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Hike to Mt Ingalls and Ray’s Pond

Tuckerman Ravine, The Great Gulf, and King Ravine seen from Mt Ingalls
Tuckerman Ravine, The Great Gulf, and King Ravine seen from Mt Ingalls

Mt Ingalls (2242′) is a gem of a peak in the southern Mahoosuc Range (in New Hampshire’s White Mountains) with extraordinary views of the Northern Presidentials. I climbed it in late May while exploring the trail system near Shelburne, NH and Philbrook Farm on the north side of the Androscoggin River. Ingalls and its ledges left a lasting impression which I still carry in my mind’s eye, with a single view that included Tuckerman’s Ravine, the Great Gulf, and King Ravine, from one spot.

Ingalls is just one of several nice and moderate destinations in the area which includes Middle Mountain (2010′), Mt Crag (1412′), Mt Cabot (1512′), and Crow’s Nest (1287′). Mt Ingalls and its subsidiary ledges provide the best views, but the other peaks and trails are also quite nice hikes, and well worth several trips to hike them all.

Wooden Turnstile at the Austin Brook Trailhead
Wooden Turnstile at the Austin Brook Trailhead

Mt Ingalls can be access from multiple directions and trails, but my favorite approach is from the Austin Brook Trail, which continues up into the Mahoosucs and runs up to the Appalachian Trail if you stay on it all the way. The Austin Brook Trail is also an easy-to-find trail head and parking spot on North Road, with a quirky wooden turnstile at the beginning.

The Austin Brook Trails provides access to a set of trails named after colors, the Yellow, Blue, Red, White, set around the Philbrook Farm Inn. Hike up the Austin Brook Trail to the Yellow Trail, head east, and then join the Scudder Trail which climbs to the summit of Ingalls. These trails lead to a number of interesting forest destinations and provide the opportunity for all kinds of easy loop hikes (see the AMC’s White Mountain Guide for details).

The colorful Philbrook Farm Trails
The colorful Philbrook Farm Trails

The Scudder Trail follows a sequence of logging roads and is well signed, but when in doubt, head uphill. It then meanders across several large open ledges with excellent views of Mt Moriah and the Northern Presidentials, as well as the Androscoggin River Valley below. The views are quite grand and rate up there with 52-with-a-view peaks, in my opinion.

South facing ledges on Mt Ingalls
South facing ledges on Mt Ingalls

While the actual summit of Mt Ingalls is viewless, there is a delightful alpine tarn (a small pond), called Ray’s Pond located just beyond the summit and named after a local resident. I didn’t see any moose lounging in the waters here, but it wouldn’t surprise me one bit if it were a moose bathhouse.

Ray's Pond, an alpine tarn located just beyond the summit of Mt Ingalls
Ray’s Pond, an alpine tarn located just beyond the summit of Mt Ingalls

The route up Mt Ingalls described here (Austin Brook-Yellow-Scudder Trails) is 7.0 miles round trip with approximately 1500′ of elevation gain.

Southern Mahoosuc-Philbrook Farm Area Trail System
Southern Mahoosuc-Philbrook Farm Area Trail System (Click for interactive map on Caltopo)

When I visited this area, I did several independent hikes on the local trail system which proved pleasant diversions. These are all moderate hikes and make good season openers before you hike the White’s higher peaks to the west.

  • Gates Brook Trail to Middle Mountain and down to the Peabody Brook Junction (out and back)
  • Gates Brook to Mt Crag to the Austin Brook Trail (out and back)
  • Scudder Brook Trail to Mt Ingalls (out and back)
  • Scudder Brook Trail to Mt Cabot and the Crows Nest (out and back)

Maps of this area are a bit sketchy and out of date, so I’ve included a collection of tracks for my hikes shown above. These are hosted on Caltopo.com where you can view them interactively or download the to your Smarphone/GPS.

4 comments

  1. These are great hikes. The eastern Whites rock!

  2. When I think of mountains in the US I think of the Sierra Nevadas or Blue Ridge Mountains. I never thought that it may be worth planning a trip elsewhere when we visit for a hiking trip the year after next. Thanks for sharing and adding another place to my shortlist!

  3. Thanks for the info Phillip. Good to know this.

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