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Mount Madison and Thunderstorm Junction Loop

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Presidential Range-Dry River Wilderness

Mount Madison and Thunderstorm Junction Loop is a 8.5 mile moderately trafficked loop trail located near Randolph, New Hampshire that features a lake and is rated as difficult. The trail is primarily used for hiking, running, and nature trips and is best used from April until November. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

Distance: 8.5 miles Elevation Gain: 4,383 feet Route Type: Loop

dogs on leash


nature trips






wild flowers








off trail

Tue Sep 18 2018

The path is really nice, however it's also really hard. Actually I didn't do really well and almost gave up. Indeed it was reckless to go along alone. Some part of the path are quite dangerous moreover when it's a bit wet. Indeed you have to climb some rocks for a long way. It could be easy to be hurt. I recommend to anyone who wants to try at least be accompagnied by one person and be in a good health condition. Do not attempt this hike if it's too wet or the weather doesn't look safe. But for me it would be out of question to take a kid there.

Wed Sep 12 2018

fun trail but more than moderate difficulty. tree line starts much earlier than valley way. from there its rocks and scrambles to the top, sometimes steep.

Sat Jul 21 2018

Getting up to Mount Madison via the Watson Path is FUN. Probably the most fun I've ever had on a trail. But I actually audibly gasped when I noticed that AllTrails gave it a "Moderate" rating. It's not Moderate. It's Hard-- at least. I get that the ratings are subjective depending on surrounding trails (or so I'd imagine), but this trail is definitely hard and I do a LOT of a hiking. But seriously, such a fun a trail. It took my group and I 3 hours to get to the top with the last .5 miles taking the longest. It took 9 hours total from the Valley Way trailhead and back with a substantial break at the Madison Hut and adding the summit of Adams in super (SUPER) sketchy very limited-visibility weather conditions. While the Watson Path is seriously fun, if you're doing a Traverse, you may just want to bite the bullet and do Valley Way the entire way up to the hut, double-back to summit Madison and then continue on to conserve energy and maybe save some time.

Mon Oct 09 2017

Hard hard hard and steep from the beginning of the Watson trail from valley trail. False summits and some scrambling in winds and sleet (October) make it all the more challenging - but totally worth it. Amazing day. Took us 6 hours from valley to Watson and back down valley.

Thu Jul 27 2017

NOT A MODERATE DIFFICULTY TRAIL. From the beginning, the Watson Path is a challenge. Shortly after a brook crossing the terrian becomes very rough and gains elevation quickly. It does not let up until you reach the top of the ridge. Once you break above treeline, the trail mostly dissappears and you climb from carin to carin over rocks and boulders. There are three false summits on the ascent that make this trail mentally taxing. I would not recommend this trail for descent, due to its rugged and steep sections, however you could descend if you are carefully and take your time. Valley Way and Airline are far less taxing ways to ascend Mt. Madison. This trail should only be attempted by people in good physical condition.

Mon Jun 16 2014

A few tricky brook crossings on this link trail.

Sat Jun 24 2017

Sun Jun 21 2015