Jewell Trail

Page Type Page Type: Route
Location Lat/Lon: 44.27060°N / 71.3047°W
Additional Information Route Type: Hike
Additional Information Time Required: Half a day
Additional Information Difficulty: Walk-up
Sign the Climber's Log


From Rte. 302, follow the signs to the Cog Railroad in Fabyan (you'll see Fabyan's Restaraunt and an old railroad trusseled bridge), and take the Base Road into the Cog Railroad/Marshfield Station. Get a hikers parking pass for $5, and park at the Cog. You can park at a Hiker's Parking Lot a half mile back (on your right hand side as you're driving up), but the parking lot at the Cog is MUCH safer; cars tend to get broken into at hiker parking lots in the White Mountains, and the lot is somewhat secluded from the road. Walk up towards the huge building, passing it on the left hand side and walk towards the the tracks. If you look across the tracks up by where the people board the train, you will see a trail and a bridge going across the water...this is the start of the trail....

Route Description

The Jewell Trail is around 3.7 miles in length, where it reaches the Gulfside Trail at 5,400'. The trail itself is not very difficult or steep, and is one of the least rocky trails on the mountain. The hike in the woods is fairly uneventful, however the scenery is very nice. At around 3 miles, you will begin breaking through the scrub area, and have a good view of the valley below and the mountain above. It is generally not very windy until just below the Gulfside Trail. The trail is well marked by cairns and is easy to follow. As you get closer to the junction, the scrub area dwindles and soon you are completely above treeline. You will come to a sign pointing out the Gulfside Trail; if you wish to go to Mt. Washington, take a right.

This is a particulary enjoyable hike in an early winter the dead of winter, getting access to the Cog railroad can be difficult, since the road is not maintained from 302 to the Railroad. However, early to late October storms bringing significant snowfall are not uncommon, the road is still open, and if you're familiar with the mountain it can be quite an enjoyable experience. You will probably not see very many, if any people, unlike the east side of the mountain where they can come up in hordes. Once you are on the Gulfside Trail and the weather really starts to sock you in, it's a much different experience than climbing up the well-know get a real feeling of isolation, as you know you're pretty much the only person (or group) on this part of the mountain, with the other 100-200 people climbing up Tuckerman or Lion Head.

If you choose to do this route in the above conditions, it is essential that you do this climb a few times in the summer and know where you are going. It is very easy to get lost on this part of the mountain, particularly in whiteout and heavy freezing fog conditions. Plot the course (in good weather) with a compass, and if you have a GPS, take waypoints as a backup. If you get in trouble, trying to bivy on the Gulfside can be a nightmare at best in adverse conditions.

Essential Gear

For the summer.....regular hiking clothing, trekking poles, and lightweight hiking boots.

For the early winter....leather or plastic boots, trekking poles, Gore Tex, etc.

For the middle of winter.....same as above, but add crampons and a mountaineering axe.

Miscellaneous Info

If you have information about this route that doesn't pertain to any of the other sections, please add it here.

Additions and CorrectionsPost an Addition or Correction

Viewing: 1-2 of 2

nartreb - Mar 12, 2007 12:50 am - Hasn't voted

Base Rd Open in Winter

This year and last the Cog railway has stayed open in winter. The train stops before treeline, so it's the best of both worlds: plowed road but not too much noise & smoke. Use the original trailhead - park all the way up at the end of the road (by the second station), cross the tracks and look for a footbridge to the right of the water tower. Foot traffic is pretty light, so bring snowshoes and give yourself ample time to find & break trail. Axe not needed unless you get lost and wander into a ravine.


Colin - Jul 7, 2016 6:00 pm - Hasn't voted

Free Parking

Parking in the Hiker Lot at the Base Station is now free (at least for the 2016 season). Access to the trail is different from the description above. Walk to the head of the platform where passengers board the train and cross the tracks. There is a small metal sign that reads "Jewell Trail" (I've posted a photo) and a staircase leading down to the river. There is no bridge across the river (or any sign of there ever being one). If the river is too full to rock hop across (as it was when we were there), your best bet is to return to the boarding area and use the railway utility bridge (marked authorized personnel only, so be sure no railway workers are around). Hike along the tracks until you find an easy place to cross. Then bushwhack back to the trailhead.

Viewing: 1-2 of 2



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