 4K footers where you can say you trekked 4K to get to the top (my Garmin actually read 3999' at the fire tower!). Continued down Desolation to the Stilwater area to camp. Wanted to do more than just peak bag this one. Nice camping options in the Pemi there. Read in Steve Smith's book how Brutus the bear (450 lbs) terrorized campers back in the day, when there was a shelter in this area. That was nice to know as we dozed off! Returned via Nancy Pond which is amazing! Try this, you'll like it!

This was definitely one of my favorite hiking trips! We took the blueberry ledge to the summit then down passaconway. The ascent was definitely challenging and felt non stop for a while as it's very steep. Lots of scrambling and was really challenging. The loop back was easier but long. Bring plenty of water and leave as early as possible. We stopped to eat lunch at the summit of Whiteface and the whole trip took about 9.5 hours.

360 views can't be beat

For my first ever backpacking trip, my buddies took me up to the Whiteface loop. I’m an in-ships guy, I’m a collegiate level swimmer, but man did the first climb kick my butt. We climbed to Whiteface but didn’t get there until the sun began to set. We decided to stay on the summit for the night, then hike back down the way we came up. In total it was about 5.5 miles, but the elevation is what I think killed me as a first timer. But SO worth the view in the morning!

Tough in the winter but still a great hike! We left the lower parking lot (sawyer river rd is un-plowed) at 9am and got up to the trail head at 10:15am. Made it up to the switchbacks right before the ridge around 2:30pm and decided to turn back. Got back down to the parking lot at 6pm. The snow made it very strenuous and we definitely made the right choice to turn back. We will definitely be back in the spring to get to the summit!

Icy when we went, and so avoided the Blueberry Ledge Trail. Made for a much longer out and back!
Will go again to hike the ledge.

Tough trail in the snow! Be prepared for a challenge. Bring snowshoes, traction, layers and plenty of water.

In the winter Sawyer River Road is generally closed, adding 2 miles each way to the hike. Pretty challenging ascent in snowshoes, will definitely be feeling it tomorrow.

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