Mount Eisenhower and Mount Pierce

Mountains:  Mt. Pierce (4312'), Mt. Eisenhower (4760'), Gibbs Falls (2300')
Trails:  Crawford Connector, Crawford Path, Gibbs Falls Spur, Webster Cliff Trail, Mount Eisenhower Loop, Edmands Path, Appalachian Trail
Region:  NH - Central East  
White Mountain National Forest, Presidentials
Location:  Carroll (Twin Mountain), NH
Rating:  Moderate/Difficult  
Features:  Summits, views, 4000-footers, alpine zone, alpine plants, waterfall, cascades, brook
Distance:  8.3 miles  
Elevation Gain:  3150 feet (cumulative)  
Hiking Time:  Typical: 5:40  
Outing Duration:  Typical: 8:15  
Season:  Summer
Hike Date:  07/08/2000 (Saturday)  
Last Updated:  10/03/2009  
Weather:  Sunny with several very light showers, clear, 55 degrees
Author:  Webmaster
Companions:  SDHrs: Dennis M, Debbie S, Anne H, Shirley G, Scott, Phil B, Carlos C, Bob S, Marj W, Ed T, Sal S, Pam S, Bess P, Heather M, Marina, Linda H, Eric & son, John and Gene and their wives, 2 other couples

Route Summary   

Crawford Ridge (photo by Webmaster) This hike brings you to Mount Pierce and Mount Eisenhower–both summits are 4000-footers, offer fantastic views, and are part of the Presidential Range. The ridge walk between the two peaks, which also offers views, is very interesting as it winds through scrub and among alpine flowers.

This is a point-to-point hike that almost forms a loop. A vehicle should be spotted at the Edmands Path trailhead on Mount Clinton Road and the hike departs from the Crawford Path parking area, also on Mount Clinton Road.

If you don't wish to spot cars, you can make this a full loop hike by walking along the gravel Mount Clinton Road from the Edmands parking area to the Crawford parking lot, adding 2.3 miles to the trip.

  • Start on Crawford Connector, following it for 0.4 mile. The trail will cross Mount Clinton Road and then arrive at a footbridge crossing Gibbs Brook where there are pretty cascades. Just before the bridge, Crawford Cliff Spur veers left but you should stay straight and cross the bridge.
  • Several strides after crossing Gibbs Brook, you will reach a junction with Crawford Path. Go straight/left to head up the mountain; the right-hand leg leads to Route 302.
  • After just 0.2 mile on Crawford Path, look for a sign for "Gibbs Falls" on the left. Follow the path left for about 40 yards which will bring you to a viewpoint of Gibbs Falls spilling down a tall ledge.
  • Retrace your steps on the spur then turn left to resume the ascent on Crawford Path.
  • Hike on Crawford Path for another 1.3 miles which will bring you to a junction with Mizpah Cutoff. Bear left to stay on Crawford Path.
  • Continue on Crawford Path for an additional 1.2 miles until reaching the junction with Webster Cliff Trail.
  • Turn right onto Webster Cliff Trail which is part of the Appalachian Trail (leaving Crawford Path to continue straight ahead) and ascend 0.1 mile to the summit of Mount Pierce which is marked by a cairn with denser scrub beyond it. The summit offers fantastic views over to the rounded dome of Mount Eisenhower and the building-topped Mount Washington. If you want to continue on Webster Cliff Trail for about 25 yards, you'll be able to see views in the opposite direction. Pierce makes a better lunch spot than Eisenhower, because its less windy (which you may find hard to believe if you're up there on a windy day).
  • When you're through enjoying Pierce's views, descend 0.1 mile on Webster Cliff Trail to return to Crawford Path.
  • Turn right and resume your trek on Crawford Path, following it for 1.2 miles until it meets up with Mount Eisenhower Loop.
  • Bear left to follow Mount Eisenhower Loop for 0.4 mile up to Mount Eisenhower's summit which is totally open and marked by a huge cairn. From here you have an even closer view of Mount Washington and the other Presidentials but the 360-degree views leave you totally exposed to the elements.
  • Continue along Mount Eisenhower Loop, descending Mount Eisenhower on the other side, and meeting up with Edmands path in 0.4 mile.
  • Turn left onto Edmands Path and follow it for 2.9 miles until it ends at the trailhead parking area on Mount Clinton Road.

Place         Split
Miles
     Total
Miles
Crawford Connector parking lot on Mt. Clinton Road (1920') 0.0 0.0
Jct. Crawford Connector / Crawford Cliff Spur (2080') 0.4 0.4
Jct. Crawford Path / Gibbs Falls Spur (2250') 0.2 0.6
Jct. Crawford Path / Mizpah Cutoff (3380') 1.3 1.9
Jct. Crawford Path / Webster Cliff Trail (4250') 1.2 3.1
Mt. Pierce summit (4312') 0.1 3.2
Jct. Crawford Path / Webster Cliff Trail (4250') 0.1 3.3
Jct. Crawford Path / Mt. Eisenhower Loop (4425') 1.2 4.5
Mt. Eisenhower summit (4760') 0.4 4.9
Jct. Eisenhower Loop / Edmands Path (4450') 0.4 5.4
Edmands Path Trailhead parking area (2000') 2.9 8.3

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Edmands Path (photo by Webmaster)


 

Map of hike route to Mt. Pierce and Mt. Eisenhower (map by Webmaster)


Trail Guide   

Overall, this is a moderate hike with both moderate/difficult and easier sections. Crawford Path climbs steadily with few breaks up to Mount Pierce. Most of the ridgeline walking between peaks was easy with the climbing kicking in about 0.4 mile before the Eisenhower summit–about a quarter mile of which is steep. Edmands Path descends moderately until near the end, where the grades eased up.

