Explore the most popular backpacking trails near Gorham with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

Our first time here and second time hiking ever! Wonderful scenery! The river was beautiful, the dogs loved it, and the trail was great for this ok’ gal!

Great trail. Easy early with steepness increasing late and up to the ridge. Then, very reasonable ridge walk back and forth between summits. Great views from both summits.

1 month ago

A beautiful and wonderful, yet rugged, hike in the whites! This trail is properly rated as hard. I am a pretty experienced hiker, and many of the elements of the trail made it difficult. My only complaints: There was a great amount of pine and shrub overgrowth on the last 3 or so miles of the trail and was also closer to 4.5 miles, making it a 9 mile hike out&back. It took me approximately 6.5 hours, about 4 hours ascending. There are multiple “false peaks” but that didn’t hinder the beauty of this trail. Make sure to download the topo map to track your progress! The waterfall at the beginning was beautiful, and carried on for a mile or so. There is no “Mt. Madison” sign at the top, to my disappointment, so you will know that you submitted by using the map. Enjoy!

This is a terrific relatively easy hike in/out. Well maintained trail. We saw only a few other people Went up past the A Trail shelter.

Did this hike over a two-day period, staying at the IMP shelter site in between. Ditched my pack day two at the intersection of the Carter Moriah and Carter Dome Trails to scale Mt. Height-worth the steep climb as it offered a gorgeous 360 degree view from the summit. Trek out was all down hill, including 19 Mile Brook Trail, which offered a lovely sound for several miles-then had a huge pool of fresh cool water about a half mile from the trailhead... Yes, I stripped down and swam in that glorious mountain pool!

Ascended from Carter Notch Hut and descended by N Carter Trail and Imp Trail. Ridge line was the best! Hight Mt so worth the minor detour! N Carter Trail was VERY narrow. Imp was hard on knees even with trekking poles.

Hiked this in May 2016 and the comments about it being secluded and not maintained are spot on. You will notice this trail runs generally easy to West or vice versa so set your compass on a 270 or a 90 degree heading and look for gentle indentation in the ground for the trail. The compass doesn’t lie. As stated this trail is not for beginners.

4 months ago

Great trail but pretty tough. I've hiked most of the 48 and a bunch of other places in the Whites and this trail is the only one I've really truly bonked on. Pack plenty of water and take your time.

4 months ago

Took this trail to North Carter , park at the south trailhead and begin by walking along rt 16 for about .3m then enter the woods at the north trailhead, the trail was slippery and cleats helped greatly, two miles to Imp face, awesome views of the Great Gulf and surrounding peaks, at 3 miles take N. Carter trail to A.T. , from the A.T. Jct. North Carter summit is less than half a mile, nice views of the Baldface range.. that's about five miles from the car so with a turn around time had to skip Middle Carter.. from the N. Carter/Imp trail jct take a right and take the more gradual way down, don't miss the meadow above camp dodge, about a mile before reaching the south trailhead...

9 months ago

Yet another spectacular White Mountain, Presidential hike. Last hiked it on August 28-29, 1993. Hiked Great Gulf Trail to Osgood Trail, to Mt. Madison. Down Daniel Webster Trail.

We tried a segment of this trial starting at Blue Brook and going down towards Wild River. No blazes and super heavy leaf fall made it hard to follow and about a mile and a half into the 2.2 mile section we lost the trail. Tried to backtrack and could not find it. Saw no one else on the trail. We will try it again starting at Wild River and going towards Blue Brook tent site. Some steep ups and downs in this portion which might be easier without so much leaf cover.

10 months ago

Amazing view! It gets steep but totally worth it when you reach the top. It also gets windy at the top so you should bring warm cloths if you're looking to stay for along time.

