Hiking Trail Conditions Report
Peaks Mt. Madison, Mt. Adams, NH
Trails: Howker Ridge Trail, Osgood Trail, Star Lake Trail, Lowes Path, Gulfside, Air Line, Scar Trail, Valley Way, Randolph Path
Date of Hike
Date of Hike: Sunday, June 22, 2014
Parking/Access Road Notes
Parking/Access Road Notes: Fairly small dirt lot off main road (fits maybe 10 cars); Not a fee area; no facilities; Almost no one in this lot despite huge crowds at the major trail heads today (1 van when I arrived; 2 cars when I left). 
Surface Conditions
Surface Conditions: Dry Trail, Wet Trail, Standing/Running Water on Trail, Mud - Minor/Avoidable 
Recommended Equipment
Recommended Equipment:  
Water Crossing Notes
Water Crossing Notes: Only two actual river crossings on this 11.2 mile loop oddly enough. One about 3/4 mile up Howker Ridge was easy but the rocks to cross had rounded, dome shaped tops with some moss so a little tricker than it first appeared. Also on crossing on Randolph Path shortly after leaving Valley Way also quite easy. Various tiny brooks along way were either very low or dry. 
Trail Maintenance Notes
Trail Maintenance Notes: Howker Ridge trail had few blazes that were pretty faded. The first half mile or so (and last section of Randolph Path also had spots) could use a good brushing as well. There are signs indicating this section is on private property so that may explain why it hasn't been done. Other trails well blazed, with many new ones. No blowdowns! Looked like a lot of recent work on Howker Ridge and Scar Trail. Randolph Path had all of its drainage trenches recently cleaned. There is a ton of dead leaves on trail in this area. There is a section on Air Line trail between Scar junction and treeline that has logs used to traverse a wet area. The logs are completely disintegrated and useless but fortunately this area was dry. 
Dog-Related Notes
Dog-Related Notes: Saw many dogs on all of these trails. There are some sections of ledge here and there that might be a problem for some dogs and there is not much water along this route other than occasional standing/stagnant puddles. 
Bugs: Not too bad. An occasional mosquito first mile or so with a bite or two. Upper sections and above tree line had some buzzing flies, bees and some gnats that weren't biting. On Randolph Path the mosquitos were coming up an the gnats were busy in the parking lot. 
Lost and Found
Lost and Found: n/a 
Comments: Trails in excellent shape. Except for a short section leaving Madison Hut on Star Lake Trail, sections of Air Line below treeline and the very beginning and end of Scar Trail the trails were bone dry. There was some section of firm mud hiding on the leaves on Randolph Path heading back to lot. Quite a few small ledge scrambles on upper parts of Howker Ridge after the 2nd Howk, a few of which had a tricky hold or two. Could be more of an issue on a wet day. Rugged loop to take (4500'+ vertical ascent just reaching Madison and 5500'+ in 5.9 miles to Adams) but the views are spectacular and constant for at least 3/4 of the hike. I found the sections of Howker Ridge to be very interesting as well even in the trees. Great hike.  
Name: DayTrip 
Date Submitted
Date Submitted: 2014-06-23 
Link: https:// 
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