I’ve been exploring many of the trails in the White Mountains North Country this summer, including those maintained by the Randolph Mountain Club (RMC) which maintains the trail systems immediately north and south of Rt 2 in the Northern Presidentials (Mts Madison, Adams, and Jefferson), the Crescent Range, and the Randolph Community Forest.
If you ever get bored hiking the same 4,000 footers over and over again, I suggest you head north and explore all of the nooks and crannies of the Randolph trail system ranging from the Pond of Safety and Ice Gulch to Howker Ridge, the floor of King Ravine, and Emerald Bluff.
These highlights and many more are covered in the RMC’s Randolph’s Paths Guidebook ($17, available from the RMC website, the Mountain Wanderer Bookstore, and North Country Books) and accompanying waterproof map, which picks up where the AMC’s White Mountain Guide leaves off, providing more details and historical information about Randolph’s Paths than any other reference I’ve been able to find. The map and guidebook are also up to date, providing information about many of the newer trails that RMC has built but don’t appear on USGS digital maps or most other printed maps of the region.
If it’s views you’re after, there is no place like the Randolph Community Forest for sublime views of the Northern Presidentials. On a clear day, you can even count the boulders on the floor of King Ravine from the south-facing edges above the tiny hamlet of Randolph. It’s no wonder that the most famous early trail builders in the White Mountains all lived in the town of Randolph (which was called Durand before the name was changed.)
The waterproof map bundled with the Randolph Paths guidebook is also worth mentioning because it has an excellent view guide on the rear side that identifies all of the mountains that can be seen from Lookout Ledge (see above), The Quay, the North Lookout of Mt Crescent, and Mount Adams. Illustrated by Tim Sappington, the peaks were identified by Judy Hudson, and Steve Smith, also the editor of the AMC’s White Mountain Guide and a keen peak spotter.
If you are a White Mountain history buff or interested in the early history of the Randolph area, Randolph Paths wil provide many hours of delightful reading and even more pleasure when coupled with rambles through the Randolph Paths trail system.
“This is Randolph, and here anything smaller than a logging road is a Path”
Disclosure: Philip Werner (SectionHiker.com) purchased Randolph Paths with his own funds.