We were fortunate to have sunny skies again for our last day in New Hampshire. Normal Winter temps in the 20s-30s returned as well, leaving us with a day to explore and hard packed snow to explore on. We decided to take it easier (for us, easy is allllll relative) and chose to hike from Pinkham Notch up to the base of Tuckerman Ravine.
- Hike Date – Monday, February 20 2017
- Distance – 6 miles
- Elevation – 4,500 feet
- Equipment – microspikes
- Planned Route – Tuckerman Ravine Trail, out and back – Click Here for a great overview of the trail route
The hike starts at the AMC Pinkham Notch Visitor’s Center / Joe Dodge Lodge, off of route 16. I was surprised that we were able to find a parking spot right away, as we were hitting the trail at around 10 am on a holiday. We popped into the visitor’s center to check the trail conditions and were on our way. We planned an out and back up the Tuckerman Ravine Trail. The trail is well traveled by skiers, hikers, and the snow cat so it was hard packed and easy footing. The cold temps left the snow surface firm, great conditions for microspikes.
The Tuckerman Ravine Trail up to Ho Jo’s is a great option if you are looking to do a day hike with some cool scenery but don’t have a whole lot of time. Not a lot of gear is needed, though having microspikes when the trail is hard packed is a must in my mind – I wouldn’t want to be slip-sliding back down the trail on the way back to the base. There are snowshoe rentals at the Visitor Center as well if the snow is softer and you are looking to try this out without having to buy your own. Another nice thing about this route is that it is VERY easy to follow. Stay on the Tuckerman Ravine Trail. That’s it. Pay attention and you can’t get lost. Really. If you plan to continue past HoJo’s in the winter (the caretaker cabin at the Hermit Lake Shelters) be sure to check the Mount Washington Avalanche Center reports and proceed with caution!
The hike up is not the most exciting, but it’s pretty and well traveled. It is about a 2.5 mile steady climb up to the hermit lake shelter and “HoJos”, the AMC facility there that serves as a caretaker cabin and base for mountain rescue. There is a large sun deck and trail/avalanche conditions are also posted here. It’s a great place to sit back and take in the views, as well as mingle with other hikers and the backcountry skiers prepping their ascent up the many ravine routes.
We followed the trail to the right past the cabin up to the base of Tuckerman Ravine. The snow was very deep, so we were on top of most of the trees/vegetation there. We were able to follow the tracks of hikers/skiers who had gone this way already, and though some of this was much less packed we were able to navigate it in our microspikes easily.
Standing at bowl of Tuckerman Ravine with the walls rising around you is IMPRESSIVE. Sure, it’s not the Rockies, or the Alps, or the Sierras, or blah, blah, blah…. but don’t be a mountain elitist. That shit is beautiful, and that’s that. Perhaps teeeeeny weeeeeny compared to some peaks, but pretty damn stunning just the same. We love our Whites!
The trek back down was quick and easy. The Tuckerman Ravine trail is seriously like a highway. A beautiful, snowy highway. Check it out! It’s a great place to dip your toe into some winter hiking, and the AMC staff at the visitor’s center/lodge are fantastic resources.
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