King Ravine Trail

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

Route Quality: 6 Votes

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King Ravine Trail
Created On: Apr 25, 2005
Last Edited On: Apr 28, 2005


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

Route Description

The King Ravine Trail was built by Charles E. Lowe as a branch trail to Lowes Path. The King Ravine Trail climbs up through one of the most rugged glacially carved cirques in the northeast. The ravine is characterized by steep rocky walls that in some places hold ice and snow for the entire year. The trough shaped ravine has many trails that will challenge even the experienced hiker. There are quite a few airy sections as well. This is the same ravine that is said to be the final resting place for a group of the once infamous Rogers Rangers during the French and Indian War. After and Indian massacre in Canada they crossed the border and intended to hide in the mountains, but were never found.

To access this trail you must first follow the Lowes Path until the King Ravine Trail branches off to the left at 1.8 miles. The trail comes to many intersections with other trails in the complex network of the Randolph Mountain Club, so take care to follow the path. The first big change along the trail is once you reach the floor of King Ravine. From here there are many striking views up to the ravine walls and the headwall. Here, at the bottom of the headwall, the Chemin des Dames trail heads left up the northeast wall of the ravine to meet the Air Line Trail on its way to the summit of Mount Adams.

Continue up on the King Ravine Trail until it comes to another intersection. To the right goes an alternate path called the “Subway.” To the left goes the normal route called the “Elevated.” The “Subway” will take you through some very interesting rock formations and caves where you are liable to find snow all year round. The trail continues to head steeply up the headwall after these two rejoin and the trail again divides. The left path again is the normal route with the right path being a loop path. This takes you to some boulder caves similar to the other trail and adds a little more distance. Once these two rejoin it is time for the ascent of the true headwall. This section is quite steep and a little bit airy. You will be scrambling over huge blocks of rock and up, up, up. From the foot of the headwall to the intersection with the Air Line Trail between to crags on top of the headwall it is 0.6 miles with an elevation gain of 1,300 feet.

From here it is a farther 1.5 miles on the Air Line Trail to the summit of Mount Adams. The rest of the ascent is over scree slopes of boulders and loose rock. If you choose to descend the same route be very careful as the slopes are steep and sometimes the footing is not the greatest. Also watch out for the famous fickle Presidential weather. It can close in fast so do not take any chances. The mountains will be here another day. If you do the same route round-trip you are in for 9.2 miles and 4,600 feet of elevation gain so make sure you are in top shape.

This route should not be an option for a winter ascent unless you have technical snow climbing expertise and gear! Use either the Air Line or Valley Way Trails to the summit for a winter ascent.

Essential Gear

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

Additions and CorrectionsPost an Addition or Correction

Viewing: 1-5 of 5


nartreb - Apr 28, 2005 9:54 am - Hasn't voted

Route Comment

In avalanche season this trail should probably be avoided. Air Line or Lowes' Path would be safer.


mtwashingtonmonroe - Apr 28, 2005 3:47 pm - Hasn't voted

Route Comment

Thanks for that heads up! I'll make sure I add that point to the page. Thanks for your tip and have a good one nartreb!



nartreb - Jun 14, 2005 8:33 am - Hasn't voted

Route Comment

It's not just the technical difficulty of the climb, it's the fact that there is substantial avalanche danger. That's so rare in New England that it deserves special mention.


dscharfman - Sep 1, 2009 10:28 pm - Hasn't voted

Distance to summit

From the top of the headwall it's 0.5 miles on the Airline, not 1.5 miles as originally stated on this page.


skirtratt - Apr 12, 2018 10:32 am - Hasn't voted

When to Climb

Even with technical snow and ice experience, this route in Spring time should probably be avoided. We climbed up this route 4/12/18, high risk of falling between rocks, when they are covered with snow and ice. Sketchy!

Viewing: 1-5 of 5

King Ravine Trail

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