Wildcat Ridge Trail is a 8.4 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Gorham, New Hampshire that features beautiful wild flowers and is rated as difficult. The trail is primarily used for hiking, nature trips, and bird watching and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

Length8.4 miElevation gain3,540 ftRoute typeOut & back
Dogs on leashHikingNature tripsBird watchingForestViewsWildflowersWildlife
Description
Waypoints (6)
Tips
Getting There

You'll have great views of Mt. Washington and the Presidential Range across the valley.

Parking is free at the resort parking lot.

To find the ski resort just follow the plentiful signs on route 16 in Pinkham Notch about 20 miles north of Conway.

Weather
UV Index
Daylight
Reviews (309)
Photos (677)
Activities (266)
Completed (809)
View user's profile page
Brett Morse
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarMarch 26, 2021
Hiking
View Brett 's activity
View user's profile page
Chris Donato
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarMarch 16, 2021
FishingIcyScramble

Hiked 3/15, had to turn back just south of Wildcat "D" due to weather conditions/safety (hiking in the single digits with 40mph winds is not pleasant). This trail is not broken out at all. Much of it is pretty challenging to follow, especially after you get over the exposed ledges on the ascent. I occasionally saw phantom snowshoe tracks, but rarely. The wind even covered my own tracks when I began my descent. Even the lost-pond trail wasn't broken out at all, makes me think this really isn't a popular winter route (with good reason). Be very careful ascending and descending this ridge. The rocks were mostly covered in thick ice, took full crampons and an ice axe to get up some of it.

View user's profile page
Carol Carman
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJanuary 31, 2021
HikingGreat!Snow

Hiked 1/29/21 as an early morning summit of just Wildcat D (hit A a couple months back). Got off to an early start to try to have time for a second peak in the afternoon. Trail packed down well but tough and technical as was expected. Still rewarding! Got to see mostly clouds since it was an earlier start, but it cleared up with a beautiful blue sky by the time I reached the platform. Super windy and BITTERLY cold. If I were to do it again, I think I would try to go up Polecat at the ski resort and down the ridge trail, but I read some people have been given mixed info about the resort letting hikers ascend before they open for the day. So I opted for the ridge trail. It kicked my butt but it did not disappoint!!

View user's profile page
Michael Kandle
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJanuary 31, 2021
Hiking

Whoa, this hike was brutal. 9.7 miles, 3593 ft elevation gain, 8 hours. One of the toughest hikes I’ve been on this year. But I can notch off 2 more 4000 footers, with Widlcat D at 4062 and Wildcat Mountain at 4397. The conditions were excellent. 10 degrees at the trailhead warming into the mid-20s for the day. NO wind! The trail was mostly packed, though with sections that were loose or packed smooth by all the butt slides (more on that). Of the 15 or so hikers I encountered during the day, only a few wore snowshoes. I and most others used spikes all day. The first elevation climbing toward Wildcat D was long and steep. Never have I needed to stop and catch my breath as much as I did on this stretch. The climbs between Wildcat D, C, B, and A were easy by comparison. When I set out on this solo hike I was undecided about how far to go, possibly turning back at D or C. This became a more serious consideration during the initial elevation gain that was so slow and exhausting. I also had to consider how much daylight there would be if I pushed myself for the last summit. But given the favorable conditions, the fact that there would be good moonlight, and I had my super headlamp, I pushed onward to the final summit. After the ups and downs returning from A to D, I was excited to be on the downward home stretch to the car. But this actually proved to be the most harrowing leg of the hike. Because of the steep pitch there were many stretches requiring butt sliding. This was not desirable, but mandatory. There must have been 12-15 of these, ranging in length from 20-70 feet, with rocks, roots, trees, and twists to navigate. It was during these slides that I regretted not donning my gaiters. There was one narrow sloping passage that scared the crap out of me. It was ridge between an upward cliff on my left and a falling cliff on my right, with loose snow in between. Even my spikes didn’t give me as much traction as I needed to do it securely. It must have taken me close to 10 minutes to navigate this ledge, crab-walking a few inches at a time. As I descended this 1.5 mile home stretch, I was even more astounded by how steep it was than when I was climbing up it. “Holy shit, I climbed this? No wonder I was stopping, huffing, and puffing so much!” The gradual walk-out was after sundown. It got darkish, but not enough to bother getting my headlamp out. When I made it back to Rte 16 at 5:40, there were no more cars left except for mine. After a long 2-hour ride home, I was zonked for the rest of the evening. But you guys were all there with me through the day, with your lessons on gear, reading the conditions, and getting me into the kind of shape necessary for this one. Thanks!

