Explore the most popular skiing trails in White Mountain National Forest with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

Completed this trail Saturday. Was breathtakingly beautiful. We went down the Boott Spur trail due to the amount of traffic on the trail. Overall a perfect day with perfect temperatures.

Hiked this in 3 hours with my 16yo son (I'm 53). Perfect weather, great views, very little traffic. We got an early start by staying overnight at the AMC lodge at the base. Two sections are still detoured before Hermit Shelter. Last 1/3 is very steep and exposed, so keep an eye on conditions.

This was an absolutely breath taking hike. It was difficult but definitely worth it. I DO NOT recommend dogs do this hike. The last mile of the hike had jagged rocks which were unstable and not good for the paws.

Amazing trail with beautiful views but thats all good about it. The difficult of the trail is indeed very Hard and this trail never gives a break in terms of flat terrain but its all going up! There are rest rooms at the Hermit Shelter other than the ones at the Pinkham Notch and the summit.

Very easy ascent with no scrambles and a few good lookouts along the way. Bring a jacket! Bald summit = cold and windy. I went early on a Thursday morning and there were a ridiculous amount of people heading up as i went down, so this isnt really a good place to go escape crowds, but the views were unreal, so it was worth it. It took me 4.5 hrs including 15 mins at the top and a few breaks at the other views.

I can see why they call her the gentile giant. Very gradual elevation gain, with not a lot of scrambling, and a decent amount of above tree-line hiking. Pretty cool summit with 360 degree views on a clear day..

I did the ascent in about 2 hours 30 minuets, but I was booking it. On the decent it took me about 3 hours 30 minuets. There’s a lot of cool features during the hike. Just a reminder that the earlier you start the less tourism you will have to deal with at the top.

Just an absolute joy of a hike on the first crisp day of the season. The ascent is broken up with wide, smooth, gently inclining sections, and the descent down the carriage road is easy, and lovely with some pretty views every now and then. The summit offers a wonderful 360 with lots of room to spread out and a couple of dry laid curved walls for shelter if the weather is bad. I took a runner friend who hasn’t hiked much, and round trip was about 4.5 hours including 15 minutes at the summit and another five minute break to let a group of Very Loud Talkers pass. Awesome trail for families!

Very hard hike w Donna

Beautiful mountain, heavily traveled, easy to follow trails. Took Gorge to summit carriage back.

I gave it a 4 because it was difficult to navigate the first few miles. I guess I'm out of shape, but I would call this trail more difficult than moderate. Very hard on the knees

Easy hike up with the dog. Very crowded on the holiday weekend. Excellent views.

We did this trail a few weeks ago on a Saturday and it was packed. I saw all levels of ability on the trail. I'd say it was on the high end of moderate to hard, due to the mileage and the downhill climb. I think we forget how different the down hill can be on tired legs. The detours were clearly marked steep dirt roads. I'm glad to have done this in the summer with great views and little, if any, wind at the summit, an unusual occurrence for Mt Washington

This trail was very strenuous right off the bat. People aren't kidding when they say you start climbing and keep climbing! we climbed A and D and it took us about 8 hours

hiking
15 days ago

Parked in the lot by the wildcat lodge and hiked up polecat trail. Very good start to the hike - a long uphill grade. Once at the top it was a great trail - up and down from one peak to the next. Awesome views of tucks, huntington, adams, and madison. Turned back at the wildcat "a" peak. On return we caught a nice site: a wedding at the top of D peak. Scrambled down the slope back to the car... A great day.

I've just completed this trail yesterday in 9.5 hours including one hour at the summit. I went up Lion Head and came down on Tuckerman Ravine trail. It's my third time up this trail and this was my toughest mainly due to oncoming cramp. It was foggy and cloudy so can't see much at the observatory but the journey was the reward.

Nice trail and for the most part easy to follow. Got mixed up getting closer to the summit. There was a long decent which felt as though we were going down the mountain so we turned back and never got to summit. Wish there was a sign that showed we were heading to the summit at this point. Just wasn't sure so turned back. Should have had my AMC book with me. We hiked the Tripoli road side.