10 months ago

I chose this trail not because it was the toughest (though I do like a challenge), but because I had heard the views during the elevation gain were the best of the trails heading up to Mt Madison. This advice was spot on! The first mile are so was through lush forest and followed a stream with lovely waterfalls though the water level was low at this time. About a mile and a half in, the trail really begins to climb and soon enough the birch trees are left behind and you are surrounded by tall evergreens. The trail is named appropriately as it follows a ridge line with 4 false peaks called "The Hawks". At the first of 4, a partial view of the valley below opens up. Just a taste of what's to come. At the top of this first peak the trail levels off and is more open and much softer ground than the rocky, root strewn path previously followed. It gives the impression that things will get a bit easier going. Wrong! Soon enough you are balancing on multiple rocks, climbing over boulders, and tripping over roots and stumps. At the 2nd peak, the views are more broad (180 behind you) and you get a great view of Mt Madison and the ridge line still to be traversed. This is a great place to take a break and grab a snack. Soon after more decline, more incline, decline, incline and so on. Eventually you clear the treeline completely and can see the final ascent before you. There is no rest for the weary here. The incline is steep on, sometimes, wobbly rocks with a much less defined path. If you can locate the blue paint streaks on the rocks great, if not, multiple cairns mark the easiest path upward. Even so, the wife and I somehow missed the target slightly and ended up about a hundred or so yards right of the trail. We soon recalibrated and located the Osgood Trail for the final 400-500 foot ascent to the peak. NOTE: there is a rock formation above that appears to be the peak of Mt Madison. It is not. Once above this section, you have about another 100 foot incline over about 2/10's of a mile to the true peak. The views from the peak are phenomenal with 360 views of the rest of the Presidential Range to the South, Randolph and Berlin to the North and the Green Mountains to the west. Once you've taken in the views and truly realized the accomplishment of climbing Mt Madison you'll continue along the peak and then down a steep path to the Madison Hut to recharge your batteries with lunch you carried in or a hot lunch which can be purchased. There are multiple paths back down toward Rte 2. We chose Valley Way which was the most direct but was loaded with rocks and tree roots the entire way down which can be devastating to already tired knees and ankles. I would definitely recommend trekking poles for the descent. This probably was the most challenging hike we have done but also the most rewarding. Will definitely visit the White Mountains again

11 months ago

Fun hike, took Howker ridge up, not one of my favorite paths to be honest, there is like three false peaks before you reach Madison. The view from Madison is fantastic, I stayed up there for close to an hour watching the eclipse, pretty neat.

Saturday, August 12, 2017

If you do the hike, start from the north end and make the loop to the south and return to your car via Route 16. The north side is the steeper of the two and makes the descent easier coming the long way down. The views from Imp Face are incredible. Plenty of water sources along the north trail and beyond Imp Face, when you start down there are not many sources of water.

Saturday, July 22, 2017

As mentioned in the previous review, the south side of this hike is a much better starting location. The ascent is fairly steep and rocky and would be much harder on the knees coming down. We had a wonderful hike and even saw a female beer and cub near the bottom of the southern entry point. The trail itself seems well traveled and has plenty of challenging points from start to finish. I would recommend this hike for experienced hikers only. Children would have a difficult time on this hike due to the rocks, mud, and steep inclines. The view at the top was gorgeous and well worth the trip. It would be an excellent choice for starting out on a shorter but still challenging hike without the extra mileage. Be sure to take plenty of water. We completed the hike in 3.5 hours. Both of us are in fairly good condition and took minimal breaks. You should be able to do it in 4hrs. I don't recommend hiking this after dark.

Friday, July 21, 2017

I would recommend starting from the south head of the trail (end opposite to the green button on the map) as the climb from here is more rocky and its easier to climb on rocks rather than descend on them (especially when it has rained).
Very fun trial and exceptional views. Highly recommended.

Sunday, July 02, 2017

Wife and I hiked up this trail in June. It was a tough hike for us amateur hikers but it was amazing! Great views at the knolls and amazing to look back where you were minutes ago. We took other trails on the way down to complete a loop ending with Watson trail. It took us about 10 hours with a good stop a Madison cabin. Probably closer to 4.5 miles out.

