"Steep-ing" it up the Six Husbands Trail to Mount Jefferson, Adams, and Madison

Date of Hike: 5/30/10

Great Gulf Trail: 4.5 miles
Six Husbands Trail: 2.3 miles
(Buttress Trail/ Abondoned Adams Slide Trail): .5 miles
Jefferson Loop Trail: .4 miles
Gulfside Trail: 1.4 miles
Lowe's Path/Isreal Ridge: .3 miles
Star Lake Trail: 1.0 miles
Osgood Trail: 3.8 miles
Great Gulf Trail: 1.8 miles
Total Miles: 16 miles (6,050 elevation gain)

Trip Report:
- The Six Husbands Trail is named in honor of the six successive husbands of Weetamoo, queen of the Pocasset Tribe who forced all her husbands to place old wooden ladders through the extremely steep and unnerving sections just below treeline on this trail...and one by one they all would fall off the side of the mountain so she'd have to re-marry! (I kid I kid, she pushed them off when they weren't looking!)
- On trail at 7:30am, finished at 5:15pm, temps below treeline in 60's, temps above treeline in 40's, very windy,  hazy/smokey from a Wild Fire in Ontario Canada, with high cloud coverage but good views.
- After hiking 30 plus miles the day before I was surprisingly not sore at all and made good time up the Great Gulf Trail to the Six Husband Trail junction were things got extremely interesting to say the least!
- The Six Husbands trail is rough and rugged and to add to the roughness were numerous blowdowns all along the trail that made for some slow going and a couple of gnarly falls on my A$$, stomach, and one upside down fall onto my shoulder when walking over a group of blowdowns that gave way cutting myself up pretty good...Wish I brought a chainsaw!
- Along the way the Buttress Trail diverges to the right and I took a little side trip on this trail until it took a sharp right across a large open boulder field.  Instead of taking a right I went strait up into the woods in search of the abandoned Adam Slide Trail, I hiked strait up a few hundred yards searching for any signs of an old trail that has been out-of-use since before 1970, it's extremely steep and totally overgrown with blowdowns everywhere but I found what I was looking for...an old red paint blaze on a rock signaling I was on the trail (Click here for pic)
- Back I went to the Six Husband Trail and forged through more blowdowns until the real fun began with huge boulders and steep sections that need ladders to get up the trail (Click here for pic).
- It was so much fun until the ladders stopped and I was left under an overhanging rock on a mostly wet ledge making things very dicey with a huge drop just five feet to my left!  The next 50 feet which went under then around and up this overhanging rock actually terrified me...Huntington Ravine style!
- I carefully pulled my way up and around with the majority of my weight and force in my upper body because of the wet rock surface making sure not to put much pressure on my boots because they kept slipping on the wet surfaces. Once past that 50 foot section I finally breathed normally again and knew the tough sections were behind me!
- From here I would be above treeline for the next 6 miles or so, the weather dropped and the wind was between 50-60 mph seemingly out of every direction except the east forcing me to put on my hat, gloves, and wind-breaker until coming off Jefferson's summit.  The views were pretty impressive and there were still three minor snow slopes I'd have to deal with (talus slope on the east side of Jefferson, a steep rock slope above Jefferson Ravine on the Gulfside which I avoided, and a fun section of snow on the Gulfside below a sub-peak of Adams.
- The hike down to Madison Springs Hut on the Star Lake Trail was steeper and more fun than I remembered while the hike to treeline on the Osgood Trail from Madison's summit was alot longer than I thought it would be and the wind was relentless!
- Below treeline was a struggle, not tough but all the trails in the Great Gulf Wilderness are in the middle of nowhere meaning there's a few long sections of not so thrilling walking in the woods...Nonetheless it was a really wild hike, the Six Husbands Trail is out of this world, searching for the abandoned Adams Slide Trail was a rush, and the views above treeline with high cloud cover were great!

Pictures: Click here for all pics

Ladder on the Six Husbands Trail
Mount Jefferson and Washington from Gulfside Trail
Star Lake and Mount Madison
Mount Madison and Adams


  1. Wow, wild trip report Chris!
    What's the situation on Madison? Snow? any ice left? We're looking at a hike up that way this weekend.

  2. Hey Dan and Meena,

    No snow or ice to worry about. I ran into people who cam up the Valley Way, Airline, Howker, and Daniel Webster Scout Trails so everyone is snow free or just has a few melting patches here and there.

    I went down the Osgood Trail and it was snow free the whole way

    It's summertime conditions on the trails from here on out!

    Happy Hiking!

  3. Haha. Yes. That one spot. Definitely a walk to remember. Beautiful views and a workout.

    I would only do this in good weather, and I don't think I'd have the nerve to do it going down.

    I will be doing it again!

    1. This is a trail I'll do every summer from now on, it's just so much fun and the added another ladder making it easier!

  4. If I want to get to six husbands trail, where do I park(the closest point by road) ? Information on how to get to the six husbands trail is very hard to find. Google maps shows gulfside trail but it doesn't show the mystical six husbands trail.

    Any help would be appreciated

    1. Hi Anonymous, to get to the Six Husbands Trail you park at the Great Gulf Trailhead off of Route 16 a few miles north of Wildcat Ski Area in Pinkham Notch. If you have any other questions feel free to email me at cdailey@hpearce.com


    2. Thank you Chris.