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360 views can't be beat

This review is specifically for the Caps Ridge - Castle - Link loop... It was a beautiful day, and all I can say was that this route is among the most dynamic, scenic, and downright enjoyable ventures I've had the pleasure to experience. Once you ascend past the timber line (very soon after the trailhead), the views of the valley are phenomenal. Once the views come, you're in for scrambling nearly the rest of the way to the summit. Once past the largest of the rocks and close to the summit, we were enveloped in fog. ... but the great thing about the fog is that you already know that soon starting the descent, you're in for some more stunning valley views - and that's exactly what we got with Castle Trail. The views from Castle are just as mesmerizing as those from the Caps Ridge ascent, and yet still decidedly their very own. Truly phenomenal.

In retrospect, The Link was likely my favorite part of the entire loop. Though it's a relatively brief stretch, it's a challenge to visually pick out where the trail actually is - so wherever your foot lands might as well be considered it! I'd recommend taking it slow and soaking in as much of the scenery as possible for two reasons: 1) the entirety of this section is what comes to mind if I had to imagine what an enchanted forest looks like, and 2) there are myriad unstable/slippery/otherwise dynamic surfaces upon which you'll tread, and there's no shortage of spots where a misstep is a risk that you can't afford to take.

This loop is not only an excellent physical challenge, but also an unforgettable experience (particularly so given the exceptional bang for your buck given the overall modest distance involved). We completed it in roughly 6 hours (which includes roughly 30 minutes spent enjoying the summit). I've been wanting to give this another go ever since this first time, and will do so again this year. There's a great many hikes yet on my list, but out of all those I've done up until now, this one holds a very special place for me.

Enjoy!

Its an ok hike, nothing to amazing and not a great view at the summit, but overall not to bad!

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!

A lovely late winter hike! You can park on York Pond Road with no worries about the gate, as of yet, this late in the year. Our ascent was pretty slow with snowshoes, but coming down was easy. Trail is well packed as of this weekend, snowshoes still required.

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.

If you like rivers this is a nice trail.

I enjoy looping this with the Link Trail and Cas. Ridge Trail.

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.

Absolutely fantastic trail!!!
Not for the faint of heart though.
Fairly easy till you break the tree line then it becomes difficult.

Out of towners, beware, this is a hard climb!!!!

No one here has actually provided any real tangible data, that would benefit, so I have decided to offer up some sage advice.

To start:
- It is December
- It is New Hampshire
- It is rated hard

The first and most important item is the direction you choose to do this hike. We chose the direction starting with the Blueberry Ledge Trail, to the Rollins trail, finishing with the Dicey Mill's Trail (clockwise). If you decide to do the hike, be prepared to use spikes or microspikes. There are sections you will be descending off of rock ledges that cannot be done otherwise, after you ascend the summit. The Blueberry ledge trail is a constant vertical ascent from the start around 1300ft, to the summit around 4000ft.

Second, the direction we went was a two-man operation. I had to push my friend up, so that he could lower a branch as a hand-hold. Unless you are an experienced climber, there is one large section you cannot do yourself.

Third, is hike length. It took us just under 8.5 hours. The ascent section was non-stop, but the backside on Rollins and Dicey are just more time-consuming. Allot the proper amount of time. We made it out of the woods by the time it was dark.

Lastly, is the recommendation on equipment.

- Plenty of water
- Spikes or microspikes (Winter)
- Headlamps
- Walking sticks with picks (Winter)

Overall, a great challenge, but be prepared.

Great hike with our 5 and 7 year old troopers. Amazing views and technically challenging caps made for a not at all boring hike for the kids.

This was an awesome hike! We started off at the wrong trailhead which added an extra 6 miles to the overall hike but it was worth it for the view. We also were blessed with a guide dog that must have lived in one of the houses at the base... he cane along for the 9 hour hike with us!

WARNING THIS IS NOT A LOOP THERE IS NO TRAIL CONNECTING IMP TRAIL TO NINETEEN MILE BROOK TRAIL

Damage from the storm on these trails was pretty rough.

Nineteen Mile Brook - fairly manageable, more branches than anything. A few downed trees that were easy to go over.

Carter Dome Trail - in the beginning wasn't terrible then you start going through the switchbacks and thats where it got tricky. Toward the last few there were so many downed trees you couldn't easily climb over, we ended up going up the trail and around for most of them. The ground was very soft and we were fighting it pretty hard sinking into the ground as we maneuvered around these downed trees.