Friday, September 30, 2016

Did this hike as a two-day backpacking trip over Labor Day weekend. Hiked up Stony Brook, dropped off our stuff at Imp Shelter, and hiked up Moriah on day one. the trail junction for Stony Brook to Moriah was way longer than I thought it would be-- definitely felt like more that 1.3 miles! Watched an awesome sunset from a viewpoint not 10 minutes from the shelter.

Day two began with a very steep ascent of North Carter, but once that was over, it was not bad over Middle, South, and Dome. Took the Hight detour-- 100% WORTH IT. If you don't take this short detour, you're missing out on the best view in the entire range. The last half-mile from Carter Dome to Carter Notch Hut was awful, but quick. Then a nice easy descent via Nineteen Mile Brook!

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Talk about secluded! Spent the week in the Whites because of this trail. I read that National Geographic ranked this one of the top trails in the U.S for seclusion. They weren't kidding. The best way to tackle the Black Angel is to start at the AT and work your way down Carter Dome. Its pretty much all down hill. There were a couple cool spots to rest or to have lunch and a few streams to refill your water bottles. Once you cross over the Wild River there's a lot of steep up and steep down until you get to Blue Brook Campsite. Definitely a challenge but totally worth it!

Sunday, June 05, 2016

Hiked Mt Madison on may 8th, saw some nice water falls on the way, the trail
Was Howker ridge trail, it was very steep and filled with ice flows, a river crossing and 3 false summits, it was raining at first but then is stared hailing and snowing at alpine, the wind was reaching 60mph making the sleet painful, it was very difficult to keep going, all my gear was soaked and the wind made me freezing, we had to crawl over blips and rocks as the wind gusted, I made it 100 yards from the summit but the wind was to powerful so I took shelter in a small cave like overhang well Jon reached the summit and came back, it's crazy how fast the weather can change at 5000 feet, the wind and sleet was getting more intense making for a quick decent to treeline to block the wind and sleet, definitely the hardest hike so far.

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Great simple trail, perfect for an easier day on the trails

Monday, January 04, 2016

Truly lived up to its name "Black Angel". Was a beast to tackle, being part of the wilderness the trail is not blazed or maintained. Very secluded, don't expect to see very many hikers in this area. Not suitable for beginners.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Very easy walk perfect for families or new hikers. Beautiful setting. I'm imaging it would be awesome in warmer weather to take a dip in swimming holes near Rattle River Shelter!! Dogs loved it too!

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Loved this trail. The most beautiful way up Mt. Madison. Tough, but worth the views of course!

Monday, December 07, 2015

This is a hard trail. It has 4 knobs on it. you go up one and down to the bottom of the other .This
repeats 4 times in a row and it seams like you gain no elevation until you pull away from the last howk. It is a beautiful trail. You really feel like you have accomplished some thing when you are done

Friday, August 21, 2015

Nice day: blue sky, puffy clouds, lots of sun, and windy on the exposed face.

Wednesday, August 05, 2015

We did the full loop and walked back to the south trail head to the car which was a very short walk. The trail was strenuous at points, but absolutely worth it when you get to the breath taking views of the presidentials. Weather conditions were perfect, till we got to the top and it started raining! Again, though, absolutely worth it.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Overview, map and 1 other review here don't seem to be accurate. Osgood Trail runs along ridge from Osgood camp site (well below the tree line) area on SE side of Mount Madison up a few thousand feet in elevation to the summit of Mount Madison and down to Madison Spring Hut. You do break out of the tree line well before the true summit (there are several lower summits to tease you). The trail is reasonably well maintained but very vertical (no switchbacks) and very rocky above the tree line. Views above the tree line are wonderful and make the climb worth it - if the weather is cooperating. I posted a link with better detail info on the trail.

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