The Presidential Traverse

New Hampshire, USA

The Presidential Traverse is arguably the most sought-after big hiking/mountaineering objective in the northeast. Also known for being one of the most challenging yet beautiful point-to-point hikes in the Northeast, it summits up to ten of New Hampshire’s 4,000-foot mountains—including the five tallest in New England—with the most notable being the iconic Mount Washington.

The Presidential Traverse covers the following peaks (from North to South):

  • Mt. Madison – 5,367′
  • Mt. Adams – 5,774′
  • Mt. Jefferson – 5,712′
  • Mt. Clay – 5,533′
  • Mt. Washington – 6,288′
  • Mt. Monroe – 5,384′
  • Mt. Franklin – 5,001′
  • Mt. Eisenhower – 4,780′
  • Mt. Pierce – 4,310′
  • Mt. Jackson 4,052’

An official Presidential Traverse begins at Mt. Madison and then to Mt. Adams. Then on to Mt. Jefferson and Mt. Washington. Continuing on to Mt. Monroe, Mt. Eisenhower, Mt. Pierce and finally Mt. Jackson. Presidential Traverses are usually hiked from north to south in order to get the greatest elevation gains over with early on. Besides being physically strenuous, bad weather is a constant threat and may include snow, lightning, hail, and whiteout conditions. Hikers normally climb the first peak of the traverse, Mt. Madison, via the Valley Way Trail, which is the ‘easiest’ ascent up to the Northern Presidential Ridge. This stretch is the toughest continuous climb of the day, gaining over 4,000 feet in 3.8 miles. After climbing Mt. Madison, hikers head south along the Gulf side Trail to Adams and Jefferson. These peaks border a deep valley called The Great Gulf which is bounded by Mt. Clay and Mt. Washington to the west and south. Passing Clay (and the popular Jewell Trail bail out route), climbers scale the Mt. Washington, the highest peak in the White Mountains which has a world-wide reputation for appallingly bad weather. This is caused in large part by the jet stream, which drops out of the atmosphere onto the top of the mountain, resulting in high winds and cloud, year-round. Leaving Mt. Washington, hikers descend by the Crawford Path, the oldest continuously maintained footpath in the United States, passing through a large boulder field to the Lake of the Clouds Hut, where water is also available. Mt. Monroe is just past the hut, with great views into deep Oakes Gulf and the Dry River Wilderness along its eastern flank. Once past Mt. Monroe, the miles fly by past Mt. Franklin, Mt. Eisenhower, Mt. Pierce and Mt. Jackson.

Signature Event:

Songs of Hope:

 Various artist performances live streamed during each of the 10 peaks.

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