Tuckerman Ravine to Watch the Skiers

Destination:  Tuckerman Ravine
Trail:  Tuckerman Ravine Trail
Region:  NH - Central East  
White Mountain National Forest, Presidentials
Location:  Pinkhams Grant, NH
Rating:  Moderate/Difficult  
Features:  Bowl/headwall, wilderness downhill skiers, cascades
Distance:  6.2 miles  
Elevation Gain:  2500 feet (cumulative)  
Hiking Time:  Typical: 4:30  
Outing Duration:  Typical: 6:00  
Season:  Spring
Hike Date:  05/20/2000 (Saturday)  
Last Updated:  04/28/2008  
Author:  Webmaster
Companions:  SDHers: Anne, Pam, Phil, more

Route Summary   

This is a hike up to the base of Tuckerman Ravine (to Hermit Lake Shelters and Lunch Rocks) via Tuckerman Ravine Trail to watch alpine skiers ski down the headwall of this glacial cirque.

  • Tuckerman Ravine Trail starts behind the Trading Post at the Pinkham Notch Visitor Center.
  • After 0.3 mile, Tuckerman Ravine Trail crosses a bridge over Cutler River.
  • Soon after there will be a spur to the right that reaches a viewpoint for Crystal Cascade after only 20 yards.
  • Tuckerman Ravine (photo by Phil Blampied)
  • Next, 0.4 mile from the start of the trail, there is a junction between Tuckerman Ravine Trail and Boott Spur Trail. Turn sharply right here to stay on Tuckerman Ravine Trail.
  • After another 0.9 mile there will be a fork where Huntington Ravine Trail goes to the right; keep left to stay on Tuckerman Ravine Trail.
  • After 0.3 mile will be another junction where the Huntington Ravine Fire Road goes to the right; stay straight on the Tuckerman Ravine Trail.
  • After 0.4 is a junction with Raymond Path which goes off to the right; turn sharply left to keep following the Tuckerman Ravine Trail.
  • After 0.2 is a junction with Lion Head Trail which goes to the right; keep following Tuckerman Ravine Trail.
  • In another 0.1 you will arrive at the Hermit Lake Shelters at the base of Tuckerman Ravine with impressive views of the headwall and glacial cirque.
  • Veer right here to remain on Tuckerman Ravine Trail and avoid Boott Spur Link which goes to the left.
  • Follow Tuckerman Ravine Trail for another 0.7 mile to arrive at Lunch Rocks - an open rocky area with a great view of the bowl and the skiers coming down the headwall.
  • Retrace your steps to return to the Visitor Center.

Place         Split
Miles
     Total
Miles
Tuckerman Ravine Trailhead (2032') 0.0 0.0
Jct. Tuckerman Ravine Trail/Boott Spur Trail (2275') 0.4 0.4
Jct. Tuckerman Ravine Trail/Huntington Ravine Trail (3031') 0.9 1.3
Jct. Tuckerman Ravine Trail/Huntington Ravine Fire Road (3425') 0.4 1.7
Jct. Tuckerman Ravine Trail/Raymond Path (3675') 0.4 2.1
Jct. Tuckerman Ravine Trail/Lion Head Trail (3825') 0.2 2.3
Hermit Lake Shelters (3875') 0.1 2.4
Lunch Rocks (4525') 0.7 3.1
Hermit Lake Shelters (3875') 0.7 3.8
Jct. Tuckerman Ravine Trail/Lion Head Trail (3825') 0.1 3.9
Jct. Tuckerman Ravine Trail/Raymond Path (3675') 0.2 4.1
Jct. Tuckerman Ravine Trail/Huntington Ravine Fire Road (3425') 0.4 4.5
Jct. Tuckerman Ravine Trail/Huntington Ravine Trail (3031') 0.4 4.9
Jct. Tuckerman Ravine Trail/Boott Spur Trail (2275') 0.9 5.8
Tuckerman Ravine Trailhead (2032') 0.4 6.2

Stay overnight in a tipi - Tipi Lodging
 

 

Trail map of hike route to Tuckerman Ravine (map by Webmaster)


Trail Guide   

Snow, shorts, skis, and bikini tops - if you attended the Tuckerman Ravine hike then you got to witness these paradoxes first hand. Anne Hansen led a group of seven SDHers up Tuckerman Ravine Trail for a fun-filled day. Although this is a challenging climb, it was easier than expected, because snow wasn't encountered until shortly before the lunch rocks - crampons weren't even necessary.

Tuckerman Ravine (photo by Phil Blampied) Despite the fact that most of the hike up was devoid of snow, the bowl had plenty and there were bundles of skiers taking advantage of it. The day was sunny and clear with temperatures in the 60s and possibly reaching up as high as the 70s. Some skiers were wearing shorts and/or bikini tops so it was quite an incongruous scene. There weren't any bugs out so our crew was able to fully enjoy their long repose on the lunch rocks.

There were some hearty adventurers that got as many as three runs in. For those used to skiing with chair lifts at your disposal, this may seem pretty wimpy. But for anyone that has ever hiked up the headwall of Tuckerman Ravine, you know that it's a steep ascent. Add to that the challenge of climbing it when it's snow covered, with skis, and all the other necessary paraphernalia, on your back, and it becomes a monumental task.

Tukerman Ravine is the happening place to be at this time of year. The parking lot was packed and there were lots of people hiking the trail, skiing the bowl, and absorbing all the sights. Anne reported that being from New Hampshire was the exception on this day as most of the people seemed to be from Quebec, Montreal, Massachusetts and New Jersey.
 
 


NH - Central East


Tuckerman Ravine (photo by Phil Blampied)

  Driving Directions   

Tuckerman Ravine (photo by Phil Blampied) Tuckerman Ravine Trail starts behind the Trading Post at Pinkham Notch Visitor Center in Pinkhams Grant New Hampshire.

The Visitor Center is located on Rt. 16, about 20 miles north of Conway and 11 miles south of Gorham.

Facilities   

Food, lodging, information, bathrooms, coin-operated showers.

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)

About Tuckerman Ravine   

Tuckerman Ravine is a glacial cirque on the southeastern flanks of Mount Washington. The headwall rises sharply from the floor of the ravine to about 500 feet in height. From the base of the ravine, near Hermit Lake Shelters is a great prospect of the bowl with cliffs rising on three sides.

Although Tuckerman Ravine is a spectacular setting in any season, it is most well known for the alpine skiing opportunities available in the spring. Skiers will trudge up the trail lugging their downhill skis on their backs. It is challenging enough just to walk the 3.1 miles to the Lunch Rocks near the base of the bowl, but these intrepid adventurers then continue up to a quarter-mile further tackling the steep headwall, donning their skis, and then plunging down the 50-degree slopes. Once at the base, they remove their skis and climb back up to do it all over again.

For those that would rather not risk life or limbs, a hike to the base of the ravine is a feasible goal. From here one can drink in the scenery while enjoying the antics of the daredevil skiers.

The skiing season at Tuckerman's usually starts about the middle of March and can run all the way into June during a good snow year. For more information on skiing and trail conditions see www.tuckerman.org.

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