Carter-Moriah Trail(Zeta Pass) - This in my opinion was a bit worse as it was almost consistent blowdowns. Particularly Between the start through to South Carter. Even the rock cairn at South Carter had a tree on it. The trail between South and Middle Carter was way more manageable compared to the hell we dealt with getting to South Carter. We even saw a guy at South Carter who had a pretty decent scratch on his head which he claimed he got from a tree on the way from Carter Dome. After Middle Carter we started to encounter more black ice than blowdowns. Bridges were very slick.

North Carter Trail - I'm sure this trail is always like this but this was our 1st time on this trail series but you are essentially walking in a creek bed the entire time. The water level seemed high but manageable just more annoying between that and how narrow the trail is. A few downed trees towards the bottom, some you could go over and a few we decided to go around as we couldn't see how much water was on the other side.

Imp Trail - similar to nineteen mile brook more branches than anything, same deal with the brook etc. Towards the bottom of the trail it was really deep leaves luckily dry.

We must've been using an old trail from All Trails but it essentially took us down a non existent trail so we pretty much bushwhacked back to nineteen mile which was a bit anxiety ridden as we weren't expecting that and the sun was going down, lucky we had head lamps but fortunately got back to our car before sundown.

Because of all the blowdowns and detours the trail took us way longer than expected. I'm sure in decent conditions (pre-storm) it wouldn't have been so rough or long. I wouldn't recommend you tackling this series unless you are ready to be crawling under trees or going off trail around them etc. We knew there were going to be blowdowns but it was sad to see the extent of damage on these particular trails.

Good rainy day hike. Not the most exciting 4k but a 4k nonetheless. Id save this one for a cloudy or rainy day hike or maybe your 1st 4k.

We went throughout the notch to the Desolation Trail and Ascended the back side, then down the Signal Ridge Trail for 13.4 miles. There was quite a bit of mellow hiking, but you pay for it on the way up the back side!

Signal ridge trail is great; beautiful scenery and clearly visible. The desolation trail is cool because it’s technical toward the top, but once you leave the alpine zone there are trees down, no blazes, and lots of spur trails leading nowhere, so pay close attention if you make a loop of this. Very cool trail, though. 360 panos from top make it worth the push!

Hike up was pretty tiring for me. I was quite sore by the end of the day. But not so much that I couldn't move my arms and legs the next day. Not to many insects trying to eat you thankfully. However I did go fully covered head to toe with insect repellent on me. It wasn't busy at all. For 85% of the hike up my husband and I were the only people hiking. We met a few people on the way (about 10 total up and down). There is a watch tower like construction built all the way to the top where you can see EVERYTHING ! It's so so so quiet. Couldn't even hear birds or insects singing. Weather was amazing so we spent about 20mins soaking up the sun and silence. I expected the view to be better though. Wasn't disappointed but not as amazed as I wanted to be.

Difficult hike but worth the views from Whiteface. Some good rock scrambles too.

Well maintained and relatively easy 4000 footer, not much for views but lovely Christmas tree forest up top. Balsam scented trails always nice.

One of the best in the whites!

one of the best in the whites!

hiking
6 months ago

Relatively easy but long 4000 footer with no view at the top. Wouldn't do it again unless you are trying to bag the NH 4000 footers!

Wow this hike really gives you your bang for your buck. 1 mile in and the views start coming and they dont end until your back at the 1 mile mark. Very cool day. 30 deg. 20 mile hr winds. hiker said with chill factor we were looking at 10-15 deg feel. But man it was raw nature at its best. No clouds and no bugs!

Mount Jefferson via Cap's Ridge is a trail I have done twice. I like it better each time. I would not recommend it for beginners or first timers. It gets steep in places and there's a decent amount of rock scrambling involved. Make sure you get a good breakfast.

nice easy hike. very peaceful and not crowded due to lack of views. would recommend if u only have 3-4 hrs and want to do a 4k.

Great for people. Not great for dogs. My lab could not make the top of whitehead and 85lbs is too much for me to carry up. We turned around. Have to go back without the dog.

What a crazy hike! Very steep and made interesting with the steep rock slabs which fortunately were dry. The whole trail was dry, no creek etc. There were a few mud spots towards the top but no issues crossing. The summit peak is small and did start to get over crowded as everyone wanted to eat their lunch. But I got my pictures and snacks in before heading back. There is a random car at the beginning of the trail. Another really hot and humid day with minimal to zero breeze.

Parking disclaimer - We were the 1st ones that pulled up to the trail head which is in a neighborhood. Sign clearly states no parking but no other sign to say "park here" so we ended up parking on Mill street and crossed the suspension bridge. When we left we saw a bunch of people had chosen to park in grass area near a few houses and then along the road near the suspension bridge. It would have been nice to see a sign "hikers park here" etc. I was nervous to get towed by angry homeowner so I went with the parking lot near the soccer park.

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