Ridge of the Caps and the Castellated Ridge

Date of Hike: 10/26/12
Caps Ridge Trail: 2.5 miles
Castle Trail: 1.5 miles
The Link: 1.6 miles
Caps Ridge Trail: 1.1 miles
Total Miles: 6.8 miles
2,850 feet elevation gain

Trip Report:
- With excellent weather forecasted Alton and I headed up to the Presidential Range for her first hike ever on the Caps Ridge and Castle Trail.  We lucked out with warm weather and were able to hike in short sleeves for the whole hike and had clear skies with excellent views above treeline.
- The Caps Ridge Trail is a great trail, it starts out at 3,000 feet and after just a little over a mile you are hiking above treeline and approaching the first 'Cap.'
- I think I was more excited than her to be taking her up the Caps Ridge Trail on such a perfect fall day as we made our way over the three caps, the second one being the most prominent and fun.
- After the third cap, the trail heads by The Cornice and makes it way up the summit cone on the west side of Mount Jefferson.
- We spent a good fifteen minutes on the summit relaxing, enjoying the views, and fueling up before descending the Castle Trail.
- The unseasonably warm weather meant there was no ice but there was condensation all over the rocks making the descent a little tedious.  The Castle Trail is a beautiful trail with unlimited views, however, the boulder field from the summit through the Castles has some of the worst footing around.  The rocks come in all shapes and sizes and are pretty jagged and every they move around making the descent slow going if you're not good at 'rock hopping.'
- We made it over the the castles and back down below treeline where we hooked onto The Link.  Now going into the hike I made sure not to tell Alton about The Link, all I told her was that it resembled an enchanted forest, I left out the part that it was one of the roughest sections of trail anywhere and that we lost my mom there in October of 1991 on a day much like this one!
- It was just as I remembered it...roots, holes, rocks, holes, moss, holes, and some dead trees.  Alton was not pleased and had a moment which included maybe one or two dozen curse words but after about forty-five minutes we were back on the Caps Ridge Trail and cruised down to the trailhead and enjoyed the ride south leaving the mountains happy of being so lucky to hike in late October in such great weather.

 Glacial Meltwater Potholes
 Brenton Woods
 Jefferson Notch
 Alton heading up the first cap
 Alton scrambling up the second cap
 Alton on the second cap
 Alton on the Caps Ridge Trail
 Caps Ridge Trail
 The Caps Ridge Trail above the caps
Mount Washington
 Mount Washington Valley
 Upper part of the Caps Ridge Trail
 Mount Jefferson Summit Area
 Mount Clay, Washington, and Monroe
Mount Adams 
 Puffy Clouds above Mount Washington
 Mount Washington
 Castle Trail
 Descending the Castle Trail
 Alton navigating the boulders on the Castle Trail
 Awesome footing on the Castle Trail!
 A well placed cairn
 Dropping down to the Castellated Ridge
 Alton on the Castle Trail
 Making her way through another boulder field
 The Castellated Ridge
 Alton making her way to the Castles
 Castle Ravine
 Castle Ravine
 The Castellated Ridge
 The first Castle
 Alton below the first Castle
 Alton making her way through the Castellated Ridge
 Mount Jefferson Summit Mass
 The Castellated Ridge
 Kilkenny Ridge
 Slides of Castle Ravine
Alton carefully making her way down below treeline on the Castle Trail 
Alton carefully making her way down below treeline on the Castle Trail 
 Alton carefully making her way down below treeline on the Castle Trail
 Alton carefully making her way down below treeline on the Castle Trail
 Alton carefully making her way down below treeline on the Castle Trail
 One of my favorite signs
 The Link
 Looking up a slide on The Link
 Looking down a slide on The Link
 The 'Enchanted Forest'
The Link 
 The Link


  1. Awesome! We were on Castle Ravine & Ridge the day before you. What a spectacular place. Loved your pics; we got a few similar ones. :)

    1. sweet, it sure was an awesome day out there!

  2. Thunder storm forced me to use "The Link" this weekend (6/2/2013) between Castle Trail and Caps Ridge Trail... I agree with you... Worst trail I have ever been on in the Whites, in spite of almost no change in elevation over a mile and a half of its length.... Not a safe inch on it... Never thought I was going to get out of there.... Never going back on it either.

    1. Ah yes, the Link. It looks like an enchanted forest but there is nothing enchanting about it! Glad you made it out of there!!