View Michael's activity
View user's profile page
Jonathan Beaulieu
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJanuary 12, 2021
Hiking

Got lucky, the weather was a beautiful 30°. A short walk along the river, which is bridged and doesn’t require a precarious crossing, leads to a technical and abrupt ascent. The first peak is the top of wildcat ski resort and the path continues just behind the small hut. The ridge doesn’t break tree line but the frequent views of Washington and the Presidential Range are amazing. If you make it to A peak your reward is a view of the Carter-Moriah Range off the back side of the ridge. Start early on a winter day or you will run out of daylight going down.

View user's profile page
Denise Pushee
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarJanuary 11, 2021
Hiking

I atempted this trail today but did not make it the extra 0.8 mile to the summit. My friends trekking pole wouldn't hold up so we thought it was best to head back down. This is only my 2nd winter 4000 footer hike and damn it was crazy coming back down. Going up was no problem just relentless. Coming down I said some prayers lol I can't wait to get back to this one. I wouldn't recommend coming down this trail in snow or ice.

View user's profile page
Bruce Borofsky
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarNovember 27, 2020
Hiking
View user's profile page
Shannon Connors
Yellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarNovember 22, 2020
Hiking

fell in the stream immediately. 20 degree temperature. by the time I got back to the car I was a ice cube. 1/10 would not recommend falling in the stream before getting to the trail.

View Shannon's activity
View user's profile page
Scott Trafton
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarNovember 13, 2020
Hiking

Tough hike up the Wildcat Ridge Trail (2 miles in 2 hours). Great cliff outcroppings for views. Moderate hike between D and C peak. Fairly easy hike from C to A. Great views at A peak looking at Carter Dome and the hut below. Easy hike down the 19 mile Brook trail, and aqueduct. This is definitely the way to attack this loop, as going down the Wildcat Ridge Trail would be treacherous. We parked one car across from the MW auto road, and drove the other to Glenn Ellis Falls parking to start. 7.7miles, 5:20 moving time.

View user's profile page
Barb Taylor
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarNovember 12, 2020

This trail is a reminder of why you love (or hate) the White Mountains. Very steep, lots of rocky ups and downs. Great views. No snow or ice yet. Well marked. After returning back to D, for the sake of something different, we went down a ski run and then bushwhacked over to Square Ledges trail to Lost Pond trail back to Glen Ellis Falls parking.

View user's profile page
Kai TwoFeathers Orton
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarOctober 13, 2020

I felt like a hobbit needing to take the one ring up the mountain of despair to save Middle Earth. I read all the other reviews but nothing can really prepare you for the sheer endless vertical ascent, nothing! You simply have to do it and not fall. There were moments where I felt felt like I was being punished for all my past and future sins. You start to ask yourself during the climb up if this is karma mountain. You feel muscles in your derriere that you didn't even know could work like that. You do as many pull-ups as you do toe holds just to get to the first peak. You wonder if you haven't seen other hikers because they all got swallowed by a dark force. Then you meet someone with an exasperated expression and you find comfort in knowing that they too love and hate this mountain. After that you think your on the ridge, which is exceedingly beautiful, and you think it will be easier. This mountain lies to you like that bad ex- boyfriend you couldn't break up with because you kept believing them every time they showed you their nice side. You will walk past every summit between Wildcat D and A without even knowing you did something incredible. There are no cairns, or signs, or markers to proclaim your victory. You have to trust the force. Alas you will eventually stumble upon a sign that says "View" right at the summit of Wildcat A with a gorgeous but small lookout of the Carters and overlooking the Carter Notch Hut and Carter Lakes. Having seen my fate, I decided to take the trail down to the Carter Lakes and hike out on 19 Mile Brook Trail with no regrets despite the added mileage on very tired legs.

View user's profile page
Samantha Albert
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarOctober 11, 2020
Hiking

Long, hard, and not so fun. Definitely a hike to break up.

