Mt. Madison: Appalachia, Randolph East, and Pine Link Trailheads

Trail Overview

Primary trails for climbing Mt. Madison (5,366') in the White Mountain Presidential Range
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Trail Activity
Hiking Snowshoeing
Length
26.70 miles, Network
Difficulty
Strenuous
Towns
Gorham (NH), Low & Burbanks (NH), Randolph (NH)
Surface
Packed Earth/Dirt, Rock/Ledge
Pets
Permitted on leash
Fees
No
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Description

Mount Madison (5,366') is the northernmost peak and fourth highest summit in the iconic Presidential Range. The Randolph Mountain Club maintains an extensive network of trails on the northern slopes of the mountain, offering hikers a host of options for climbing the mountain, and continuing along the range to the south.

PLEASE NOTE: The trails up Mount Madison are strenuous, and weather on the exposed alpine summit can be harsh and unpredictable.

Valley Way Trail: Valley Way is one of the most popular routes up Mount Madison, providing a relatively gradual approach that's better protected from harsh weather above treeline. Additionally, Valley Way accesses both the Valley Way Tentsite and Madison Spring Hut, two overnight options for hikers doing multi-day trips. From the Appalachia Trailhead, Valley Way climbs gradually for the first 2 miles, winding upslope above Snyder Brook. Along the way, the trail passes numerous scenic waterfalls, including Salroc Fall, Tama Fall, and Salmacis Fall. After passing Salmacis Fall, the trail begins to climb more steeply. At 3.0 miles the spur for the Valley Way Tentsite is on the right. Past the tentsite, the trail climbs the final 0.4 miles to the saddle below Mount Madison and Mount Adams, where Madison Spring Hut awaits. Please note that the Hut is closed October-May. For hikers continuing toward the top of Mount Madison (5,366'), the Gulfside Trail / Appalachian Trail is a steep and exposed 0.4 miles of rock-hopping above treeline up to summit.

Pine Link Trail: Note: Access to the trailhead on Dolly Copp Rd / Pinkham B Road is closed in winter months. The Pine Link Trail climbs the east ridge of Mt. Madison covering 3.2 miles and 3,900' to the summit. From the Pine Mountain / Pine Link Trailhead, the Pine Link Trail climbs steadily 2.1 miles up to the Howker Ridge Trail. Continue 0.9 miles up the Howker Ridge Trail and climbing above treeline to the Gulfside Trail. Following the Gulfside Trail, the summit of Mt. Madison lies just 0.2 miles ahead.

Howker Ridge Trail: The Howker Ridge Trail climbs the beautiful Northeast shoulder of Mount Madison for 3.8 miles and 4,400' to the summit. It is rich with scenic waypoints and unusual natural features along the way. From the Randolph East Trailhead, the Howker Ridge Trail begins to climb quickly, passing Coosauk Fall and Hitchcock Fall. Upon gaining the ridge the trail traverses the four "Howks," a series of promontories that offer sweeping views from below treeline. In 2.0 miles the trail gains the First Howk, offering the first scenic viewpoint. Continuing up over the successive Howks, the trail finally gains the alpine zone and at 3.6 miles joins the Gulfside Trail / Appalachian Trail. From the junction, the summit of Mount Madison is just another 0.2 miles up the Gulfside Trail.

 

Other Information

Before you hike, know the hiker responsibility code and be prepared:

  • With knowledge and gear
  • To leave your plans
  • To stay together
  • To turn back
  • For emergencies
  • To share the hiker code with others.

Visit the hikeSafe website to learn more!

Trail Manager

These trails are managed by the White Mountains National Forest and maintained by the Randolph Mountain Club. For more information, contact:

Randolph Mountain Club

Randolph Mountain Club
P.O. Box 279
View website

White Mountain National Forest: Androscoggin Ranger District

White Mountain National Forest: Androscoggin Ranger District
300 Glen Road
Phone: (603) 466-2713 x 0
View website

Trail Tips

Travel on Durable Surfaces
Walk single file in the middle of the trail. Wear the right shoes and enjoy the mud – you're in the great outdoors!
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Trailhead Information

Appalachia Trailhead: From I-93 North, take Exit 35 for US-3 North after passing through Franconia Notch. Head north on US-3 10.5 miles to Twin Mountain, and continue north through town another 2 miles for NH-115 N. Take NH-115 N 9.5 miles to US-2, then turn right/east for Gorham. In 7.1 miles, the Appalachia Trailhead is on your right.

From Gorham, head west on US-2 for 6.7 miles, and the Appalachia Trailhead is on your left.

Randolph East Trailhead: From I-93 North, take Exit 35 for US-3 North after passing through Franconia Notch. Head north on US-3 10.5 miles to Twin Mountain, and continue north through town another 2 miles for NH-115 N. Take NH-115 N 9.5 miles to US-2, then turn right/east for Gorham. In 8.0 miles, turn right onto Dolly Copp Road / Pinkham B Road, and in 0.1 miles the Randolph East Trailhead will be on your right.

From Gorham, head west on US-2 for 6 miles, and turn left onto Dolly Copp Road / Pinkham B Road. In 0.1 miles the Randolph East Trailhead will be on your right.

Pine Mountain / Pine Link Trailhead: From I-93 North, take Exit 35 for US-3 North after passing through Franconia Notch. Head north on US-3 10.5 miles to Twin Mountain, and continue north through town another 2 miles for NH-115 N. Take NH-115 N 9.5 miles to US-2, then turn right/east for Gorham. In 8.0 miles, turn right onto Pinkham B Road/Dolly Copp Road, and in 2.5 miles the trailhead will be on your right at the height of land.

From Gorham, head south on NH-16 for 4.4 miles, and turn right onto Dolly Copp Road / Pinkham B Road. In 1.9 miles the Pine Mountain/Pine Link Trailhead will be on your left at the height of land.

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