The Perch Shelter – Randolph Mountain Club
Last weekend, I spend a night at The Perch Shelter and Campsite located on Mt Adams in the Northern Presidential Range of the White Mountains. It’s located between the Israel Ridge Trail and Randolph Path, on the north face of Mt Adams, just below treeline at about 4,300 feet. The slope of Adams is still steep enough here that the shelter and campsites look like they are perched on the side on the mountain.
The shelter is an 8 person, Adirondack style log cabin with a modern tin roof. Its front entrance is pointed away from the westerly winds which can really blow up here. In addition, there are four wooden platforms where campers can pitch a tent or tarp, as well as a composting toilet. There is a $7 fee per person per night, which is collected by a caretaker around sundown.
The water source is spring-fed Cascade Brook, located about 50 yards from the front of the shelter. The water is very very cold and comes straight out of the mountain. Most people don’t treat it but it’s not officially listed as “safe.”
The Perch Campsite Platforms
When I stayed there in mid-June, the place was pretty full with only one free camping platform. While camping on platforms sucks, there is very little choice this high up. The forest is very dense, even this close to treeline, and finding a stealth site would be nearly impossible unless you were willing to string a hammock on a 40+ degree inclined slope. If you’ve ever tried to this, it can be challenging, if not outright comic.
Of the four camping platforms, there’s one high up the side of the hill and much more private than the rest. There was a camper already occupying it when I arrived, so I pitched my tarp on the next one down. I crashed before sundown at about 8 pm, but woke up around 1 am to check out the stars. You can only see a view like this from the side of a tall peak on a clear night. It was spectacular, and platforms or not, I’ll be camping out at The Perch again.