View Samantha's activity
View user's profile page
Doreen ORourke
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarOctober 10, 2020

I've completed 28 of the 48 including Washington 2x, Trypramid slides, Lincoln, Lafayette, Little Haystack, Whiteface, and a few winter hikes. This is easily one of the most challenging mentally and physically! This is a 14 mile hike out and back! Very steep most of the way. Rock climbing. Icy in spots. Well marked. Started about 9am. Finished about 430 with lots of stops for pictures. AMAZING views!!!

View user's profile page
John Roberts
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarOctober 9, 2020
Hiking
View John's activity
View user's profile page
Carmen Peabody
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarOctober 8, 2020
HikingRockyScramble

Completed this last Saturday, 10/3. It had rained the day before so the trail was slick and muddy, making it a tricky hike up. It’s definitely steep and difficult for the first two miles. Once you get to the first peak, it levels out and is a nice hike to the second summit. A few hikers on the trail had cautioned us from hiking back down the same way we came, but we did it anyways, and honestly it wasn’t too bad. Yes, it’s steep, but we took our time and slid on our butts when needed.

View user's profile page
Arul Mahadevan
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarOctober 8, 2020
Hiking

Thursday October 10, 2020. Temp 34-45 F at trailhead. 25-27 F at summits. Wind 15-25 mph with 45-50 mph gusts. Mostly cloudy. Wet trail after overnight rain. 9AM start after rain stopped. Pinkham Notch via Lost pond trail and up Wildcat Ridge trail with gusty tailwind. Beautiful views of Pinkham Notch from ledges along the way. Great views of the Carter Moriah mountains from Wildcat. Finished down 19 Mile Brook trail with beautiful cascades all along with great fall color

View Arul's activity
View user's profile page
Kelly Hansen
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarOctober 6, 2020
Hiking

I decided to save my knees from certain death by locking my road bike at the 19 mile brook trailhead where I planned to finish in order to avoid an out ‘n back hike. I went up wildcat ridge trail which is very steep and probably would have caused a panic attack if I had tried to hike down it. Biking back the 4 miles to Joe Dodge Lodge was harder than I anticipated, but I felt safe in the wide shoulders. Maybe I’m a baby, but I’m very glad to have taken the longer, yet more gradual grade back to 16.

View Kelly's activity
View user's profile page
Tori L
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarOctober 2, 2020
Hiking

Easily one of the hardest 4,000 footers out there. Don’t underestimate this one. Steep out of the gate and no breaks for the entire two mile stretch up the trail. Like others have said however, the views of Washington are incredible. Trail was well maintained, would be VERY difficult when wet, I do not recommend. Peak D was beautiful and clearly marked. Totally missed peaks B and C. There’s no real signage for the A peak either, it’s a small cairn near the “view” sign. We parked on the street between Glen Ellis and Pinkham Notch - the trail starts in the Glen Ellis parking lot and goes under the highway, it was a bit difficult to find so hopefully that tidbit is helpful. Two 27 year olds, took us a total of 6.5 hours, breaks included, consider ourselves experienced hikers. Happy hiking!!

View user's profile page
Jeff Badger
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarSeptember 19, 2020
Hiking
View Jeff's activity
View user's profile page
Kristina Taylor
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSeptember 19, 2020
Backpacking
View Kristina's activity
View user's profile page
Justin Gillen
Gray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarSeptember 16, 2020
HikingGreat!
View Justin's activity
View user's profile page
ROGER MATTEAU
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSeptember 15, 2020
Hiking

Awesome views but one of the top 5 most difficult hikes of the 48 four thousand plus peaks.

View ROGER's activity
View user's profile page
Rick Camarata
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSeptember 12, 2020
Hiking
View Rick's activity
View user's profile page
Gordon Miller
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarSeptember 11, 2020
HikingRocky

Only a 4 because I got socked in with fog up top, views would give it a 4.5. very steep, rocky and lots of ups and downs. Tough trail and very different ...did enjoy it

View Gordon's activity
View user's profile page
chad pickering
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSeptember 5, 2020
Hiking
View user's profile page
Noelle Noelle Ballou
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarAugust 31, 2020
Hiking
View Noelle's activity
View user's profile page
Eric Cunningham
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarAugust 30, 2020
Hiking
View Eric's activity
Showing results 1 - 27 of 309