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Hiking Mount Madison – NH’s Presidential Traverse


Article Categories: Hiking

Mount Madison sits at 5,367 feet (1,636 meters), making it the 5th highest peak in New Hampshire. It is the northern most mountain in the presidential traverse, and has various route options for summiting. The symmetrical rock covered and pointy peak of Madison stands out to many, making it a favorite among hikers. Mount Adams rises about 400 feet above to the southwest.

Height: 5,367 feet (1,636 meters)

Distance: 7.6 Miles

Duration: 4-6 hours

Elevation Gain: 4,050 Feet

Difficulty: Difficult

Trail Map

Mount Madison Trail Map


Valley Way (Osgood Trail) -8.6 miles round trip – Elevation Gain: 4,100 feet (Teal)

Trailhead is located at the Appalachia Trailhead. This is often combined with Watson path to make for a Madison loop. This trail takes hikers past the Madison Spring Hut.

Valley Way, Watson Path -7.8 miles round trip – Elevation Gain: 4,050 feet (Yellow)

Trailhead is located at the Appalachia Trailhead. This is probably one of the shortest routes up Mount Madison, and is a perfect loop combonation with the Osgood/Valley Way trail down. The last 1.5 miles features heavy elevation gain.

Pine Link Trail – 7.6 miles round trip – Elevation Gain: 4,150 feet (Pink)

The trailhead is located on Dolly Copp Road. This trail features some views along the way, but is less common than Watson Path or Valley Way trail.


Appalachia Trailhead – Valley Way Trail

Pine Link Trail on Dolly Copp Road:

Trail Conditions

All of the trail options from the Appalachia Trailhead are well traveled, nicely marked, and covered in by the surround forest. About 1 mile from summit, hikers become exposed above treeline. The trail turns into large boulders making hiking more difficult. You are also exposed to the elements, so high winds, and rainy days, hikers need to be extremely cautions.

Winter Hiking

Mount Madison is stunning in the winter. It should not be taken lightly. Just like the rest of the presidentials, if the weather turns, hikers should turn around. The exposed summits experience extreme weathers, and the right equipment is necessary.

Weather Forecast

Gorham, NH

This Afternoon
Sunny, with a high near 44. Northwest wind around 30 mph, with gusts as high as 40 mph.

Mostly clear, with a low around 33. Northwest wind 20 to 30 mph, with gusts as high as 40 mph.

Mostly sunny, with a high near 54. Northwest wind 5 to 20 mph.

Sunday Night
Mostly cloudy, with a low around 46. Southwest wind 10 to 20 mph, with gusts as high as 30 mph.

A chance of rain showers after 8am. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 58. Southwest wind 15 to 20 mph. Chance of precipitation is 30%.

Monday Night
A slight chance of rain showers before 8pm. Partly cloudy, with a low around 54.

Mostly sunny, with a high near 71.


Mount Madison Summit

Picture by @laxfreak584

Trail Near Mount Madison Summit

Picture by @laxfreak584

Max DesMarais

Max DesMarais

Max DesMarais is the founder of hikingandfishing.com. He has a passion for the outdoors and making outdoor education and adventure more accessible. Max is a published author for various outdoor adventure, travel, and marketing websites. He is an experienced hiker, backpacker, fly fisherman, backcountry skier, 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. Max grew up hiking all around New Hampshire and New England. He became obsessed with the New Hampshire mountains, and the NH 48, where he guided hikes and trail runs in the White Mountains. Since moving out west, Max has continued climbed all of the Colorado 14ers, is always testing gear, learning skills, gaining experience, and building his endurance for outdoor sports. You can read more about his experience here: hikingandfishing/about

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