Breakfast with Presidents . . . Madison, Adams, & Jefferson

Date of Hike: 1/7/16

Valley Way: 3.6 miles  /  Osgood Trail: 0.9 miles  /  Star Lake Trail: 1.0 miles  /  Lowe's Path: 0.3 miles  /  Gulfside Trail: 1.4 miles  /  Jefferson Loop Trail:  0.7 miles  /  Gulfside Trail:  0.3 miles  /  Randolph Path: 2.9 miles  /  Amphibrach: 1.9 miles  /  The Link: 0.3 miles  /  Presidential Rail Trail: 0.4 miles
Total Miles: 13.4 (5,860 feet elevation gained)  Garmin Forerunner 910XT

Trip Report
- On Thursday I got up extra early and headed to Appalachia for 5AM to catch sunrise from the Presidential Range and finish hiking the January grid on three of the most magnificent peaks that the White Mountains has to offer, Mount Madison, Adams, and Jefferson.  In the winter these are very pesky mountains to hike because of brutally cold temperatures, low visibility, and damaging winds guarding the peaks more often than not.  However, since this is a winter that so far hasn't started yet, yielding extremely low snow levels, manageable winds, and above normal temperatures, I was able to hike in the wee hours of the morning with relative ease.
- How easy was today's hike, temperatures were in the high twenties, winds around 25 mph and falling, sunny, and no need for snowshoes.  Conditions like these in the winter I put in the category of 'stealing a peak.'
- The hike up in the dark made the Valley Way trail very enjoyable, it's not the most exciting trail since there are no views but with it being dark out it actually made it better than most of my other ascents or descents.  The wind was whipping above me as I ascended through the woods but never reached above thirty-five mph gusts while I was above treeline.  I made good time up Valley Way and caught twilight from Madison's summit cone and sunrise while heading up the Star Lake Trail.
- I only saw one other hiker while out on the trails hiking, an over-nighter who set up his tent a few hundred feet down trail from Thunderstorm Junction who must have enjoyed a relatively tame night out underneath millions of stars.
- Other than that I'll let the pictures do the talking as it was a fantastic way to finish off my January grid, (6 years, Mount Tom 1/15/10 - Mount Jefferson 1/7/16) and to grid out Madison, Adams, and Jefferson as well (my 27th, 32nd, and 39th time on these peaks), as you can see I really enjoy getting up to them!!

 Breaking above treeline looking north to Berlin

The crescent moon fades as I approach Madison Spring Hut

JQ Adams with one bright star shining in the twilight
Mount Hight, Carter Dome, and the Wildcats 

Mount Adams and Washington as seen from the Osgood Trail on Madison's summit cone

Madison Spring Hut, closed until May!

Osgood Trail sign with a nice alpine glow behind it

 Alpine glow over the Kilkenny Range

Next up is Mount Adams

 Frozen Star Lake and Madison's summit cone

Heading up the Star Lake Trail as the sun starts to overtake the shadows

Sunrise over Mount Hight and Carter Dome

 Some untouched snow to play in!

Summit of Mount Adams

Mount Jefferson and Washington

Next up, Mount Jefferson!

Heading towards Thunderstorm Junction

These signs are hard enough to read when not iced over, thankfully I know this stretch really well!

Beautiful morning for a hike in the Presidential Range

Nice lil' spot for a night out!

Looking back up to Mount Adams

Heading up Mount Jefferson

The sun shining bright as it rises from the horizon

View of Mount Clay, Washington, and Monroe from Mount Jefferson's summit

 Mount Carrigain, Hancock's, Osceola's, and Willey

Twin, Bond, Franconia Range, and Mount Mossilauke

Zoom in of Mount Mansfield, can you see the face??!!

Brenton Woods

The Great Gulf headwall and Mount Washington

Zoom in of Lakes of the Clouds Hut and Mount Monroe

Zoom in of Mount Lafayette and Lincoln

Heading back down from Mount Jefferson

Cabot, the Bulge, and the Horn

The steep snow field on Mount Jefferson...very easy so far this winter

Edmands Col and Mount Jefferson from Randolph Path before dropping below treeline

Randolph Path, this part was only tracked out by little critters!

Back into the woods and down, down, down!

Cold Brook crossing on the Amphibrach

Cold Brook bridge

Maple storage tank

Maple shack

The Presi Rail Trail

Signs spotted between Mount Madison and Jefferson

Signs Spotted on the descent back to the Jeep

Elevation profile

Route for the day, click here for details


  1. Wow, what awesome pictures ! You do truly get to see places some of us may never see (especially in winter). I learn things from all of your reports - Thanks for taking us along ! - Wendy

    1. Thanks, Wendy. I hope you guys get back up to the Whites soon!!

  2. did you need microspikes? or would good snow boots and trekking poles suffice?

    1. Boots and poles would be fine but there is a storm coming through over the next 48 hours so that will definitely change!

  3. Awesome report & great photos. We just did Adams, but it was a spectacular day. We used microspikes RT. We met a woman who was bare-booting; she said she also did these 3 peaks. Al & Linda

    1. Hi Al and Linda, glad you got to enjoy the day on Mount Adams! Sure was a fantastic day to get above treeline :)

  4. Loved the early morning pictures. I typically start early in order to finish before dark and enjoy the sunrise,

    1. Thanks, Marvin! Hope you catch some nice sunrises with alpine glow this winter :)

  5. Terrific report! And beautiful pics. I looked the Garmin info also. Brian

    1. Thanks, Brain. I had a perfect day for snapping pictures and the help of getting to use Whitney's camera made the pictures come out clearer than my iPhone. Glad you looked at the Garmin info, too, it's a pretty neat thing to check out. :)