Hike Tuckerman's Ravine Trail on Mt. Washington

Pinkham Notch - Search Nearby - Added by Shannon Kalahan

This White Mountain National Forest hike is 9 miles roundtrip to the Lakes of the Clouds hut. The summit is 8.2 RT. There is a family-friendly shorter option, where the first 2.4 miles of the trail are much more manageable. This hike offers waterfalls, lakes, and spectacular views (especially in the warmer months).

While this trail is open year round with winter hiking/skiing down the ravine walls, this entry will focus on hiking in the warmer months.

Your hike starts behind the Pinkham Notch AMC Center in Jackson, NH at an elevation of approximately 2050 ft. There is plenty of parking at the visitors center, as well as bathrooms and access to load up on food / water before you being.

The first 2.4 miles of the Tuckerman's Ravine Trail is relatively mild trip, making it a good section of trail for families or those people just looking for a relaxing hike in the woods. Within the first 10 minutes, you'll encounter a beautiful waterfall worthy of a photograph. There is a trail wall built up at the waterfall to keep visitors safe, as a tumble down to the base of the Crystal Cascade could be disastrous. From there, continue on to the Hermit Lake shelter at approximately 3875 ft. Here, you will find camping shelters (the only legal spot to camp on this side of the mountain), a ranger station, first aid, a lake and a nice view of what's to come.

From below, the ravine looks benign. As you get closer, you'll see a narrow, but well worn trail from the base of the ravine to the headwall. The trail isn't vertical in most places, containing several switchbacks to keep it manageable, but it can be slippery. There are multiple waterfalls running down the ravine walls and several sections where streams flow past or across the path.

As a word of caution, the Tuckerman's Ravine trail is both very narrow and very popular in the summer months. Be careful not to dislodge rocks that could crash onto the people below you and treat those slick sections seriously. Like most mountain hikes in New England, straying from the designated path is frowned upon as it can be dangerous and damaging to the delicate local flora.

Furthermore, Mt. Washington is home to the some of the world's worst weather and the trail becomes significantly more difficult when the skies turn foul.

Shortly after reaching the headwall, you will come to Tuckerman's Junction, where five trails come together. From here, you can choose to go to the summit, or go on to the Lakes of the Clouds hut. Both the hut and the summit complex offer bathrooms, running water and some food. You can also reserve a spot to stay in a bunk overnight in the AMC huts; however, they generally fill up quickly. Plan to book months in advance.

Either trail choice will bring you through rock fields with cairn trail markers. As I mentioned before, the weather on Mt. Washington is very fickle, and the summit spends a lot of time being socked in. Be very careful to stay on these cairn marked trails, especially in bad weather. Again, this is a matter of both protecting the ecosystem and keeping yourself safe.

On a clear day, Mt. Washington provides some of the most breath-taking views in New England. When you reach the summit, take a photograph next to the elevation marker at 6288 ft, and then find a place to rest while you take in the stunning 360 degree views of the surrounding peaks and valleys.

The hike to the summit can be done in one day, as long as you start your hike early so you can get off the mountain before it gets dark. However, in my experience, hiking out the same day doesn't leave you much of an opportunity to enjoy the mountain. If you can camp or get a space in the hut, the extra time is worth it. It makes the trip much more enjoyable.

Distance

9 Miles RT

Type

Out-and-Back

Activities

Rock Climbing, Camping, Photography, Skiing, Snowshoeing, Backpacking, Hiking

Bathrooms
Easy Parking
Family Friendly
Forest
Lake
Scenic
Waterfall
Wildlife

Nearby Lodging

Twin Mountain / Mt. Washington KOA

Carroll, New Hampshire

From $100/night

River's Edge Mountain Valley

Conway, New Hampshire

From $130/night

Topo Pino Mountain Oasis

Chatham, New Hampshire

From $100/night

We want to acknowledge and thank the past, present, and future generations of all Native Nations and Indigenous Peoples whose ancestral lands we travel, explore, and play on. Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Please explore responsibly!

Reviews

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Overall rating: 

Tuckerman Ravine Is A Great Intro Hike In The Area

I'm not a very experienced hiker, but I have aspirations to be. That being said, Tuckerman Ravine was an excellent starting point for a full day hike. With excellent weather, we had views for many miles the more we ascended Mt. Washington. The fresh air, challenging portions of the hike, and outstanding scenic overviews make for one of the best experiences in New Hampshire! This is a total bucket-list item, and so worth taking a nice day to journey up!

Don't miss out! By far the most memorable hike I've done around. One that proved challenging and rewarding yet really accessible. The viewpoints are incredible. Driving through New Hempshire to get there is already an journey in itself surrounded by the hilly landscape and the vernacular houses along the road. If I'd get back I would: - Pack lighter (carrying 15lb worth of camera gears never helps) - Bring poles (the way down through Tuckerman's ravine proved really challenging for my knees) - try to get there out of the touristic peaks as it tends to be quite crowded

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