Air Line Trail

Page Type
New Hampshire, United States, North America
Route Type:
Hike (Class 1-3)
Time Required:
Most of a day

Route Quality: 2 Votes

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Air Line Trail
Created On: Apr 24, 2005
Last Edited On: Apr 24, 2005


Follow the directions to the Appalachia parking area in the "Getting There" section of the main page.

Route Description

This route is one of the more popular up Mount Adams and is also the shortest way up to the summit from the north. The trail starts at the right corner of the Appalachia parking area and heads across the train tracks. The lower section of the trail has many others that branch off of it so make sure to take care in staying on the trail. The Valley Way trail branches off to the left within a mile of the trailhead.

The trail continues to head up the ridgeline known as Durand Ridge. After approximately three miles the trail breaks out of the trees and scrub and exposes you to the full force of any storm systems crossing the range so be careful when it comes to weather. Many people have been lost in these mountains winter and summer for not paying heed to the quick approaching storms. The trail continues over one of its more popular sections known as the "knife edge." From here you get a nice and airy view into King Ravine and its glacially carved cirque. The Chemes des Dames trail comes up to meet on your right out of King Ravine.

From here it is another mile to reach the summit as you will be scramling over the scree and boulder filled slopes of Mount Adams pyramidal summit cone. This can be the most treacherous and tiring part of the trip so take your time and don' t rush it. Once on the summit you will have views of the entire high peaks region of the Presidential range. Mt. Washington, the monarch of the range, looms 3.5 miles away but appears as though you could almost reach out and touch it. Below you is the deep precipice of the Great Gulf, the largest glacial cirque in the White Mountains. Mount Madison is to the northeast with Jefferson and Clay directly south. Enjoy some time on the summit and the views before heading back down. Always keep an eye on the weather though!
The round-trip distance is 8.6 miles with 4,500 feet of elevation gain.

Essential Gear

Comfortable hiking boots, food/water, trekking poles, and a camera.