Hiking Trail Conditions Report
Peaks Mt. Jefferson, NH
Trails: Castle Trail, Israel Ridge Path, Castle Ravine Trail, The Cornice, Randolph Path, Edmands Col Cutoff, Six Husbands Trail, Jefferson Loop, Caps Ridge Trail
Date of Hike
Date of Hike: Saturday, October 9, 2021
Parking/Access Road Notes
Parking/Access Road Notes: Parked at Bowman at 7am. A few other cars there then. Room for between a half dozen and a dozen regularly parked cars there before you'd have to get creative with your parking. The lot seemed to just reach that point during the day based upon how it looked when we returned around 6:30pm.  
Surface Conditions
Surface Conditions: Dry Trail, Wet Trail, Wet/Slippery Rock, Mud - Minor/Avoidable, Mud - Significant, Leaves - Significant/Slippery 
Recommended Equipment
Recommended Equipment:  
Water Crossing Notes
Water Crossing Notes: The water crossings were much more difficult than I thought they'd be as I didn't remember them as difficult when I first did these trails...then again that was years ago and I didn't remember the trails well. We didn't have to wade but rock hopping was quite difficult. Definitely glad that I wore my waterproof boots instead of my trail runners as we stepped on rocks that we were submerged under at least a couple inches of water. I would say that water levels were moderate/average at the time we did this hike. Wouldn't want to be trying to do these when water is high. Some of the water crossings could easily be avoided by a short bushwhack along the brook but not all of them.  
Trail Maintenance Notes
Trail Maintenance Notes: I don't recall if these trails are blazed or not but if they are, I believe they're blazed in yellow (Castle, Castle Ravine, and Israel Ridge) although there are some old orange/red blazes/arrows at times above tree line, namely on Castle Ravine Trail. The trails are usually marked with cairns above tree line. These trails are lesser travelled (more so Castle Ravine) but are not very hard to follow. A few "ambiguous" places perhaps as to which path to take above tree line but they all lead to the same place. There was at least one blowdown somewhere but I don't recall precisely where. Likely many more too. Trails were in decent shape though. The last sectgion of scrub that the 6 Husbands Trail goes through is overgrow and could be trimmed way back.  
Dog-Related Notes
Dog-Related Notes: These trails may be too steep/rugged/scrambly for many dogs and most any dog would need paw protection on the jagged rocks of the northern presidentials.  
Bugs: None 
Lost and Found
Lost and Found: Oh, you know me, I probably lost something 
Comments: My 7th 4000 footer of the month out of 24 needed for my October grid. A fantastic hike with better than anticipated weather (earlier in the week the forecast wasn't looking so hot) and great company as I got to accompany an old redlining friend as she completed the northern presi tab :)

We made our way east a short distance on the Presidential Range Rail Trail to come to the start of Castle Trail. We made our way up a short way before I realized I'd forgotten something in the car and went back to retrieve it. Took me a while to catch up with my friend, only coming in sight of her as we neared the jct with Israel Ridge Path. Unfortunately, she took this left on Israel Ridge whereas I continued straight thinking Castle Ravine Trail diverged directly from Castle Trail as opposed to Israel Ridge Path...oops. Took me more than 1/4mi to realize my mistake. Pretty bad. Ran back down the trail, and boogied up Israel Ridge Path finally catching up to my friend as she was waiting for me at the jct with Castle Ravine Trail on Israel Ridge Path. So don't make that same blunder I did...

The rest of the hike went smoothly. Made decent time on the flatter sections at the beginning of the day before slowing down as we came to the ravine. Although it wasn't steep at first we slowed way down due to all of the tricky footing: lots of large, mossy, slick boulders. After taking a break shortly before coming to the headwall, I had to put gloves on. From here to the top of the headwall of course took forever. At least the boulders were dry above treeline. Great views. Took a long break once we reached the top of the headwall and chatted with some folk that came up behind us which was nice. Made our way around the summit cone along Edmands Col Cutoff for my friends redline. Took about 30min to go 0.5mi so a 1mph pace along that trail. Mostly contours but very rough footing though not as bad as Parapet in my opinion as it generally sticks abve the trees. Then made our way to the summit of Jefferson along 6 Husbands Trail. Steep but no scrambling along this section. Where it dips back into the scrub for the last time, the krumholtz is quite thick and could be trimmed back. When we reached the summit, there were few people there due to temps, most were just below it taking a break. Up until this point, the day had felt quite warm. The change in temp was likely due to the that clouds were coming in and just beginning to obscure our views on the summit. Heading down Castle at first felt rather cold as well and the gloves came back for a time. Rocky but decent going at first, until you hit the Castles and then you've got some scrambling thrown in. I think the worst scrambling was coming down after the last Castles though. The scrambles were much more difficult than I remember and it took longer than anticipated. To be honest, I wouldn't be too thrilled to descend this trail again. Once done with the scrambling though (roughly where The Link crosses the trail), the trail becomes quite nice for a long ways with much better footing and an easy-moderate grade. The grade increases again around the hardwoods for a time.  
Name: Liam Cooney 
Date Submitted
Date Submitted: 2021-10-19 
Link: http:// 
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