Gray Knob Cabin (4375′) is a primitive hut located on Mt Adams (NH), just below treeline. It’s maintained and operated by The Randolph Mountain Club (the RMC), the trail maintenance organization that does the lion share of trail construction and maintenance in the Northern Presidential area of the White Mountain National Forest. The RMC is a very small club, but it’s had a huge impact on the the development and legacy of the White Mountain Trail System and many of the great trail architects and builders lived in the town of Randolph (then called Durant) at the foot of the higher summits.
Unlike nearby Madison Hut (run by Appalachian Mountain Club), the RMC’s Gray Knob is a no-frills, self-supported cabin that caters more to serious hikers and climbers than the family-oriented groups that the AMC Huts attract. While there are mattresses provided for sleeping (on the floor), you need to pack in your own sleeping bag, food, stove, and fuel. Water is available from a nearby spring and there’s a composting outhouse. Gray Knob is also open year round and a good place to stay before or after a winter summit of Mt Adams, the second highest peak in New Hampshire. Cost is $15/night for RMC members (click for latest prices.)
The inside of the cabin is pretty rudimentary. There’s a small private room off the first floor for caretaker, a breakfast nook, and a kitchen area for rinsing cookware (all drippings goes into a bucket since there’s no drain or plumbing) and a stove which is only for caretaker use. If you plan to cook at the cabin, bring a canister stove; all other fuel types, including white gas, must be used outside to avoid burning down the cabin.
Guest sleep upstairs in an open loft and lights out is 10 pm. Bring ear plugs. There are no reservations accepts and space is strictly first come, first serve. Cash is accepted, and new this year (2017), credit cards, and Paypal (click for details).
The RMC also operates other shelters in the Northern Presidentials including Crag Camp, The Perch Campsites and Lean-to, and The Log Cabin, which is also a lean-to. They all have their own character and are worth staying at some point in your hiking career.
I stayed at Gray Knob about a week ago for the first time, after a blustery day above-treeline in freezing rain and dense fog. I’d planned to stay at the Perch Campsite, where I’ve camped many times in the past. But the wind was really blowing, from the north too, which would have left me very exposed, so I decided to stay in the cabin. I was the only guest that night and I slept great while the wind howled outside.
Gray Knob Cabin – definitely a good shelter from the storm.