Madison through Isolation Loop

Date of Hike: 5/19/12

Old Jackson Rd 1.9 
Madison Gulf 2.1
Great Gulf 0.1
Osgood Cutoff / Trail 3.6
Gulfside 1.0
Lowe's Path 0.6
Gulfside 1.4
Jefferson Loop 0.7
Gulfside 0.7
Clay Loop 1.2
Gulfside 1.1
Crawford Path 0.6
Davis Path 7.5
Glen Boulder 2.8
Direttissima 1.0
Total Miles 26.3
Elevation Gain
 Around 9,500 feet

Trip Report:
- I had not been up to Mount Madison's summit since last August and with terrific weather forecast I decided to high tail it up to the northern most mountain in the presidential range, then head south and treat myself to awesome views while hiking over to Mount Washington, followed by a walk along the picturesque Davis Path before punishing myself with a hike over to 'Isolation Nation' before rewarding myself once again with a trek to see my buddy Glen, as in the Glen Boulder!
- I got on the trail early and was in a tshirt right from the start, it was going to be a hot one and within a mile I was drenched, not in sweat or dew from the pines, no I was drenched in cobwebs, I could have spun a web around the world with the webs that stuck to me.
- The first six miles was in the woods so I burned up the trail to get to treeline ASAP.  The Osgood Ridge slowly curves up and around to the summit of Mount Madison.  It is exposed to some of the harshest wind conditions in the White Mountains but on this day it was a walk in the park and the views were to die for.
- When I reached the summit I finally saw some other hikers, from here until reaching the Boot Spur I would see roughly around 75 hikers taking advantage of the perfect weather.
- As I hiked to Washington by way of Adams, Jefferson, and Clay I was passed by an 'Uber' Poodle who was trail running with his owner, Adam.  They were doing basically same loop as me (click here for Adam's report and pics) (See I can't be that crazy, other hikers do wild and fun loops as well!)
- I last saw the Adam and his dog Cooper on the snow field below Jefferson, the poodle was rolling around in the snow and sliding down the snow field, then would get up and do it again!
- From here the hike over Mount Jefferson and down through Monticello Lawn was great and then later while descending Mount Clay I got lucky and caught the Cog Train slowly making its way down the tracks over Jacob's Ladder creating the perfect photo opportunity.
- Mount Washington was crowded but everyone was outside so I went inside to grab a table and eat some lunch and relax before heading to the middle of nowhere.
- The weather was getting really warm as I lost elevation and the crowds disappeared as I headed towards the Boot Spur. If you've never been on the Davis Path between the Lawn Cutoff and the Glen Boulder Trail junction it's a great place and a must hike on a nice weather day.
- Once dropping below treeline the hike over to Isolation went better than expected, I was in the shade which was a big relief as the sun above treeline was draining the energy from me. 
-The Davis Path is pretty rough through this stretch, muddy, roots, rocks, rotted bog bridge planks, you have to pay attention or you'll probably slip up and fall in some mud.
- Views from Isolation's summit were great, it's always cool to look back at were you came from and where you are going.  After relaxing, taking pictures, and dodging black flies it was time to book it back above treeline up to the Glen Boulder Trail.
- The Glen Boulder Trail is a pretty cool trail, above the 'Boulder' it doesn't see a lot of use and the views at the top of the trail into the Gulf of Slides are unique. The Trail below and up to Glen Boulder sees a lot of use, and there is usually a bunch of people making there way up to the boulder which is perched high above Pinkham Notch keeping lookout.
- After a long day of hiking I made it back to the car at Pinkham Notch Visitor's Center where I took a nice hot shower in the pack room before heading to Gorham to Mr. Pizza where I devoured a whole pizza before crashing in my tent to rest up for a Double Presi Traverse with a couple of friends the next day!

Pictures: Click here for all pictures

 West Branch Peabody River Bridge
 Osgood Ridge
 Osgood Trail
 Star Lake and Mount Madison
 View from Monticello Lawn
 Cog Railway and Mount Washington
 Cog and Mount Monroe
 Davis Path
Davis Path


  1. Nice to run into you Saturday. Funny how we took pictures in many of the same spots.

    1. Hi Adam!

      Looks like you can Cooper were having a blast, Nice report and pics that was an impressive trail run you guys did! I added a link to your report and pics in my report so people can check it out(hope you don't mind).

      See you on the trails


  2. Chris, you met our poodle before back in the winter of 2010. Awesome picture you posted on facebook. I can't get over the slope he was rolling around in.

    1. Hi Miriam, I had a feeling it was the same poodle, he sure was having a blast in the snow...and he is one impressive trail running dog!

  3. Hi Chris,
    It was nice meeting you on Mt Washington Saturday. Enjoyed your trail reports about this hike and your double traverse Sunday. Amazing!

    Hope to see you out there again soon.

    Mike (OriginalWoody)

    1. Hey Mike, great running into you! Did you make it over to the Caps Ridge, how was it?

    2. Hey Chris,

      I got tired and bailed at the Jewell Trail, but I still had a great day! I love it up there! Here's a link to the pictures I took

      Hope I see you out there again soon.


    3. Awesome Pictures Mike, Love the ones of the helicopter making the drops at the hut, that is an awesome site to see in person!