Brilliant trail. 5 hours up. Very challenging, yet suitable and confidence building for a 7 year old.

The detour up the ski trail places the steepest part at the base. Views past the hut are stunning.

hiking
16 days ago

This was a very nice day hike. My husband and I are just beginning the 4000 footers and we have done many other easier mountains. We started at 9:15 AM and finished at 2 PM. We hiked at a moderate pace and stopped several times to take it all in and rest a bit or enjoy the view. Initially we started our descent going down the ski trail, accessed via Sosman trail. I really do not recommend it especially in later summer. The grass was super long and even though we had sprayed for tics we had to flick a few off of us. Also there were several small holes, ankle biter’s, in the trail covered by the long grass. At one point my husband stepped in one and actually fell because we really couldn’t see the terrain well because the grass was so long. There were small areas that vehicles had been going up on the trail to do maintenance so when possible we would walk on those areas to see what we were doing. The other thing is the ski trails are straight down— no variation in terrain so it was actually more difficult and downright painful after awhile— more fun with skis on. I highly recommend going back on the trail and there is varied terrain you can plainly see and no tall grass to contend with. We made our way back to the trail at the viewing area midway. This is a very enjoyable and rewarding day hike . The trails are fairly well mark and Care has been taken to construct rock steps on large sections of trail.

Awesome hike, we went up via Tuckerman ravine and came down via lions head.
Specially loved the decent, it was very steep and Rocky.

We completed the hike in 9hrs including an hour at the summit for lunch.
It was very foggy at the summit so could not enjoy the view but the journey deserves the rating.

hiking
17 days ago

Nice hike. Fist part of hike to first view point is a good workout. Second half of hike to the summit is very steep and feels like it goes on forever. Spend a decent amount of time talking with fellow joker and at some of the viewpoints took under 4hours. Lots of loose rocks. The summit does not have great views.

I forgot to review this 2 weeks ago when I hiked it. I will say I found the beginning of the trail hard to follow as it wasn’t terribly well marked. It became much better marked once you get past the initial section. Also when I did it - a large section of the trail was rerouted. But nevertheless my pup and I made it - though the trail is quite rocky. The view at the top was amazing though

hiking
20 days ago

LOVE it! my favorite 4000 footer so far and can't wait to do it again! Beautiful trail, goes alongside water for a long way in, view spots on the way up, gets steep and rocky toward top but doable, then you come out at a false summit, in a short while you see the rocky ridge of the actual summit ahead but first you get to cross a beautiful alpine meadow! The top is gorgeous with 360 degree views ( on a clear day) very rocky but awesome. There are some wind breaks you can sit behind to eat lunch, it is often windy at the top, bring a jacket. On the way down the carriage road you cross the AT and may meet hikers from all over the world. This hike took 5.5 hours with breaks. Enjoy!

Awesome trail! Totally worth the climb. My dog struggled a little at the end, but it helps if you have a harness with a handle to help them over the real rocky sections.

Very well maintained trail up to the ravine. Took an hour to get to the cabins. Made the mistake of planning to summit after a night at the campsite. Great camping in the valley. Overnight the wind kept me up, sounds like a freight train coming down the ravine. Woke up before dawn exhausted and unable to see 20 yards in front of me through rain and fog. Weather on the summit read 70 knots of wind and 0 visibility. Called it quits and headed the 2.7 easy miles back to base. Moral of the story, never plan on sleep or good weather, if it’s nice weather take the summit your first day. I’ll be back but won’t stay overnight again.

Did this trail today with wife and two kids ages 4 and 7. Because of the detours it was much steeper than I recalled but we hit the base of tucks in 2 hours. Decided not to go any further because the hike down from the summit would have been too much for all of us and we didn’t have cash to take the hiker shuttle. Love this hike,can’t wait until next year

Seven of us did this hike on Sat, Aug 25. The weather was absolutely perfect, mid-80s, slight breeze, partly cloudy; just excellent t-shirt and shorts temperature. Even the summit was comfortable with a light windbreaker.

