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Beauty, variety, challenge, and thrill make for an EPIC TRAIL!

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Point to Point

5,697' 1,736 m


3,057' 932 m


2,640' 805 m


0' 0 m



Avg Grade (15°)


Max Grade (38°)

Dogs No Dogs

Features Cave · Fall Colors · River/Creek · Views · Waterfall

SAFETY FIRST—The headwall section of this trail is very steep with substantial exposure. Slips or falls will likely result in injury or death:
• Never descend the headwall section
• Ascend the headwall section if the rocks are dry, the weather will be good for at least 2 hours, all hikers are comfortable with exposed heights and rock scrambling on ledges, all hikers are wearing boots or shoes that grip rocks well, and shorter people are escorted by taller people who can help.


This amazing trail is considered the most difficult hiking trail in the northeast USA. The lower "approach" section and upper "alpine" section are not difficult, but the middle "headwall" section is where the route will test your mettle.

The lower "approach" section begins at the Tuckerman Ravine Trail and ends at the rescue cache in the floor of the ravine. This section is a gradual ascent on a rock-strewn path through the forest, paralleling and repeatedly crossing the stream that drains Huntington Ravine. Sights include many waterfalls, one cave, and distant views of the "headwall" section.

The middle "headwall" section begins at the rescue cache in the floor of the ravine and ends at the Alpine Garden Trail. This section begins with scrambling around, over, and under giant boulders in the floor of the ravine, then ascends a giant talus slope called "The Fan" before ascending the steep and dangerous headwall itself. Note that the headwall portion is so steep and sheer that it's basically rock climbing. Features include scrambles on large exposed ledges with limited holds, traverses across ledges, hugging a hanging boulder, and a narrow chimney.

The upper "alpine" section begins at the Alpine Garden Trail and ends at the Auto Road. Just before reaching the Auto Road, a left turn onto Nelson Crag Trail leads to the summit of Mount Washington. This section involves a gradual ascent on rock steps, following cairns and scree walls through the alpine environment. Note that there is no shelter from the potentially brutal weather, and the terrain blocking the typical strong northwest winds may lull hikers into underestimating the conditions. If there is any doubt about the safety of the conditions, and knowing that descending the headwall is dangerous, retreat must follow the Alpine Garden Trail either south to Lion Head Trail or north to the Auto Road.


Shared By:

Steve Perry

Trail Ratings

  4.9 from 14 votes


  4.9 from 14 votes
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Trail Rankings


18 Views Last Month
7,175 Since May 24, 2016
Very Difficult



Mount Washington
May 24, 2016 near Pinkham…, NH



Current Trail Conditions

Minor Issues 75 days ago
Add Your Check-In


Aug 13, 2022
Charlie Zhang
Aug 15, 2021
Christopher Stutzman
Oct 26, 2020
Luka Madden
Aug 23, 2020
Matthew Hall
Daunting, exhilarating, exhausting, beautiful. Bring your bouldering skills and leave your nerves at home
Aug 4, 2019
Kyle Reppenhagen
Look for yellow paint markings on rocks and trees to show where the trail goes at uncertain points, such as river crossings and on the headwall
Jul 7, 2019
Kate Voorhes
Took breaks for snacks and amazing views. Favorite trail in New England so far!!!! Much fun. 4.6mi — 3h 45m