Ice Gulch is a narrow, boulder filled ravine in the Randolph Community Forest on the north end of the White Mountain National Forest region. It’s so-named because you can find snow and between the rocks there in August and it’s quite similar in that respect to Mahoosuc Notch (the hardest mile on the Appalachian Trail) a short ways to the north.
While there is technically a “trail” running through Ice Gulch, it’s more of a rocky scramble, 0.9 miles in length. It’s a strenuous scramble at that, and it took me 1:45 to cover that short distance. While the White Mountain Guide lists Ice Gulch as one of the most strenuous trails in the White Mountains, I think that’s a bit of an exaggeration. Nevertheless, this isn’t an easy hike and one you definitely don’t want to bring dogs or small children on. It’s just too sketchy and slippery in places.
Here’s a description of the loop hike, starting on the Ice Gulch Path, taking the Peboamauk Loop around a pretty waterfall en route to Ice Gulch, ascending (climbing up) the Gulch, and looping back along the Cook Path back to Randolph Hill Road, where a short road walk is required to hike back to your car.
When you go, be sure to bring some extra insulation along. The Gulch can be 15-20 degrees cooler than the surrounding forest, even in August, and you’ll want an extra layer or two to stay warm.
Total Distance: 6 miles with 1500′ of elevation Gain