"The Adams Family"

Date of Hike: 7/17/10

Airline / Shortline / King Ravine Trail: 4.6 miles
JQ Adams Summit: .4 miles
Sam Adams and Adams V: 1.5 miles
Lowe's Path: 1.2 miles
Gray Knob / Spur Trail: 1.4 miles
Amphibranch / The Link: 2.6 miles
Total Miles: 11.7 miles (5,000 elevation gain)

Trip Report:
- The RMC (Randolph Mountaineering Club) has carved a ridiculous amount of trails from the west that head deep into the ravines and ridges of Mount Adams and Mount Jefferson.  On Saturday I headed deep into the King Ravine to hike one of the most spectacular and wild trails in the White Mountains.
- My goal for the day was to hike up the King Ravine Trail and then summit Mount Adams and its four sub-peaks (JQ Adams, Sam Adams, Adams IV, Adams V).
- On trail at 7:45am, Mount Adams and all sub-peaks 10:30am - 12:15pm, finished 2:45pm, temps hot and humid below treeline, in the high 50's with 30-45mph winds above 5,000 feet, very hazy views.
- For this hike the fun really started at Mossy Fall on the King Ravine Trail, from here you ascend 2,000 feet in about 1.3 miles.
- The first highlight is when you come to a fork in the trail where you have the option to hike the main and easier path "Elevated" or the alternate "Subway." The Subway leads down into, under, over, and through some pretty huge boulders. (Click here for video)
- The Subway rejoins the trailer proper and then comes to another fork in the trail, where you have the option to stay the course or veer right into the "Ice Caves." The ice caves are a series of boulder caves similar to the Subway but with more tight, tougher, and underground spots. (Click here for video...not 100% in focus, camera lense missing and trail was tough so lots of bouncing around!)
- The ice caves usually maintain ice in them year round and in a couple of places has the feel of walking through a storage freezer. In two places ice was still remaining which is amazing considering the heat wave of the summer of 2010.
- Once past the ice caves the real hiking starts and over the next 0.5 miles the trail ascends 1,100 feet up boulders, boulders, and more boulders until you pass through the "Gateway" between two huge crags before gaining the ridge. One of them is an extreme steep smooth rock wall rising to the right of the trail and to the left of the trail high above are outcropping rock ledges below the Airline.
- I was pretty exhausted when I finally made it to the Airline, it had been awhile since I had enjoyed a trail that much as well as being wiped out that much.
- From here the hiking was very easy, first I branched off the Airline and rock-hopped over the summit of JQ Adams, where there are some killer close up views of Mount Madison. Then I reconnected with the Airline up to the Mount Adams main summit and then down to Thunderstorm Junction. From here I ventured off the trail to Mount Sam Adams and instead of hooking back up with the Gulfside Trail I hiked along the ridge above it until I found the Storm Lake, which is a small body of water hidden along the ridge.
- From here I dropped down off the ridge crossed the Gulfside Trail up to Adams "V" peak. I relaxed here for a while with the Great Gulf and Mount Washington looming in front of me and then headed back to Thunderstorm Junction on the Gulfside Trail where I hooked onto Lowe's Path and up and over Adams "IV" peak.
- The hike back to the car went pretty quickly, I jumped onto the Gray Knob Trail and checked out Gray Knob and Crag Camp huts. Crag Camp is perched high above the King Ravine and has magnificent views into the ravine and all the way over to Mount Madison.
- This hike beat me up more than I thought it would, I find the approaches to Mount Adams much more strenuous than Mount Washington (with the exception of Huntington Ravine) as well as the summit cone around Adams with rougher smaller pointier boulders which do a number on the boots...With that said it felt great after two weeks away to be back hiking in the White Mountains!

Pictures: Click here for all pictures

Mossy Fall on the King Ravine Trail
"The Subway"
Storm Lake
King Ravine
Spur Trail


  1. Dang Chris, you are a machine. The King Ravine nearly killed me first time I tried it. Good job!

  2. Hey Dan...King Ravine is now one of my most favorite trails around, can't wait to do it again!!!!

  3. I did the King Ravine many years ago ...10? or so when I was in my 40's. It was the hardest trail I've ever tried, but so worth it...more than any other hike in the White Mtns, this trail has lived on in my memories...

    While there, I was hiking with an elderly couple (in their 70's) who eventually passed me on their way to the summit...

    Someday I want to go back and do it again. Thanks for a great pictoral memory!


  4. Hi Kirsty, glad you liked the pictures. It is probably my most favorite trail in the White Mountains, it's a magical place, fun, and steep! I can't wait to get back and hike it again once the snow melts.

    Hope you are able to get back to the King Ravine and have a great hike!