Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Trail Report: Caps Ridge Trail to Mt. Jefferson

I love hiking in the Presidential Range in the White Mountains. This trip was a hike up to the top of Mt. Jefferson hiking up the Caps Ridge Trail. I had done this trail a few years back so wanted to relive some fond memories and make new ones. To find where the trail starts you will be driving on the Base Road heading to the Cog Station, about a mile before you will turn on Jefferson Notch Road and drive 1.4 miles until you reach an elevation of 3009ft. There will be a Huge sign that will tell you that you have reached your destination and there is parking. Once you had to pay to park but now its free.
The sign on the road to show you that you have arrived at parking

The old sign at the start of the trail. Mt Jefferson 2.4 miles
At the start of the trail its easy hiking. It was muddy in a few spots and sometimes the trail got narrow but it was clean. After hiking about a mile you will get to your first clearing at the Glacial Potholes. Its a nice view which we sat for a few moments and then continued along our journey. The next mile you travel through the Ridge of the Caps. This is when you will be almost climbing in some parts. The more we hiked/climbed up, the more windy and cold it got. You will be above tree line for the caps and the wind can be strong at times.

The caps as we past around and over them.

My friend who hiked ahead so I could show how steep some places where to hike and climb up
After the mile we reached another marker that read we had .4 miles to the top of Mt. Jefferson. The .4 miles are all boulders and rocks to the top. The wind was strong when we reached the top and when you looked over at Mt. Washington, you could see how fast the clouds where traveling. One minute you show the top of Mt. Washington, the next you didn't.

The sign to show you are almost to the top!

Now you see the top of Mt. Washington Observatory Station

A few minutes later... you don't see the top of Mt. Washington Observatory Station
Over all the hike was amazing. It took us a good six hours to hike up and down, while enjoying the amazing views. This can be a tough hike but great for those up for a challenge.
It's also a 4000 footer, making 5716'! Happy Hiking!

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