It is a beautiful summit and worth the extra mileage if you have it in you! Presidential Traverses are often hiked from north to south, getting the biggest climbs in while your legs are still fresh. The northern half is more rugged than the southern half so it is recommended to do all your rock hopping earlier on rather than when your legs turn to jelly. The traverse can be done in a single day or spread out over multiple days.
One false step and you can break a trekking pole or worse. The climb up the Pine Link Trail was strenuous, but no more so than the other trails that climb to treeline in the Northern Presidentials. This dirt and gravel forest service road provides a shortcut from the Dolly Copp Campground off Rt 16 to the Randolph East trailhead off Rt 2.
Pinkham B is a pretty rough road, so take your time driving on it.
I arrived at the Pine Link Trailhead at 7: Winds at the summit were forecast to be mph with stratus clouds, so acceptable conditions for an above-treeline hike.
People who are struck by lightning are never quite the same afterwards. Moss covered Pink Link Trail At 2. I soon popped out above treeline and followed the white-topped cairns to the Watson Path, which leads to the summit.
It is very hard to follow, since it runs over talus boulders to the summit. I had to carefully locate the cairns and follow them to the top of Madison. Summit Cairn on Mt Madison — Mt Adams looms nearby, the next peak on the ridge Once at the top, I rested at the summit, sheltering behind a large cairn to get out of the wind.
But the going on the Parapet Trail was pretty rough and I was forced to gingerly pick my way through a maze of boulders, all the while glancing down into the maw of Madison Gulf. The trail entered krumholz dwarf sized trees and began to moderate, still concentration was required maintain a constant pace.
I sipped my last water as I passed the trailhead to the Madison Gulf Trail, which drops 2.
Above treeline trails are mostly boulders with cairns marking the trail. The Madison Hut and water were just 0. I wondered if the kitchen would be selling snacks to passing hikers, a welcome custom that I like to indulge in when I visit the hut.
Madison Gulf below The Parapet Indeed they were. There were free leftover eggs and oatmeal, along with cinnamon cookies and walnut browies. But I spied a plate of leftover cinnamon buns and chose the largest one for a snack, dropping two bucks into the kitty in thanks.
I quaffed a few cups of cold lemonade, also for sale, and refilled my water bottles, eager to get below treeline again. From there, I headed to my campsite for a handheld shower and a cold brew before dinner and bed.
Recommended Guidebooks and Maps:The rocky summit cone of Mt Madison. For this trip, I hiked up to the top of Mt Madison (′) before dropping down a few hundred feet and walking around its perimeter, following two talus-choked trails that loop around the summit cone.
Little Miami Scenic Trail extends 78 miles through Clark County. View our itinerary on TrailLink to experience the best the trail has to offer.
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Isn’t it interesting how we crave it in the winter? How we yearn for the smell of chimney smoke in frigid air, the warming sip of steamed milk, and the sparkle of stars in a dark night sky?
Cairns on the Summit of Madison. Mt Adams and Mt Jefferson beyond.
The views on top of Mount Madison are equally grand, though the peak can be quite windy at the summit. Mt Adams looms due west, separated by a short col containing a mountain tarn called Star Lake. Beyond Adams is Mt Jefferson, the second highest peak in the White .
Great Hike, We hiked up Airline to Shortline including the Subway and returned on the Valley Way. The Subway was a lot of fun with plenty of bouldering in the area. there was a lot of foot traffic at the summit for a Friday and a few dogs with very soar paws (yikes).