Presidential Traverse Trail

HARD 49 reviews

Presidential Traverse Trail is a 23.9 mile moderately trafficked point-to-point trail located near Randolph, New Hampshire that features a great forest setting. The trail is only recommended for very experienced adventurers and primarily used for hiking. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

DISTANCE
23.9 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
9865 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Point to Point

dogs on leash

hiking

forest

views

rocky

The Presidential Traverse is an excellent and well traveled hike of some of New England's highest peaks - almost all at maximum exposure. This trip is not for the faint of heart or meant to be attempted in just one day - but it can be done with the right preparation. An official Presidential Traverse begins at Madison to Adams to Jefferson to Washington and then on to Monroe to Eisenhower to Pierce and finally Jackson.

backpacking
4 days ago

Amazing hike. Highly recommend you have trekking poles or you will be at a disadvantage. The poles are key. Also bring enough food for yourself, there’s huts along the way that you can fuel up at. Overall amazing experience.

hiking
16 days ago

I, unfortunately, could only manage to do half of this. I made the mistake of summiting Madison via the Watson Path to avoid the out-and-back via Valley Way. It was 1,000ft elevation of tough scramble in pea soup. Once the fog started burning off in the afternoon I was greeted with fantastic views of the range. Now that I'm more aware of the terrain, I will be back to hopefully 1-day this next year.

hiking
1 month ago

Has anyone used a GPS watch on the Traverse? Wonder what you used and how it went?
Would like to find a good watch / GPS system for this and other trails
Thanks, Ken

3 months ago

Solo single-day winter traverse

backpacking
4 months ago

Beast of a trail for backpacking, much more suited for ultralight backpacking or slack packing. Made it halfway to through but forced down after submitting Washington due to weather. Will definitely be going back to complete the rest of the traverse.

backpacking
8 months ago

We used this as a backpacking mileage test; full packs, and see how far you can get on mountain terrain in a day. Beautiful views, easy stepping ridge-line trails, and a way around the toughest peaks (the AT) in case the weather turns. There are shelters with water along the trail, but the weather is famously changeable and dangerous, and it's not easy getting off them after the weather turns-- the descent is often through a steep boulder field.

Plan your camp early, or at least don't plan to find a campsite at sundown. The sites which are out of the wind/weather are down steep and slick side trails, and it is often a long way to a flat area to pitch a tent. This is a beautiful place to hike, and also a place where one can end up soaked and exhausted in a tent which is tied to a tree so that it doesn't begin sliding down the mountain in the night.

9 months ago

Completed this trail yesterday 9/16/2017. We parked at the airline/Appalachia trailhead and started hiking at 330am... the trail was easy to follow and enjoyable. Got to the summit of Mt Madison around 630am just in time for an amazing sunrise. Refueled water at the Madison hut and pushed on wards bagging all of the peaks following... we reached our other car and the highland center at 730 pm having our travel time down to 16 hours! In no shape or form are we trail runners just went for it and got really lucky with warm temps and great views! Must do!

hiking
9 months ago

Just finished this hike. We took 2 days to finish. Gear included overnight camping equipment and 25 lbs of gear in case of stormy weather which was planned for due to hurricane Irma's moisture traveling NE. We started at Appalachia at 1900 and competed the first 4 miles in the dark. We took a break near the Madison hut off the main trail near the tree line. Once sunrise broke we hit Madison, Adam, Jefferson, Clay and then Washington. We were not running the trails and even then, the terrain and rocks that make up the trail will slow you down, since injuries are common due to unstable footing. We planned for about 1 MPH pace but underestimated the restrictive terrain.There wasn't any rooms available at the AMC Lakes in the Clouds so we planned to head down the mountain once at Washington. Had some trail magic and was offered a ride since the last van and cog train just departed. It was later than we planned on arriving. Stayed at the AMC center off HWY 16. Great opportunity to refit, eat, shower and get rest. Got up at 0600 ate and hitched a ride to the gate leading up to the top of Washington. Bought a ticket for a shuttle (31$) got to the top and continued on around 1030. Hit The rest of the presidentials and made it back the AMC Highland by 1600. Unless your a trail runner I wouldn't plan on doing this trail in one day unless you plan on running the whole thing. Great opportunity to train for something bigger like Rainer or Shasta due to the elevation gain and strenuous workout.

hiking
9 months ago

An amazing hike, one of my favorite weekends ever. We started at Madison and finished at Pierce, skipping Jackson. The hike took about 1.5 days for us, camping at the bottom of Jefferson. Highly recommend this hike, it is filled with amazing views. Loved the variations in trails, with Star Lake going up Adams being the most challenging, but certainly the most fun.

hiking
9 months ago

We started from Appalachia and ended at AMC Highland Center, stayed at Madison Spring Hut and Lakes of the Clouds Hut, bagged 9 peaks. On the way up to Mt Madison, we first took Valley Trail, then crossed over to Air Line Trail via Scar Trail. I have to say Scar Trail is my favorite trail.

