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Beautiful and very challenging hike. Contrary to what the listing notes, this is a better point to point hike than an out and back. I would recommend doing it as a day hike over backpacking after doing it both ways.

This is by far the toughest trail in white mountains that I have done. Make sure you do Washington or or adams individually before attempting this. We started at 9 am on caps ridge and made it to jefferson summit at 11 am. The vies were breathtaking of fall foliage in New Hampshire. We reached adams at 1 and Madison at 230 and back to trail head at 730 pm. Got delayed a bit due to high winds in gulf side trail.

Getting to the ridge of adams was fine however climbing adams was quite tough, there is no stairway like path to adams summit and involves twisting and turning your feet in slightly awkward angles, with a little bit of scrambling sprinkled in.

After adams we went a long way down the ridge towards Madison hut. THE HUT WAS CLOSED. We gave some of our water to a couple who had not brought enough thinking they could refill at the hut. we left our backpacks at the hut and hurried up mount Madison. I felt Mount Madison summit was much more breathtaking than either adams or jefferson, with its 360 degree views and fall foliage of high fall season.

Things to note:
1) wind near and at adams and jefferson summit brought the temperature down significantly. We had to thrown on all our layers each time we came near to these peaks. Madison was much more tamer.

2) though the forecast said clear skies for the entire day, it became quite foggy on the way back, which along with higher than predicted winds made the going very tough on the gulf side trail.

3) we avoided climbing adams and jefferson on the way back by taking the gulf side trail and continuing on to the jefferson loop to reach caps ridge.

4) Gps tracker with all trails was extremely useful. Once it gets foggy and real windy, it becomes easy to lose path.

5) make sure each of you bring headlamps and hiking blankets just in case. We hiked the last half hour in complete darkness.

6) fix your turn around time as half the daylight that you half left minus an hour at the beginning of the hike.

Overall this hike got me a fair bit of respect for phrase “exposed over the tree line” hiking. If you are considering doing the entire presidential traverse, I highly recommend doing this trail first to get a taste of it. It pushes the strength of knees and leg muscles to the next level.

If you are fit and weather is good, this is a great hike.

The views throughout this hike can’t be beat. As others have commented though, be sure the weather is solid and you’ve packed gear accordingly. There are a lot of criss-crossing trails and the majority of the hike is rock jumping so it can be pretty slow going. I wound up getting turned around a couple of times but even with minimal stops, this took me 8 hours at a very good pace.

Hike was every bit technically challenging as it was strenuous but huge payout above the tree line. Absolutely breathtaking. Definitely need to watch the weather and pack smart, you are very exposed to the elements up there. It had rained the day before I hiked so the trail was extremely slick. Took me 7hrs with a few short breaks.

Tough to finish In one day, only made it to Adams and had to head back. Did a number on my pups paws, would not recommend bringing a dog for this one.. lots of rocky terrain especially at the top and along the ridge.

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.

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.

Ambitious group of intermediate and beginner hikers. Definitely more than we expected but 100% worth the trek, lifetime memories. Took detour to Tuckerman’s to Huntington’s. Immediately appreciated so much less foot traffic on Huntington’s. We encountered 5 other hikers on our trip. Straight forward in the beginning following a stream and cool water features. Easy going all the way up as you get to the end of the tree line. Weave and duck your way through a rock slide and now the real “fun begins.”
The boulder pile was challenging but fun. It almost feels like a puzzle as you find the best way to sprawl up. Make sure you pay attention to the trail markers, especially the further you go up. They often directed the best spots to ascend. Still some wild flowers out along the stream. The most challenging/ exciting part was traversing the slab. This was unique for everyone and was basically rock climbing. Between this, climbing some chimneys and the heights, some nerves were frayed in the group.
Eventually you get to the “stairs” and reach the real reward and what feels like the true summit for those who hiked. Views and feels for days. We had awesome weather and visibility. Happy with the extra layers and hats we brought. One last trek through what felt like endless rocks but in no time you are united with everyone who drove up. In total it took us 6 hrs to ascend with a ton of breaks and safety first with the sprawl/ climb. Take your time and pack accordingly. Look forward to taking this route again next time I climb Mt Wash

hiking
1 month ago

Bear in mind that whoever made the path on this route went off trail.

