Ridge of the Caps and Back

Date of Hike: 8/10/14

Caps Ridge Trail: 2.5 miles  /  Jefferson Loop Trail: 0.3 miles  /  Gulfside Trail: 0.6 miles  /  Sphinx Trail: 1.1 miles  /  Great Gulf Trail: 1.1 miles  /  Wamsutta Trail: 1.7 miles  /  Alpine Garden Trail: 0.4 miles  /  Nelson Crag Trail: 0.9 miles  /  Crawford Path: 1.5 miles  /  Monroe Loop Trail: 0.7 miles  /  Crawford Path: 1.4 miles  /  Eisenhower Loop Trail: 0.8 miles  /  Edmands Path: 2.9 miles  /  Mount Clinton Road: 1.3 miles  /  Jefferson Notch Road: 3.4 miles
Total Miles: 20.5 (7,850 feet elevation gained)

Trip Report
- Decided to do a big loop hike in the Presidential Range with a side trip to the Great Gulf to do trail work on the Sphinx and head up the Wamsutta Trail.
- If you get lost on the Sphinx Trail after all the work I put in over the past two weeks I suggest you find a new hobby or stick to hiking Mount Monadnock!
- The Wamsutta Trail is a steep trail with pretty kick ass views down into the Great Gulf Wilderness.  There is a view of Jefferson and Clay that I had never seen before.  The trail has some minor scrambling in the woods then pops out on Chandler Ridge with terrific views.  The trail ends at the Auto Road, where the Alpine Garden Trail starts across the road.
- I hooked onto the Alpine Garden Trail for a short distance before heading up to the summit via the Nelson Crag Trail.  The summit was super busy and the pack room was roped off so I got out of there as quickly as possible.
- On the hike down to LOC (Lakes of the Clouds), I passed a guy who felt the need to tell me he's doing much better since his diarrhea passed.  Thanks for the info buddy!
- The hut was full of happy hikers coming in from all different directions. One person didn't believe what I was hiking and told me I'd be hiking in the dark and that's not a good idea.  It was very nice of him to tell me how to hike, I run into one or two of these types a year.  I was eating a yummy piece of corn bread at the time so I was too happy to care!  Side not, I finished at 5:30pm, well before dark!
- Next stop was the summit of Mount Monroe.  I picked up the pace from here on out because I knew a storm was coming and it wasn't a matter of if, it was a matter of when.
- On the summit I ran into a hiker who recognized me from my blog.  I'm terrible with remembering names but I think his name was Bill (if I'm wrong, I'm sorry not Bill!)  He was taking a friend on her first hike up Mount Monroe and Washington.  I hope Washington was less crowded when you got there!  Nice running into you.
- Between Monroe and Eisenhower the sun was out but it was also sprinkling from time to time.  It was a warm day so the rain drops felt great.
- At the summit of Eisenhower I was sad to see the big cairn was half destroyed again.  It was much bigger in June during the Presi Traverse with Kyle and Tony.
- From here I descended the Edmands Path and road walked back to my car.  The road walk wasn't too bad, my feet were only sore on the Mount Clinton Road part because it's paved.  The Jefferson Notch Road part, while steeper, is a dirt road so it was easier hiking.  About 100 yards from the trailhead a car with RI plates coming towards me stopped, and what do you know, it was my friend Dion!  He had just hiked Mount Jefferson and was heading back to RI.  Always great to see Dion!
- Back at my car a packed my gear, changed into clean clothes as a thunder and lightening storm started right as I drove down Jefferson Notch Road.  By the time I got to base road it was sunny where I was but it was black above the range!
 Route for the day!  Click here for more details
 Hiking up the Caps Ridge Trail
 Ascending the Caps, looking back down from the top of the Caps, the summit of Mount Jefferson, and hikers along the A.T.
 Glacial potholes and Monticello Lawn
 The Gulfside Trail
 Monticello Lawn
 Trail work on the Sphinx!
 Clay Brook Cascades
 More Cascades!
 The Irene Landslide area!
 The Sphinx Trail and the cascades along the Great Gulf Trail
 Triple Falls and the Wamsutta / Six Husbands Trail Junction
 The Wamsutta Trail, it's steep and rough!
 Views from the Wamsutta Trail.  The Auto Road, Mount Adams, Mount Jefferson
 Ascending toward the Auto Road on the Wamsutta Trail
 Wamsutta Trail ends at the Auto Road high above the Great Gulf Wilderness
 The cog making it's way up to the Castle in the Clouds
 Heading to the summit, which was a zoo!
 Descending Crawford Path and up the Monroe Loop Trail
 Hiking through the Southern Presidential Range
 Descending Edmands Path
 Hiking along Mount Clinton Road
Finishing up back at the Caps Ridge Trail at Jefferson Notch


  1. Nice little jaunt. Thanks for your efforts on the Sphinx Trail. I plan on hiking it next month and your work will make it a somewhat easier endeavor.

    1. Thanks, Jim! Enjoy the Sphinx Trail, it's such a cool little trail with picturesque cascades. Some cascades are easy to spot and along the trail. Others you can find by walking five to ten feet off trail into the brook.

  2. Hi Chris! You have a great memory: Bill it is. Thanks so much for stopping (unasked!) to take a couple of pictures of my finacee Jen and me on Monroe. Jen started the 48 a year ago and is set to finish this winter. I’ve greatly enjoyed your blog and your exceptional photos, and it was really nice to meet you briefly!

    1. Thanks, Bill! Great running into you and your fiancée Jen on Monroe. Hope you get some great hikes in the rest of the summer and good luck to Jen in her 48 finish this winter!

  3. Nice writeup and hike Chris! Cool views from Wamsutta trail too, never been on that one.

    1. Thanks, Jesse. I was very happy to finally hikethe Wamsutta, I think it would be more fun to descend!