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The Terrifying 25: A Popular List of Trails in the White Mountains (NH)

The Terrifying 25 Patch

The Terrifying 25 is a popular list of difficult and at times terrifying hiking trails in New Hampshire’s White Mountains compiled by Trish Herr, the author of Up! A Mother and Daughter’s Peakbagging Adventure, and her daughters Alex and Sage when they were quite young and precocious hikers. They enjoyed hiking together through the boulder caves, over the rocky scrambles, and climbing the scree fields and rockfalls that the Terrifying 25 trails follow or cross.

The Terrifying 25 is a different kind of hiking list than many because it’s focused on trails and not mountains like many of the other popular White Mountains hiking lists including the White Mountain 4000 Footers or the 52 With a View. The list has two parts, a set of required trails and a set of easier elective trails that make good practice hikes, particularly if you’re not familiar with the roughness of hiking trails in the White Mountains and how to get around to the different regions where the trails are located.

So how Terrifying are they? None of them require any special climbing equipment or protection but a few can be scary and challenging for even the most experienced hikers. Your best bet is to hike them with friends, read about them in advance, and team up with more seasoned hikers if you feel uncomfortable hiking some of them. The Terrifying 25 is a very popular hiking list in the Whites and you’re bound to meet other hiking them that you can team up with. That’s the beauty of these hiking lists – they build community.

Trail Information

I recommend you read about each trail in the Appalachian Mountain Club’s White Mountain Guide (includes maps) which is still the best resource for trail information in the Whites and used by all serious hikers. It contains detailed directions to all trailheads, information about all adjoining trails, time estimates, difficulty levels, and cautions for each of the 650+ trails in the highly interconnected White Mountains trail network. You can also count on it to match up with the trail signage you’ll encounter, something that AllTrails mobile app does not do. That’s important so you don’t get lost.

The Rules

The rules for hiking this list are pretty simple. You need to hike 20 trails on the Required list and 5 more trails from the Electives List below. You have to hike the entirety of the trail, not just the terrifying parts. You have to hike the trails on foot (skiing is permitted) but you can drive to one end or the other, as long as you hike the entire trail. Click for official rules and the Terrifying 25 website.

The Award

When you’re finished, send “your name, mailing address, names of the trails, and the date you hiked each” to [email protected]. “Comments and links to trip reports would be nice, but they’re not required. You’re on the honor system.  Karma will eventually get you if you lie.” (I’m quoting Trish who oversees the Terrifying 25 since it’s so appropriate)

Required Trails (Pick 20)

Baldface Circle Trail
Caps Ridge Trail
Carter Ledge Trail
Castle Trail
Chemin des Dames
Flume Slide Trail
Great Gulf Trail
Great Gully Trail
Huntington Ravine Trail
Ice Gulch Path
King Ravine Trail
Madison Gulf Trail
Mount Morgan Trail (ladder route)
Mount Percival Trail (cave route)
North Slide, North Pyramid
Six Husbands Trail
South Slide, South Pyramid
Sphinx Trail
Subway (King Ravine Trail)
Table Rock Trail, Dixville Notch (from eastern trailhead to ledge)

Elective Trails (Pick 5)

Airline Trail
Algonquin Trail
Beaver Brook Trail
Brook Trail
Blueberry Ledge Trail
Castle Ravine Trail
Desolation Trail
Devil's Hopyard Trail
Goodrich Rock
High Cannon Trail
Osseo Trail
Percy Peaks Trail
Wildcat Ridge Trail (rt 16 to E peak)
Willey Range Trail (ladder section to summit)

Parting Words

While challenging, the Terrifying 25 is a fun and very scenic list of trails to hike. I’ve finished hiking them twice and I am correctly working on a third round. You’ll meet some great people hiking them, learn new skills, and meet wonderful people hiking them. This list is also a great stepping stone to finish before tackling other lists like the 52 with a View, the Waterville Valley Redliner 125 Patch, or the White Mountain 4000 Footers which are all great ways to get into hiking or turn your kids onto outdoor adventure.

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  1. I was completely unaware of the Waterville Valley 125! So many lists!!

    Hopefully finish off T-25 this coming summer season when I complete the Northerns tab.

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