Mount Hight to Carter Dome to North Carter Loop

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White Mountain National Forest

Mount Hight to Carter Dome to North Carter Loop is a 12.9 mile moderately trafficked loop trail located near Gorham, New Hampshire that features a waterfall and is rated as difficult. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail.

Length12.9 miElevation gain4,468 ftRoute typeLoop
BackpackingCampingHikingSnowshoeingRunningDog friendlyForestRiverViewsWaterfallWildlifeRocky
Description
Waypoints (15)
Tips
Getting There

Includes trail info for Middle and South Carter Summits. If traveling up 19 Mile Brook Trail to Carter Dome Trail to Carter-Moriah Trail, it is an easier grade than going up the Imp Trail to Carter-Moriah Trail and thus can be summited faster. Going up the first route is easier and unique from other New England trails due to the use of switch backs (zig zagged trails that work up the face of a mountain reducing a steep climb rather than a straight trail up).

Highly recommended to bring a map and compass

Directions from Gorham, NH: Travel south on SR 16 approximately 6 - 8 miles to reach the Imp Trailhead on the left (east) side of the road. Hike the Imp Trail 3.1 miles to reach North Carter Trail.

Weather
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Reviews (184)
Photos (869)
Recordings (190)
Completed (432)
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Chris Donato
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HikingIcyRocky

Parking here is a challenge - lots of people hike up 19 mile brook trail to the cutoff (or up to the hut), so arrive early to get a spot! I hiked it in 6:55, but I also didn't take many breaks and moved quickly to get out before nightfall. Expect to take up to 8 hours if you take your time and enjoy the views. The entire trail was pretty well packed (including Carter Dome). The storms last week caused a layer of ice right under the top, making for a more slick hike. Snowshoes (or at least crampons), are a requirement. If you only have spikes, you'll go right through. The trail from 19 mile brook up to Carter Dome is incredibly narrow, so be careful and watch your footing as you go up. If you hike in winter, there is enough snow packed down to see over the trees at the summits of both South & Middle Carter. The sights of the presidentials are some of the best you'll get.

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Scott Charles
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mary montesalvo
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Hiking

2-12-2021 cold but windless day with clear stunning views. trails well packed with the exception of Carter Dome trail to summit, which had sections of snow drifts and postholes. Snowshoes highly recommended especially for this area. the camp dodge cutoff from the south imp trail decreased the road mileage back to parking lot

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Evan Shortes
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Stephanie Cawley
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Hiking

A mix of sun, clouds and snow on this hike and not a lot of views but still fun. Snowshoes all the way as the snow is piling up in the high country. One solo bareboot hiker passed me going up as I was descending and clearly was not prepared. I saw him as I finished and asked if he made it to the summit and he said no, he turned back because he was postholing everywhere and was afraid he'd blow his knee out. Good move turning around. Then he pointed at my snowshoes and said, I should have brought some of those. Ayup! At least he learned his lesson. Don't make the same mistake. Wear snowshoes!

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Mike Porter
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Joseph Ringuette
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HikingIcySnow

Long gradual hike that offers limited views from all the Carter mountains, however, there are some great lookout spots and the views from Mt. Height are 360 degrees - I would highly recommend! This loop is great for those looking to peak bag a few of NH’s 4000 footers!

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Bruce Borofsky
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Tara Soraghan
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Stephanie Cawley
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Hiking

Started with just a little snow at 19 Mile Brook Trail but the snow deepened and just barely broken out on the Carter Dome Trail. Snowshoes were useful the rest of the way to the summit and back down. Carter Dome was typically unexciting but a pleasant hike through the trees. We opted to go to Mt Hight just for the awesome views but had to break out the trail getting there. So we did and as usual Mt Hight didn't disappoint! The descent off Mt Hight was fast and exciting, snowshoe glissading through the deep powder! Perfect bluebird day in the snow!