9 months ago

Amazing and well traveled trail, not for novice hiker. Best to watch weather and dress in layers! Southern traverse is less rocky but overall a lot of granite! Views are worth it and a must do traverse for any experienced hiker!

hiking
10 months ago

Did this trail 08/20/17 in 12 hours. We were in the clouds with 40+ mph wind throughout the whole Northside, but the sky cleared up in the afternoon around Monroe. Amazing trail, but not for the faint of heart.

backpacking
10 months ago

what an amazing place to see, this should be on everyone's to do list for sure.. spent a few days backpacking this and the weather was amazing the view even better. stayed one night at the lake of the cloud hut, and the service and the meal you get there is something you will never forget. completely worth the hundred third dollars that is for sure. mt Washington was wild and the view were beautiful. thank you!!

hiking
10 months ago

Did the PT today; 9/10 summits (we skipped the very last one - Jackson). My GPS watch died with about 5.3km left, which is when I used All Trails app to record the final few KM's.....We started at 4:15am and finished at 2:50pm, with a 45 min. Stop at the super busy and crowded Mt Washington. Weather was perfect and we absolutely loved it! Definitely coming back next year and will include Jackson

hiking
11 months ago

Went North to South this year instead of South to North. I highly recommend going South. I only went about 20 minutes faster heading South than heading North, but the pain level was about 40% less in the second half.

11 months ago

Amazing trail

hiking
Sunday, June 18, 2017

Hiked a Madison-Pierce traverse on 6/17 -- absolutely perfect weather, surprisingly warm above treeline. Summit views were stellar, particularly later in the day at Washington/Monroe/Eisenhower. Started a little late at just before 6 AM, and we got off the path at Crawford Notch 13 hours later. Great hike, intense workout, unlike anything else in NE.

hiking
Monday, September 19, 2016

My first hike. Went with wonderful supportive people which was essential because it was certainly not breezy. The views throughout were magical and I felt blessed the whole time. Started out as a group of 7 at the bottom of Mt. Madison at 4:15am. One of our hikers didn't feel well on the way, so we were moving slowish and reached the first summit around 9am, and the hut around 9:30am. So she decided to take the trail down the other side of the mountain, escorted by her brother at that point. 5 of us moved on to Adams, Jefferson, Clay, and finally reached the top of Mount Washington around 5:30 pm after hiking for 13.5 hours. Myself and one other newbie hiker finished our hike at that point. I texted my cousin ahead of time and asked him to get us. It turned out that they don't let any cars on the road to the top after 5pm, so they didn't let him in when he came at 5:08pm. Paid $50 a person for the ride from the top to the parking, but actually felt lucky to get that ride on time. Because no rides are offered after they close the observation deck around 6pm. The three hikers from our group finished the planned hike and climbed another 4mountains, getting to the car we parked the night before around midnight. They went on some tough hikes before, real champs. I think if it weren't for us newbies, they would have completed the hike 10-20% earlier because our pace was definitely slower.
I have nothing but positive feelings, and now plan on getting myself prepped for the full Pres. Traverse within he next year :) Btw though I am an active person, I've never considered myself an outdoors type of a girl. I am now hooked for life. The air, the views, the nature I've experienced during this hike are truly magical and I can't wait for my next exploration!

hiking
Sunday, September 11, 2016

Absolutely beautiful! Very easy to do over the course of 4 days if you stay in Madison, Lakes, and Mizpah along the way.

hiking
Saturday, September 10, 2016

Went South to North, which made the second half brutal. Started at midnight and didn't see another person until 7am on Mt.Washington. Only two other hikers on Washington, but started seeing people from the huts after 7. The weather was beautiful. Bring poles and boots because the rocks are ankle breakers when you are fatigued. 14 hrs total in time to catch the shuttle back to my truck!

Friday, September 09, 2016

Amazing.Took longer then expected but we saw sunset from Mount Washington summit , stayed at lake of the clouds and hiked remainder of trail next day.

hiking
6 days ago

hiking
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