Hiking The Wildcats – Wildcat Mountain, Wildcat D & Everything In Between

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Article Categories: Hiking
Article Tags: Day Hikes | Hiking | NE 67 | New Hampshire

The Wildcat Ridge contains gorgeous mountains in Pinkham Notch, extending to Carter Notch about 5 miles away. The Ridge contains Wildcat Mountain (A Peak – 4,000 footer), Wildcat B, Wildcat C, and Wildcat D (4,000 footer). Hiking along the ridge you will find incredible views of Mount Washington, views into Carter Notch, and go right through one of New Hampshire’s Iconic ski areas. (Hiking is a bit more rewarding than the Gondola).

 

WILDCAT MOUNTAIN (WILDCAT A)

Elevation 4,422 feet (1,348 m)
Distance 8.6 miles
Elevation Gain 2,950 feet
Duration 3-5 hours
Difficulty Strenuous

WILDCAT D

Elevation 4,062 feet (1,238 m)
Distance 4.4 miles
Elevation Gain 2,450 feet
Duration 3-5 hours
Difficulty Strenuous

WILDCAT RIDGE

Elevation 4,062 feet (1,238 m)
Distance 8.4 miles
Elevation Gain 3,850 feet
Duration 4-7 hours
Difficulty Strenuous

 

Trail Map

Wildcat Mountains Trail Map

 

Trails

 

Wildcat Ridge Trail

The Wildcat Ridge Trail begins on NH 16 at the Glen Ellis Falls parking area (directions below). This trail steeply ascends to Wildcat D. You will immediately cross the Ellis River, which can be difficult to cross during high water. If water is too high to cross, hikers can park at Pinkham Notch Visitors center, and follow the Lost Pond Trail towards Wildcat D.

D peak Only | 4.4 Miles | 2,450 feet elevation gain

All Peaks | 8.4 Miles | 3,850 feet elevation gain

 

Nineteen-Mile Brook Trail

The nineteen-mile brook trail also starts on NH 16. There is a parking lot for this trailhead on the east side of 16. This trail follows a brook up to Carter Notch with relatively gradual elevation gain. At Carter Notch you will find the Carter Notch AMC Hut and Carter lake. You will see Carter Dome rise to the North, and Wildcat A rise to the south. Once you reach the lake, the trail gets very steep on the ascent up to Wildcat A.

A Peak Only | 8.6 Miles | 2,950 feet elevation gain

All Peaks | 12.6 miles | 4,450 feet elevation gain

 

Other Approaches

Hikers can also choose to ascend the Wildcats from Jackson, NH on Carter Notch Rd. This is the longer trip of 10.4 miles (Just Wildcat A), or 14.4 miles with all peaks. This trail is longer, but starts at a higher elevation.

 

Views

There are many great viewpoints that stare back into Pinkham Notch, Mount Washington and Tuckerman Ravine while ascending the Wildcat Ridge Trail. Wildcat D has a viewing platform with outstanding views. On Wildcat Mountain, hikers also get fantastic views of Carter Notch, Carter Dome, and the Carter-Moriah Range. Ascending the Nineteen-Mile Brook trail gives hikers great views of the brook during the ascend.

 

 

Hiking in Winter

The Wildcat Ridge Trail starting at Glenn Ellis falls isn’t the recommended winter path due to very steep trails and ledges that can be dangerous. The nineteen mile brook trail is far more gradual. Hikers should still be cautious here as the trail gets very steep once in Carter Notch and beginning the ascent to Wildcat A where the slide trail can be ice and a bit difficult. Crampons are essential either way. Many hikes choose to ascend via ski trails in the winter, but be cautious of skiers. Wildcat Mountain allows hikers to hike up.

 

Hiking Up The Wildcat Ski Trails

The designated uphill route is Stray Cat to Middle Polecat to Catnap to Upper Polecat. Uphill access is permitted before and after operating hours (before 8:30am – after 4pm). Dogs are not allowed for uphill access on the ski trails.

You can read about this here: https://www.skiwildcat.com/the-mountain/about-the-mountain/mountain-info.aspx

 

Directions

To Wildcat Ridge Trailhead (Glen Ellis Falls Parking Lot)

To Nineteen-Mile Brook Trailhead

Weather Forecast

Gorham, NH

Overnight
Scattered snow showers. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 19. Wind chill values as low as -3. Northwest wind around 45 mph, with gusts as high as 65 mph. Chance of precipitation is 30%. Little or no snow accumulation expected.

Saturday
Isolated snow showers before 7am. Sunny, with a high near 36. Wind chill values as low as -2. Northwest wind 30 to 45 mph, with gusts as high as 65 mph. Chance of precipitation is 20%. Little or no snow accumulation expected.

Saturday Night
Mostly clear, with a low around 27. Northwest wind 20 to 30 mph, with gusts as high as 40 mph.

Sunday
Rain after 1pm. Partly sunny, with a high near 40. West wind 5 to 20 mph. Chance of precipitation is 80%.

Sunday Night
Rain before 1am, then a chance of rain and snow. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 30. West wind 10 to 20 mph, with gusts as high as 30 mph. Chance of precipitation is 100%. New snow accumulation of less than half an inch possible.

Monday
A chance of rain and snow before 7am, then a chance of snow showers. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 34. Chance of precipitation is 40%. New snow accumulation of less than one inch possible.

Monday Night
A slight chance of snow showers before 7pm. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 18. Little or no snow accumulation expected.

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