Hiking Mount Isolation – Moose Infested Views of Mount Washington

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Article Categories: Hiking

Mount Isolation has earned its name for a reason. Nestled in the middle of the Dry River Wilderness, it truly is isolated from manmade things, as well as heavy foot traffic. The hike is difficult, but the views are gorgeous, the chances of seeing moose are high, and of course, it is just over 4,000 feet!

Height: 4,004 feet (1,220 Meters)

Distance: 12-19.6 miles (See Options Below)

Elevation Gain: 4,000-5,000 (See Options Below)

Duration: 7-10 hours

Difficulty: Very Strenuous

Trail Map

Mount Isolation Trail Map

Click Below Image for Full Map

Mount Isolation Trail Map - Full

Trails

Rocky Branch Trail – Isolation Trail – Davis Path | 14.6 Miles | 3,600 Feet Elevation Gain

The trailhead for this route is located just off of NH 16. This is the most common route to Isolation. Despite the long length, this option features a relatively gradual gain (except for the beginning of the hike). Isolation is very difficult for its size as it makes hikers gain and lose elevation no matter what path they take.

Glen Boulder Trail – Davis Path | 12 Miles | 5,050 Feet Elevation Gain

This in my opinion, is the best route to Isolation. Starting of Route 16 at the Glen Ellis Falls parking area, it ascends quickly above treeline to incredible views of Pinkham Notch, the Wildcats, the Carters, and the precariously placed Glen Boulder. This route features heavy elevation gain as you ascend to Boott Spur (above 5,000 feet) and descend back down, to then rise up again to the summit of Isolation. On top of the ridge here, you get incredible views into the Dry River Wilderness. It is the path from Boot Spur to Isolation in which you will find many moose tracks, and may end up coming across one (see embedded video). Be sure to check out Glen Ellis falls before you leave!

Davis Path | 19.6 Miles | 4,050 Feet Elevation Gain

Davis path begins at a large parking area off of US 302 a few miles south of Crawford Notch. This trail up the mountain features incredible views, lots of vertical gain and loss, and passes only .5 miles away from the gorgeous summit of Mount Crawford.

Summit Views

The views from the summit of Isolation are spectacular. A large rock face gives hikers clear and expansive views of Mount Washington, Boot Spur, Mount Monroe, and many other mountains.

Winter Hiking

Isolation is one of the more difficult winter hikes. The Glen Boulder trail is extremely steep, and hikers get exposed to high winds and snowdrifts from the ridge to Boott Spur. Davis Path and the Rocky Branch path are likely better options, but it is important for hikers to understand the difficulty of breaking trail during the winter time. It makes these already long trails, far longer. These trails being less traveled, it is often easy to lose trail, so it is only recommended in the winter by those that can navigate very well with map and compass.

Weather Forecast

Bartlett, NH

Overnight
Partly cloudy, with a low around 38. Northwest wind 20 to 25 mph.

Sunday
A chance of rain showers after 3pm. Partly sunny, with a high near 51. Southwest wind 10 to 15 mph. Chance of precipitation is 30%. New rainfall amounts less than a tenth of an inch possible.

Sunday Night
A chance of rain showers before 7pm, then showers and thunderstorms between 7pm and 1am, then a chance of rain showers and patchy fog. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 46. Southwest wind 10 to 20 mph. Chance of precipitation is 80%. New rainfall amounts between a quarter and half of an inch possible.

Monday
Rain showers likely and patchy fog before 2pm, then showers and thunderstorms. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 52. Southwest wind around 15 mph, with gusts as high as 25 mph. Chance of precipitation is 80%.

Monday Night
Showers and thunderstorms before 2am. Partly cloudy, with a low around 42. Southwest wind around 15 mph, with gusts as high as 25 mph. Chance of precipitation is 80%.

Tuesday
A chance of rain showers after 8am. Mostly sunny, with a high near 49. Chance of precipitation is 50%.

Tuesday Night
A chance of rain showers. Partly cloudy, with a low around 41. Chance of precipitation is 50%.

Pictures

Views of Wildcats from Boott Spur

Views of Wilcdats from Boott Spur

Views of Boott Spur

Views of Boott Spur

Mount Isolation Views

Mount Isolation Views

Glen Boulder

VIews of Glen Boulder

Max DesMarais
Max DesMarais

Max DesMarais is the founder of Hiking & Fishing. He has a passion for the outdoors and making outdoor education and adventure more accessible. Max is a published author for various outdoor and marketing websites. He is an experienced hiker, backpacker, fly fisherman, trail runner, and spends his free time in the outdoors. These adventures allow him to test gear, learn new skills, and experience new places so that he can educate others. You can read more about him here: hikingandfishing/about