Mt. Jefferson, Presidential Range

Scenic ridges and some high White Mountain peaks abound on this great hike.
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Scenic ridges and some high White Mountain peaks abound on this great hike.

Starting at the highest trailhead in the White Mountains, this 6.6-mile loop bags the third-highest peak in the Northeast and takes in two of the most scenic ridges in the Presidentials-Ridge of the Caps and the Castellated Ridge. It's also the shortest route up a 5,000-footer. From the Jefferson Notch Road south From the Jefferson Notch Road south of US 2, ascend the Caps Ridge Trail; return via the Castle Trail and the Link.

drive time: Boston: 3 hours

guides:New England Hiking, by Michael Lanza ($20). AMC's map Presidential Range (800-262-4455; www.backpacker.com/mapstore; $8).

contact: White Mountain National Forest, (603) 528-8721; www.fs.fed.us/r9/white