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Mike Pillsbury
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Scott Trafton
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Hiking

Long gradual hike up to Carter Dome via the Carter Dome Trail. Limited views. Nice hike to Mount Hight with the best 360 degree views! Moderate rolling hike via the Carter Moriah Trail across South and Middle Carter. Tough hike down the North Carter Trail with small boulders and leaves. You really have to watch every step. Cut through the Dodge Camp to route 16 with a short walk up route 16A back to the lot. 7:45 with stops. 12.9 miles.

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Kate Harris
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HikingGreat!MuddySnow

Completed 10/25/20 Great hike, took 8.5 hours. Definitely had issues with colder temps and not having the right gear. But got to see the first snow of the year and it was gorgeous! Great company made it easy. Couldn’t tell where South peak was so just guessed. Great views otherwise.

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John Correia
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Sophia Adams
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HikingIcy

Beautiful day, needed micro spikes in some icy spots but you could get by without it.

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Kevin Hallenbeck
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Greg Harrington
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Hiking

Very wet and some slick spots. Not quite deep enough for snow shoes. Pretty packed down but as the day got warm it got slushy. Being extra socks and a hat for the dripping trees. Found a pair of gloves on the way up. They are on the sign at the base of the trail.

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Suzanne Perry FTFC
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Hiking

Fall down low and winter up top!

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Cindy Engman
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HikingFloodedMuddyRocky

Mostly well-maintained but very muddy and wet given the previous day’s rain. The North Carter Trail is really just hiking down a stream, though, which made for slower goings. Was glad to easily slip through Camp Dodge undetected and cut off a considerable amount of time since I’d started late. While the peaks are covered there are a lot of lookouts off of the trails.

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Chris Shapazian
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Hiking

Amazing day hiking with new friends! Met Larry through Facebook page “Hiking Buddies NH 48, 4000-Footers” and then at the start of the hike, started talking with Nicole who joined our adventure with her two dogs Dozier and Pemi. The forecast was 20 degree at the summit so prepared pretty well for it. Throughout the hike I must have take off and put on article of clothing 20+ times. The hike up to to Carter’s Dome went quicker then I thought. There was not any crazy inclines but was surprised we already went up 3500 feet (so my watch said). There’s a small look out right before the summit. Took my phone out to take pictures and my hand froze immediately. Views from Mt Height were amazing but could not stay long as the cold and wind was too much. Made our way to South and Middle but skipped North. The hike down got a little long but all was good as we got back to the cars in just under 8 hours.

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Larry Martone
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Kai TwoFeathers Orton
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Bird watchingGreat!Scramble

It was an exhausting but soul rejuvenating journey up the 19 Mile Brook trail, Zeta Pass, Carter-Moriah, and back down Imp to end the hike as the sun was going down. The hike up 19 Mile was glorious with every shade of autumn, cascading waterfalls for the first mile and a half. One of the most beautiful sections for leaf peeping while hiking. Summiting Carter Dome in a cold mist was beautiful and eerie with zero visibility from the lookouts. Paused before continuing because of a surprise snow squall which melted quickly. After that some warm air moved in and pushed the cloud bank up so I took a chance and went up to Mount Hight and was so glad I did. The squalls lifted and drifted to the Presidentials and left the most stunning panoramic views. Mount Hight instantly became my favorite summit <3 s and all. The descent from Hight towards the Carter Dome trail is very very very steep. The journey over to South Carter involved a mix of flatter terrain and scrambles through wooded passes to regain the elevation. Easy to miss the very small cairn which is surrounded by tree rubbish at South Carter. There are two nice places on the ledges for great views on the way to Middle Carter which has another teeny cairn marker tucked into dense trees. Middle Carter to North was a breeze with a nice ledge just before the summit for a great view of the valley and Mahoosuc Range. As the evening air cooled, the most clouds descended giving a great view of a double mist bow over the ledges. The descend on Imp was relentless until the last mile. Coming down in fading light on slippery leaves was an adventure I wouldn't want to repeat.

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Travis Keller
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