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Hiking Mount Madison – NH’s Presidential Traverse

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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

Trails

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.

Directions

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

Tonight
Partly cloudy, with a low around 5. Wind chill values as low as -18. West wind 20 to 35 mph, with gusts as high as 50 mph.

Wednesday
Sunny, with a high near 27. Wind chill values as low as -15. Southwest wind 20 to 25 mph.

Wednesday Night
Partly cloudy. Low around 7, with temperatures rising to around 15 overnight. Wind chill values as low as -1. Southwest wind 15 to 20 mph, with gusts as high as 30 mph.

Thursday
Mostly sunny, with a high near 27. Wind chill values as low as -6. West wind 10 to 20 mph, with gusts as high as 30 mph.

Thursday Night
A chance of snow after 7pm. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 17. Southwest wind 15 to 30 mph. Chance of precipitation is 40%. Little or no snow accumulation expected.

Friday
Snow. Cloudy, with a high near 26. Chance of precipitation is 80%. New snow accumulation of 2 to 4 inches possible.

Friday Night
Snow. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 0. Chance of precipitation is 80%. New snow accumulation of 1 to 3 inches possible.

Pictures

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, 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 his frequent adventures in the mountains, 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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