Use the Pinkham Notch Visitor Center described in the Getting There section. Follow the trail around the left side of the visitor center to find the trailhead. You will quickly run into a sign telling you of the current avalanche dangers on various routes.
The 4.2 mile class 2 Tuckerman Ravine Trail starts at the AMC Pinkham Notch Visitor Center (2050') and is one of the shortest, most scenic, and most popular trails to the summit used by both hikers and skiers.
This well signed trail initially follows a dirt road (you will see snowcat tracks here during the winter) reaching Hermit Lake (3875') in 2.4 miles. Here you will find some shelters, a first aid cache, a ranger station, and catch your first glimpses of the Tuckerman Bowl which is a vibrant green during the summer and pure white during the winter. Head directly into the ravine and up the trail on the far (west) side where you will climb the headwall. In 1.2 miles you will reach Tuckerman Junction, an intersection of 5 trails (including one to the Lakes of the Clouds Hut). From here head north 0.6 miles to the summit complex (6288')
During the snow free months, the top portion is a large class 2 rock field. Be careful during the early winter months on this route if the rocks are just iced over enough to be slippery but not enough for effective use of crampons.
None during the snow-free season though a windproof / waterproof jacket is nice to have on hand since the weather can change fairly quickly.
During the winter an ice axe and crampons are recommended though kicking steps with alpine ski boots seems to also work well. If you run into the USFS ranger at Hermit Lake, he may stop you if he notices you don't have an axe and crampons. Other recommended gear includes ski goggles to protect against winds and blinding snow.
IN THE RAVINE
In addition to the main route that is open all seasons (except during avalanche danger conditions), there are a number of variations on both the south side as well as the north side of the ravine. On the South Side, Hillman Highway is a very popular ascent and ski route with the others being steeper and more challenging. The north side offers some small, most likely unnamed, gullies which are good areas for practicing your snow climbing and ski / boarding skills away from the viewing public ;-) If you use one of the north side gullies you will end up on the Lion Head Trail above Lion Head from here climb west to the summit choosing to head into the rocks or use the direct variation described under Winter Variation on the Lion Head Route page.
BELOW HERMIT LAKE
Skiing is not allowed on the Tuckerman Ravine Trail below Hermit Lake. This is mostly to protect hikers. If you have carried your skis up and have wondered at the skiers that you occasionally glimpse on your left (south), they are actually on the parallel John Sherburne Ski Trail. This is a parallel trail just for ski descents from Hermit Lake back to Pinkham Notch. The grade is very gentle here and this would generally be considered a beginner to intermediate ski trail.
If you have information about this route that doesn't pertain to any of the other sections, please add it here.