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New Hampshire News

Experience Every Season in a Day in the White Mountains

An abrupt shift in the weather turns into the best kind of White Mountains experience.

Our hike in yesterday was spectacular, rolling up and over Mt. Jackson and reveling in views of the deep cut of Crawford Notch and the rising ridgeline of the southern Presidential Range. But, in true White Mountain fashion, those clear blue skies didn’t hold. What had been a calm evening devolved into a downpour and we woke up to drenched trails, thick fog, and the promise of summer ice further up the range. Thankfully, the tent platforms just beyond the Appalachian Mountain Club’s Mizpah Spring Hut (known as the Nauman Tentsite) offered us some shelter and kept us relatively dry, but the way back would be blustery to say the least. Hiking back over Jackson a few hours later, the contrast with yesterday was stark: We could barely see 100 feet down the trail, and wind howled through the trees and tugged at our heavy packs. Strangely, I felt my spirits lift as my rain jacket billowed. We had definitely seen both faces of the Whites this weekend, and that’s a trip rare enough it’s worth savoring.

Difficulty: 2/5

Overall: 3.5/5

Duration: 2 days

Turn-By-Turn From the Webster-Jackson Trailhead (just south of the AMC’s Highland Center on US 302)

  1. Head east, following signs for Mt. Jackson. 
  2. At mile 1.4, bear left toward Mt. Jackson. The trail to the right leads to Mt. Webster. 
  3. Summit Mt. Jackson at mile 2.7, just breaking treeline.
  4. Meet the Appalachian Trail at the summit and take it north, along the ridgeline. 
  5. Descend gradually to the saddle between Jackson and Pierce, finding the Mizpah Spring Hut and the side trail to the Nauman Tentsite (first-come, first-served, $10/night) at mile 4.3. Spend the night and retrace your steps back to the road in the morning, with optional side trips up Mt. Pierce and Mt. Webster.

Permit none; campsite is first-come, first-serve Contact Appalachian Mountain Club GPX here