Don’t fool yourself into thinking this trail will ever be dry because a stream feeds a lot of damp moss that covers a great deal of the difficult part of the trail, which makes for slippery conditions even on the driest days.

If you choose to stay on the trail and meet up with Cook Trail, prepare to add an additional mile or so to your day.

This was definitely an epic trail but not one for the faint of heart. There were plenty of places where upper body strength and hip flexibility were key.

And dear God, don’t bring your dog unless you plan on stuffing it in you backpack.

Good luck and have fun! We did!

Started at Appalachia trail head and took the short line up (starts off easy but gets very difficult at “Kings ravine trail before joining the “Gulf side trail alot of boulder scrambling and steep), get to visit mossy falls and chose to do the ice caves to diversify the hike (must be agile, tight squeezes and climbs), once at gulf side trail went to mount Addams first followed by mount Madisson via star lake trail via the maddison hut, (that was the plan until other hikers suggested not to go down that way and to take Airline back as it is very steep), took watson path to valley way to Appalachia down from Madisson, 10 mi RT very strenuous hike but totally worth it!

Did the single day point-to-point with 2 staged cars. The weather and wind is no joke, even if all seems calm at the trailhead. Beautiful views, especially along Monticello’s lawn. Perfect time to do it, first weekend of August. Started at 5am.

Great hike. If you bring the dog make sure the dog is tough. The views are awesome.

Incredible views along the ridge.

Just completed a single day Presi Traverse with my brother in law. we are moderate hikers who do one bigger backpacking trip each August. we started at Appalachia trailhead @ 4:15am and took valley way up to Madison hut. At 6:15 we dropped our day packs and did the out and back to Mt Madison. we tagged Adams & Jefferson before stopping for lunch at Washington at about 11:15. we took a much needed 75 min lunch break and leg rest and we're back on the trail by 1230. we skipped Franklin but tagged Monroe, Eisenhower Pierce before finally exiting the forest at 5:50pm. great, but difficult day!

There is nothing wrong with the trail itself...I’m giving one star because the description makes this trail look totally doable in one day. You MUST be a very seasoned hiker and start early to attempt this in one day. I met a guy on the way up who is doing all 48 in one year (Hi Adam and Otto) and even he thought this was crazy. I only made it to Adams and still found this my most challenging hike by far. It makes Mt. Washington feel like Monadonock

one of the most spectacular trail in the Whites !

We hiked up Tuckermans and heeded the detours and returned via the same route. What an accomplishment climbing rock over rock! The best part of the day were the views and the 88 ye old woman hiking up with her 3 sons. We met her just as we started out descent! Amazing day with friends

We did this trail North to South with three nights used camping outdoors below the treeline. If you're coming down from Canada, or from far away, starting at the North and using the free camping site not too far from Mt Madison is a good option. You will suffer the first day regardless getting up past the treeline into the mountain range but it will be worth it.

Q: Which mountains should I do?
A: Is it extremely cloudy? Then you should just stay to the path. If not then Mt Madison has the best overall view of the North to South range and you can even see Mt Washington on a good day. Mt Adams is a pile of rocks (I would skip), Mt Jefferson is a yes on a clear day, Mt Clay is a nice windy spot to relax before you climb up Mt Washington, anything past Mt Washington is really dependent on how quickly you need to get back to a shuttle/car (Eisenhower has a pile of rocks on top... up to you).

You cannot reserve a shuttle seat the day of. You must book in advance or wait around in line to be sure to get a spot. Do not rely on taxi services as they are far and few.

Gearwise you should expect wind, rain and sun with the change dependent on the time of the year you go. If you are hiking in the summer expect a neckburn if you don't wear sunscreen or a hat during the peak sun hours. There are streams that I would risk not filtering before drinking but there are larger stretches after Mt Washington that have still water that need more than just tablets to make it consumable. Hiking poles are not needed but shoes with proper ankle support are. You will be on very rocky terrain once you're above the treeline and you could easily roll or strain something without proper footwear.