It's time for a bus! We had a record showing of 27 people for the hike to Mounts Eisenhower and Pierce. The "Cadillac Couples" planned on hiking just a little ways up and then turning around, but an amazing 23 hardy adventurers completed the challenging 8.3 mile loop. By day's end we had tallied up the switchbacks contained within the loop–and came up with a whopping total of two–the ascent and descent were unrelenting.

From Mt. Pierce (photo by Webmaster)


After about three miles of steady climbing, we reached Mount Pierce and were gifted with spectacular views. Here many people paused for lunch but it was a challenge to eat as the wind attempted to whip away all our food. It was a pleasant 55 degrees throughout the day and although there were several very light showers, visibility remained excellent. From Pierce, we could see way across the ridgeline to Mount Eisenhower, our next destination–about 450 feet higher than our current elevation.

Crawford Ridge (photo by Webmaster) Walking along the mostly flat ridgeline was a welcome break. In addition to the endless views, there were lots of alpine plants that captured our interest. Hugging the ground and seemingly springing from rocks were mats of mountain cranberry. This plant has small, oval leaves and clusters of tiny, deep pink, bell-shaped flowers. We saw star flowers which look just like a white, seven-pointed star; and cotton sedge which is akin to a wispy cotton ball mounted on top of a 10-inch stalk. At one point, we came upon a spruce grouse that was also enjoying the trail.

On the ascent to Eisenhower, we were treated to mountain avens which are found only in the White Mountains and Nova Scotia. These flowers resemble buttercups but are supported by long stems which have geranium-type leaves. The bright blooms were a welcome diversion from the steep pitch we were forced to conquer before achieving the summit.

Edmands Path (photo by Webmaster) Upon reaching the top, there was no rest for the wicked. The ferocious winds on Eisenhower made Pierce's air currents seem like a mild breeze. Some gusts nearly knocked us over. So down we went, the other side of Eisenhower. Once safely in the shelter of the woods, part of the group took a well deserved lunch break.

Edmands Path descended moderately, and like its Crawford counterpart that led up to Mount Pierce, the trail was lined with lush ferns and soft moss. Towards the end, there were a few bridges that crossed a brook.

For some, a lunch break or two wasn't enough, and an ice cream stop was called for on the way home. Our ice cream expert, Dennis, has proclaimed the new Trailhead's on Rt. 302 as "our favorite new spot in that area". They even have a sundae called the "Dayhiker".

More Flora Seen   

Alpine plants:

orange hawkweed (devil's paintbrush): A tall wildflower sporting bright orange blooms whose numerous petals are shaped like narrow rectangles. (Also grows in non-alpine areas.)

labrador tea: A small shrub with clusters of small cream colored flowers.

Labrador Tea (white flower clusters on the shrub with skinny leaves) (photo by Webmaster)


reindeer lichen: Looks like buff or sea green colored "coral" on a tiny scale.

bog bilberry: similar to mountain cranberry but a larger shrub with circular leaves that stand straight up and a lighter pink bell-shaped flower that is a little larger than those on the mountain cranberry.

Other plants:

Yellow Clintonia / Bluebead Lily (yellow flowers with shiny leaves) (photo by Webmaster) bluebead lily (yellow clintonia): Large, smooth and shiny leaves at its base with drooping, delicate, yellow flowers at the top of a 10-inch stalk.

false hellebore (Indian poke): large veined leaves clustered all up and down a thick, central stalk. About 1-1/2 feet tall.

bunchberry: Lots along all the trails, including the alpine ridge. Low growing plants. The flowers have four white petals (actually bracts) and beneath them is a whorl of leaves.

common wood sorrel: The flower stalk rises out of what looks like clover patches–but are actually the leaves that are part of the plant. There were lots of them on the way down Edmands Path. The flowers have white petals with a yellow ring around the center, then a hot pink ring surrounding that. Also, thin, hot pink lines radiating from the pink ring and running vertically down the petals.
 



Crawford Path between Mt. Pierce and Mt. Eisenhower (photo by Webmaster)



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  Driving Directions   

Cotton Sedge (white "cottonball" flower) (photo by Webmaster) The trailhead for Crawford Connector is located on Mount Clinton Road, off of Route 302, in Carroll (Twin Mountain), New Hampshire.

Crawford Connector Parking Lot
  • From the junction of Routes 3 and 302 in Twin Mountain, follow Rt. 302 East for 8.0 miles, then turn left onto Mount Clinton Road. Traveling from the east, Mount Clinton Road will be on the right and is 0.2 mile beyond the AMC Highland Center, or about 3 miles west of the Willey House Historical Site.
  • Almost immediately upon turning onto Mount Clinton Road, take your first left into a large parking lot.
  • The trailhead for Crawford Connector is at the far end of the parking area, just to the right of the toilets.

Edmands Path Parking Lot
  • From the Crawford Path parking lot, continue down Mount Clinton Road for 2.3 miles.
  • The parking lot for Edmands Path is on the right.

Facilities   

Toilets at the parking lot for Crawford Connector.

Other Notes   

A parking permit is required to park at White Mountain National Forest trailheads and parking areas. You can purchase a WMNF permit from the forest service and other vendors and can also pay-by-the-day using self-service kiosks located in many parking areas.

For more information on parking passes please refer to the White Mountain National Forest website.

Rates:
  • $3 per day
  • $5 for a week-long pass
  • $20 for a year-long pass
  • $25 for two year-long passes (one household/two cars)

More Mt. Eisenhower and Mt. Pierce Trail Reports   


On the summit of Mount Eisenhower (photo by Webmaster)

 
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