- Driving Distance: 100 miles
- Hiking Distance: Approx. 9 miles
- Difficulty Level: Strenuous
At 5,774 feet, Mt. Adams is the tallest peak in the Whites that doesn't have a hamburger stand on top, making it one of the most beautiful spots in NH. It is also one of the more dangerous spots in bad weather, so plan your trip carefully, and turn back if things start to turn sour.
Get online directions to Gorham, NH. The best place to start an assault on Adams is the Appalacia Trailhead, which is just west of Gorham on Rt 2, very close to Billings Cabin.
There are a number of routes up and down Adams - details are available in the White Mountain Guide. One popular route is to follow the Valley Way up and the Airline Trail back down (or the reverse). The Valley Way follows (you guessed it!) a valley most of the way to the top, and passes some lovely cascades just after the trailhead (you may need to take side trails to see them all). This also means it is sheltered by trees almost all the way to the ridgeline, which it hits just before Madison Hut, where you can get water and shelter when it is open. From the hut, you have a few choices. The most straightforward is to take the Gulfside Trail a short distance over to the Airline Trail for the last scramble up to the summit. Instead, you could take the Star Lake Trail around behind the summit for some views of the other side of the ridge and interesting alpine lakes, adding just under a mile. In either case, the summit cone is bare, rocky, and steep. Views from the summit are stunning. The Airline Trail parallels the Valley Way to the west, following the line of a shoulder ridge. It is much more exposed than Valley Way, providing some fantastic views, but little shelter from bad weather.
White Mountain Guide