Please double layer socks in your shoes. Blisters out here will suck. Thin layer first then a thick wool sock so that you don't have as much friction with your shoes leading to blisters.

The cabins take credit cards. If you want to stay in them go for it but you aren't exactly roughing it. Sometimes if you arrive there off usually eating times they'll have free food to eat or coffee to drink. They also will let you fill up on water there.

Parking is 5USD a day at the centre (South). I would recommend dropping people off at the North trailhead, driving to the centre/parking and then taking the shuttle to regroup. This will allow you to come out of the trail right beside the parking lot on your last day.

Went up Tuckermans and down Huntington this past Monday (07/30)... definitely a challenge descending Huntington's, but can be done. Take your time going down Huntington's and avoid it if it's wet. Had a few spots where the blazes were hard to find. Going up Tuckermans be was straight forward. The detour gets your heart pumping pretty fast and was pretty muddy and potentially slippery in spots.

Our group of 4, Nav, Jimmy, Ragz, and me (Rich) had a blast. 2 day trip, 20 mi. The Appalacia lot start at 4.30 am to beat the afternoon rain paid off. Madison by 8am, Leftover pancakes at Madison hut and a bathroom! Adams by 9.30, Lunch at 10.45, Jefferson by 12.30, Washington by 2pm, and at the LOC hut by 3 as it started to rain.
I do not prefer poles ever. My partners do, but there is rocks, boulders, and more rocks so use rubber tips on your poles. There is a lot of hand over hand climbing over boulders where you will have to tuck away your poles.
Adams was the toughest climb. And we made good speed on the Gulfside trail near the cog.
LoC hut is fabulous, great food and comfort, and i bought my new favorite t-shirt. I used mycoal x-large hand warmers to dry out my boots overnight. Coffee and breakfast is ready at 7, i wish it was earlier. They have a new septic system this year that filters human waste very well, so the water you drink today is someone's pee from yesterday! no joke. The hutsmen and hutswomen are super, tip them a $10 or even more. They like $20, as you will find out from Jack and Rose.
Monroe, Eisenhower and Peirce is a walk in the park compared to day1, lots of downhill, back to the Highland Center. Enjoy a beer and dinner when you get there. I will do the Presi again someday.
-Rich

This was as difficult a hike as I have done in a while. Airline is much more steep and straight than Valley Way. Packs were lighter because we were staying at Madison Hut; lucky us. This hike was totally worth it though. The views once you get to Durand Ridge were phenomenal! If you want a challenge, go Airline on the way up.

Great trail. Challenging but not hard if you are in shape/athletic. There is some pretty steep faces that are essentially rock climbing more than hiking

Good trail just wasn’t well marked at times. If you are patient it’s worth the challenge

This is one of our favorite trails on Mt. Washington.

Very intense trail. The beginning was closed off due to a bridge being repaired. Once on the trail the crowds of people vanished and the scenery was amazing. Following a stream most of the time. The boulders were alot of fun and a local told me to go straight up the left side instead of following the trail. This worked out perfectly. The cliff climb was the best part. This was the closest to rock climbing ive ever done. Highly recommend the trail.

Did this hike on Saturday, and decided to make a loop out of it going up Airline to the summit, then down Star Lake to the hut, then down Valley Way. Highly recommend as Airline provides wonderful views and is steeper, and Valley Way stays in the trees and is less rugged. This loop was a total of 8.5 miles. It took me a while to complete, largely because I did not have poles, which would be very helpful for a hike like this as the last mile or so up to Adams (and back down) is awkwardly rocky and can be difficult to maneuver. The summit was too populated for my taste (plus it is not flat so everyone’s awkwardly trying to stand on the rocks) but the trails were often quiet for long stretches. The view of Washington from the summit is my favorite I have ever seen.

did this Saturday and it was a first pretty hard but so worth it once you got to the top.

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.

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