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Mount Jefferson, Adams, and Madison Trail is a 10.2 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Randolph, New Hampshire that features a great forest setting and is rated as difficult. The trail is primarily used for hiking, camping, nature trips, and backpacking and is best used from April until November. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

Length 10.2 mi Elevation gain 5,836 ft Route type Out & Back
Dogs on leash Backpacking Camping Hiking Nature trips Forest Views Scramble
Description
Waypoints (6)
Tips
Getting There

This trek traverses three massive Presidential Range peaks. This is the shortest and easiest way to climb all 3 major Northern Presidential Peaks in a day. The Caps Ridge Trail up Mt. Jefferson is steep, and requires a few scrambles over ledges on the way up that have some exposure so it is not for the feint of heart. This 2.5 mile trail will put you up onto the top of Jefferson and onto the ridge which you will follow above treeline all the way to Madison and Back. This entire route is above treeline so make sure the weather is good before continuing. You'll reach Mt. Jefferson (5,715'), Mt. Adams (5,798'), and Mt. Madison 5,363'). You will have the option of jogging over to the top of Mt. Quincy Adams if you'd like too as well as the opportunity to check out a famous AMC hut nestled between the peaks.

There is a $3 per day fee to park here.

This is the highest trailhead in the White Mountains at 3,008 feet and also is the shortest with the least amount of elevation gain of any of the Presidentials. This trailhead is in Jefferson Notch at the highest point in the Notch. From Rte. 302 near Bretton Woods follow the Base Station Road which heads to the Cog Railroad up Mt. Washington. Several miles down this road you will come to a 4 way intersection with Mt. Clinton Road to the South. Take the left onto the Jefferson Notch Road which is closed in the winter and early spring. Follow this for a couple miles keeping an eye out for the Caps Ridge Trailhead at the highest point in the Notch

Weather
UV Index
Daylight
Reviews (83)
Photos (1742)
Recordings (71)
Completed (237)
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Robben Shrestha
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSeptember 21, 2020
HikingBlowdownGreat!Off trailRockyScramble

This trail is hard, especially if you are planning out and back, which means you'd be climbing Mt., Jefferson, twice. The first 1.3 miles in the caps ridge trail is a gradual ascent, just perfect to warm up your quads for the 1-mile hike to the summit, with 2-3 scenic lookout points. The two ledges on the way to the top are steep but didn't look that back once you're on it, with plenty of handholds, a primer for someone thinking of rock climbing courses! The final 0.4 miles to Jefferson is a rocky trail, and it reminded my friend of her hike to Mt. Katahdin. Once at the top, we took the Gulfside Trail. However, the trail to Mt. Adams was a little confusing, with some poor markings. We some maneuvering the All Trail maps, we were able to follow the trail and made it to the Adams (which is another rocky trail that takes but fairly easier and shorter than Jefferson). The downhill was a lot of scrambling with rocks and uneven trails, but a fun one nonetheless. We took the Airline Trail, connected to Gulfside Trail, and headed towards the Madison and on to the summit. The hike to Madison was a short fun one that took us about one and a half (from the summit at Adams-Mt. Madison--connecting back to the Gulfside trail). The return to Jefferson was a boring one, but the scenic view on either side of the ridge helped. Took us 25 minutes to climb the Mt. Jefferson. The downhill after that was fun and challenging. The rocky uneven trails added to the challenge and sometimes frustrated us. Climbing down the two steep ledges was more like rock climbing (free solo). Again, we love rock climbing, it was totally worth it for us. Don't forget to stop at the first lookout and look back at the summit. It's totally worth it and instills in you that tremendous feeling of accomplishment (I don't know, I might have exaggerated, but I guess that's what we all felt). It took us 9 hours 30 minutes to complete the 11.3 miles trails (this is what our Relive app, apple watch, and Fitbit all showed), and this included all the breaks that we took for photos and quick bites. We started at 9:15 am and were back at the parking lot at 6:45. This was a perfect hike for those of us completing the presidential ranges. Carry lots of water, food, and electrolytes, proper hiking boots, and wear in layers (gloves, beanies highly recommended). Carry a chapstick and soft tissues as well :) Definitely coming back next year!!!

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Barry Farrow
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSeptember 20, 2020
HikingGreat!

The five stars are for the views, this trail is hard in my opinion , I’m an recreational hiker ,at 50, this is hard on the knees, I’ve done Franconia notch,which was more miles,and summits but in my opinion this was harder. We started up Jefferson to Adams to Madison,on the way back we took both side cuts avoid summiting each twice.we started at 6:42 am and and got back to car at 6:50pm ,longer than others took but out before dark, we took minimal breaks to snack and snap a picture or two.got a great dry sunny day as I’m sure would be harder with wet rocks to contend with. If your conditioned to hiking often or run, you’ll probably find it it easier, but for someone like me only gets 4-5 big hikes a year in , this is no joke but then challenges is what it’s all about.

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praneeth reddy
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSeptember 6, 2020
HikingGreat!No shade

This Trial is insanely hard. This is no freaking joke. After the first lookout on the way to MT.Jefferson it's windy and chilly, definitely carry a jacket, beanie, warm pants and sunglasses. The views are awesome all the way till Madison but the hike back will test you. Carry plenty of water, and start the hike really early. Good luck!!

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Robert O'Connor
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarAugust 20, 2020
HikingRockyScramble

This route kicked my butt. Covered in clouds and high wind pretty much after the second lookout on the way up to Jefferson until the descent of Adams. Washington was covered in clouds so I had partial views. Clouds cleared just as I was going down Caps Ridge to my car. Definitely a knee, ankle and quad grinder - so many rock fields. Be careful.

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Amylynne Frankel
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarAugust 15, 2020
Hiking

Holy shit. This was the most physically exhausting 4k yet!

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Steven Turner
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarJuly 31, 2020
Hiking

I did the Franconia ridge, all 5 peaks (15 miles) and this kicked my ass so much worse. Going from peak to peak is insanely tiring because there’s a huge elevation gap.

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Joseph Powers
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarJuly 26, 2020
Hiking

It was extremely windy. This was a very difficult hike, but there were many great views all along the way.

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Ian Paul
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJuly 20, 2020
HikingBugsNo shadeRockyScramble

Did a loop starting and ending at Appalachia, taking valley way to Madison then Randolph’s path down from Jefferson, definitely added some mileage but it allowed us to spend the night at valley way campsite before embarking on the 4 peaks (did JQ Adams as well). Stunning views of the whites the entire hike. Definitely bring a long sleeve and windbreaker though because it was windy and chilly at the summits, even though it was 90 degrees and very humid at the base.

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Matt Kuruts
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarJuly 2, 2020
HikingBugsGreat!No shadeScrambleSnow
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Jennesa Fabbri
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarOctober 6, 2019
HikingMuddyOff trailOver grownRockyScrambleWashed out
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Jeremy Brown
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSeptember 22, 2019
HikingNo shadeOff trailScramble
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