That morning, we arrived at the Pinkham Notch visitors center at 8am. By then the parking lot was already full, and cars had already started parking on the shoulder of RT16. We found parking in the overflow lot. After some last minute restroom visits, we started the climb at around 8:30.

The detour sections onto ski trail were steep but manageable. It seemed to take no time for us to get to the Hermit Lake Shelter. After a short rest, we refilled our water bottles, were soon on our way to the waterfall, followed by the infamous headwall. This was a rigorous climb, almost straight up, with alot of sun and little to no shade. At the same time, it offered a breathtaking vista of the ravine. From here you can see the trail all the way back to Hermit Lake, and an unbroken line of hikers that look like ants making their way up the valley. We were also lucky to catch the tail end of the wildflowers in bloom.

The last quarter of the climb involved a rock scramble over large jagged boulders. I’m very thankful for the folks here who suggested gloves, as poles were less useful here. Towards the top, we would stop every 3-5 mins to catch our breath, then muster every last drop of energy we can to burst forth for another 10-15 feet before running out of gas again. Lungs just could not catch enough air. Leg muscles were in rebellion. Mind is just blank with fatigue. We were definitely running on fumes by the time we reached asphalt. Yup, asphalt. We had reached the parking lot at the summit.

And then there were those wretched stairs. Never have I looked at another inanimate object with more disdain. If The One Ring was created with hate, malice, spite, and cruelty, this staircase would be its close cousin.

In any case, the hike up was crowded, as to be expected on such a nice day. And the summit was even more so. The line to take a picture at the highest point with the elevation sign was constantly 50 people thick. In the Sherman Adams building, it was difficult to find a table that we so desperately needed to sit down at. There were lines for the restrooms and lines to refill water. (There were additional restrooms downstairs) And of course the longest line lead to the cafeteria that accepts only cash and served chili dogs, pizza, chips, and ice cream sandwiches.

We spent about 2 hours at the summit resting, eating, exploring, and snapping pictures from the observation deck. The views are as magnificent as foretold. One minute, thick white clouds would roll in an engulf everything. Then clear up 15 mins later.

Eventually we began our descent at 3:30. We were ever so slightly tempted to take the hiker shuttle down, but it is first-come-first-serve, was already full, and we didn’t have enough cash.

The hike back was slow going. Our aching legs and feet had to learn how to climb downwards. With large boulders to circumvent, lose rocks at every other step, and slippery wet surfaces, it was a treacherous endeavor. We opted to take Lions Head trail down expecting an easier more gradual descent. But it was equally difficult with very steep, wet and technical sections.

The trail just went on for what felt like forever, and we hadn’t even reached the halfway point of Hermit Lake. Morale was draining away. Backs were sore, legs were shaking, toes were screaming. One of our group took a tumble, but luckily got back on his feet with some scrapes and bruises.

We made it to the Hermit Lake shelter by 6:30. As we continue downwards, we were losing daylight quick. As some point we decided that it would be better to follow the Sherburne ski route the whole way down instead of following the detour back onto Tuckermans. It was a wider trail and brighter lit, despite have some steep and muddy sections. Hiking poles definitely helped here. The sun did set at 7:33 and flashlights came out 15 mins later. Unfortunately not all of us were prepared with lights, so depending in poor visibility slowed us down even more. Thankfully, no one tripped and we got back to the trailhead at 8:05, with just enough light to make it back to the car.

It took us 5 hours 15 mins to reach the summit and 4 hours 45 mins to make our way back down. It was an excellent trail, with good variation, amazing views, and ultimately a great time with good friends.

Key takeaways:
1/ With water refill stations at the Hermit Lake and the summit, do not over pack on water, it will just weigh and wear you down.

2/ Start early, at perhaps 7am. Not only do you get more daylight use, you have a better chance to get a decent parking spot.

3/ Never go hiking without a flashlight or headlamp. Never.

4/ Bring cash.

5/ Poles and gloves recommended.

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