A rewarded hike for all skill levels - check out the vast views, friendly wildlife, various streams, and the variety of forest.

The Jackson Webster trailhead is located on Crawford Notch Road a little ways down from the AMC Highland Center where they have bathrooms, food, a store, info, etc. There's a parking lot at the Center as well as a smaller lot right across from the trailhead. These lots often get filled up but you can easily park on the roadside with no problem!

The trail is fairly short but considering you're gaining elevation, it is pretty steep at times. However, it is a persistent back and forth between moderate and steep - which is personally how I prefer my hikes: bursts and breaks. Because of the dense woods you won't feel the wind for the majority of the hike. As you go up you'll be able to see the difference in forest as far as types of trees and denseness depending on the elevation.

Of course in the White Mountains, weather is constantly changing. Going in the winter you should be aware of temperatures, snow, and rain. On my hike it had warmed up a few days before, followed by some precipitation, and then was in the 20(F)s on the day of our hike. Because of this, there was a lot of ice! The parts that were solely snow were already very packed down from snowshoers so snowshoes were not needed. All of the ice is where the spikes came in handy - especially on the steep portions. So, spikes were worn the whole time up and down. The snow and ice had a huge positive though - all of the streams you would normally have to maneuver over, were frozen over. There was a thick layer of snow and ice that you can walk over with no worries, all the while you can hear the rushing water beneath your feet! This also made for some very interesting ice formations.

The path is very well marked with blue markers and practically impossible to get off track. With 1.2 miles to go you reach a split where you stay left for Jackson. Going right brings you to Webster. Doing this loop is common in order to hit two summits in one trip. With time constraints we stuck with just Jackson.

As you get nearer to the summit the wind becomes more prominent. The summit kind of sneaks up on you and all the sudden you emerge from the pines to open air! It's all above tree-line with small shrubs and bushes. There is a fantastic 360 view including the rest of the presidentials. So try to plan on a clear day! We had views one way, while the opposite was cloud cover. It was also extremely windy at the summit for us so we had every inch of skin covered and didn't stay too long. 

Climbing down from the summit there was a lot of ice on the rocks and both me and my partner actually slipped and fell and slid a little ways. So be careful! Shortly after that we ran into a Grey Jay on the trail. I had heard they were friendly birds so I held out a raisin in my hand and sure enough it came over and took it! We fed it for a little while awing at how cute it was.

The hike down flew by because with snow covering all of the rocks and roots that you usually have to look out for, you could speedily make your way down with the exception of slowing down for icy steep sections.

This is a great hike for any season and the views totally make it worth it!  

Pack List

  • Microspikes or Crampons
  • Hiking Poles
  • Water
  • Hiking snacks that do not freeze (the normal protein/granola bar will turn into a rock) - try GORP or breaking things into small pieces so you don't have to bite it
  • Layers!
  • Camera
  • Sunglasses/ski goggles for summit
  • Handwarmers/feetwarmers
  • Waterproof gloves/mittens
  • Face mask for summit
  • Snowshoes (if necessary)
Show More
RT Distance 4.5 Miles
Elevation Gain 2109 Feet
Activities Photography, Hiking
Skill Level Intermediate
Season Year Round
Trail Type Out-and-Back
Features
Bathrooms
Dog Friendly
Easy Parking
Family Friendly
Food Nearby
Forest
River
Scenic
Wildlife

Please respect the places you find on The Outbound Collective.

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures. Be aware of local regulations and don't damage these amazing places for the sake of a photograph. Learn More

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