Mount Jefferson via Castle Trail is a 8.7 mile lightly trafficked out and back trail located near Randolph, New Hampshire that features a great forest setting and is only recommended for very experienced adventurers. The trail is primarily used for hiking, running, and backpacking and is best used from June until October. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

Length8.7 miElevation gain4,179 ftRoute typeOut & back
Dogs on leashBackpackingHikingRunningForestViewsRockyScramble
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Reviews (32)
Photos (248)
Activities (17)
Completed (93)
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John Buckley
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HikingScrambleSnow

Wow this one was a doozy! We lucked out with a sunny day but didn’t bring snow shoes so it was pretty arduous. Gorgeous views at the top though once you get past the tree line! I had done Madison in the summer and the views are of course almost identical.

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Anthony Joseph-papa
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarNovember 22, 2020
HikingIcyScrambleSnow

Being a 17 year old toughest trail to date especially late November with snow and ice the last 2 miles didn’t use spikes or poles free climbed the whole way overall great experience very fun great scenery

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Michelle Williams
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HikingGreat!RockyScramble

The Castles are a series of rock towers that you climb over and around. Great fun if you like rock scrambles and it offers beautiful mountain views and stunning fall foliage!

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Alexandra Johansson
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HikingGreat!RockyScramble

Very tough trail but we really enjoyed it. I’m a bit scared of heights, and at the top it was a bit nervous. But what a view!

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Jason Payne
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HikingPrivate property
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Kim Mihelich
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Hiking

This was #16 of the 4000 footers for us. It was our most challenging to date. We went up Caps Ridge to Castle to Link then back to Caps Ridge to make a loop. Castle is a beast and I may have cried in one section but my husband and I made a human chain to get it done Survivor style. I would rate this as difficult and you should only attempt it if you are experienced and not afraid of heights and Rock scrambling.

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Abby Rosmarin
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Hiking

Word to the wise: once you hit the headwall, make sure to look to your right. At first glance it looks like the trail has you going OVER the rocks. 9 times out of time you’re to the right of them. Great great trail, but definitely only do this if you are experienced in scrambling.

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Sara Darrow
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HikingScramble

Hiked up Castle Ravine Trail to Mt. Jefferson on Friday 6/26/2020. Plenty of parking at the trailhead, despite arriving at 10:30 AM. Great weather (60 at base, closer to 50 at top), breezy and almost no bugs. Castle Ravine Trail isn't used much. The lower strerch has about a dozen significant water crossings, not too bad at this time of year but some were tricky. The upper stretch has about one mile of open faced mountain side of big boulders--not for those with fear of heights! Definitely do this hike in the clockwise direction to avoid going down the boulders. Hiked down Castle Trail. Castellated Ridge on the way down is an interesting hike with great views. Some steep sections but manageable. All in all a fantastic hike with ever-changing scenery. Took us about 8 hours with 30 mins at the top. This is one of my favorite hikes in the Whites.

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Erik Hamilton
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HikingRockyScramble
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Bill Summers
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Hiking

Beautiful sunny and cool day, though below freezing for last mile. Loved the scrambling in the castles, the fall colours and the time that covered the grass, trees and the lee side of the rocks above tree line. The Israeli Ridge Trail doesn’t have any views, and seemed to go for ever. No bridges over the river and with the rocks slimy it was a challenge crossing.

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Robert Zivinskys
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Hiking

My son and I hit this on 9/1/18 after we had decided Mt Madison by way of the AT trailhead was out due to the car saturation for the holiday weekend. We continued West to grab Jefferson by the Castle Ridge, and planned on descending Israel per all recommendations (including at the summit). However, trail markers were minimal on this landscape at the time given the breadth of the basin where most rest. Israel Ridge was not apparent. So we mistakenly started down the shale towards the Castle Ravine and did not notice our mistake until we were well below Israel being a possibilty. Agro mistake to commit with 12 year old - check It wasn’t as bad as some have advised about descending Castle Ravine. The descent over the loose shale and virtual coral at elevation is the technical gotcha. It’s over a mile of danger and loose bouldering down. Be patient and trust that when the treeline hits you’ll move quickly. Note: if you plan on Israel Ridge, do not be mislead by the elevation gain to get to it. It’s not at all significant but may appear misleading when in the basin approaching Madison from Jefferson. My mistake. Update: having done Jefferson by Castles and Adams by Airline I understand why the Presi loop is a valid option for normal median enthusiasts. Living in New Hampshire, our total travel time to do both peaks solo was nine hours of driving, 14 hours combined hiking and elevation gain apparent. Far more efficient to bag Madison, Jefferson and Adams in push if you are able.

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Bob Mountain
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarMay 25, 2019
Hiking

Up to Jefferson summit via Castle Trail, down via Castle Ridge Trail. I was looking for a workout and got more than I bargained for, this was one of the harder hikes I've done in past 12 mos. Castle Ridge is probably better on the ascent, complete boulder field at the top and very steep, lower half switches back and forth across a stream and at times took a while to find a place to rock hop. Both trails are picturesque. Great day and lots of calories burned, a lot of time above tree line with beautiful views.

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Taryn McCarthy
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Hiking

Jefferson was one of my most trying hikes to dates! I’ve been hiking since I was in high school and I have bad knees from playing volleyball. I try to do a couple of difficult hikes a summer but Jefferson was the harshest on my joints. But boy was the view worth it, you can see the tops of every mountain and Washington is right in front of you. Warning, there’s numerous false peaks and there were a ton of bugs on the trail during the time I went, which was in the late Spring.

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Chris Cubberly
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Hiking

Awesome, butt-kicking hike. Cold weekday morning in October (10/16/17) meant that I did not see another human the entire 7 hours up or down! Perfect! Started to get very icy on the constant boulder scramble 2 miles from the summit. Glad I brought my mini spikes, layers and shell. The descent is rough on the knees. Hiking poles a must. Thick layers of freshly fallen leaves last two descending miles hide many foot and ankle hazards. What a great hike! I will return.

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Khristian Brazee
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Tough little hike!! Lots of rocks!!

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Jenelle DeVits
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Unbelievable elevation gain.

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Jane O
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Hiking
First to Review

Wonderful. Above tree line a lot so bring appropriate shell and maybe fleece vest just in case. Would do this one again and again.

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Brian Palaia
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Backpacking
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Timothy Blood
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Hiking
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Don Walters
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Hiking
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Michael Feeney
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Hiking
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Jon E
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Hiking
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