Mt. Jefferson 5,716 ft.
Mt. Jefferson stands at 5, 716 ft. making it the 3rd highest of the Presidential Range and of the 4000 footer's. It is shaped similar to it's neighbors as a massive pyramid of sharp, broken rock. Like Mt. Adams it has other peaklets (2) surrounding the true summit which is in the center of these.
Nestled between Mt. Clay and Mt. Adams, Mt. Jefferson boasts of exciting ridges towering over deep ravines. From the West it's noticeable features are the pointy Caps Ridge and Castellated Ridge. From the South the grass and sedge covered Monticello Lawn covers a large plateau area. And from the North and East Jefferson's “knees” quickly grab your attention. These consist of two ridges that drop gradually to plateaus before dropping steeply to the floor of the Great Gulf. Only the Northern knee contains a trail which is one of the most exciting, difficult and most rugged trail in the White Mountains.
There are two great loop options. One is done by ascending Israel Ridge Path or Castle Ravine Trail and descending the Castle Trail. The other is done by ascending Six Husbands Trail and descending the Sphinx Trail usually from a campsite in the Great Gulf Wilderness. Or you may just cross the summit via the Gulfside trail as you traverse the Northern peaks as you head towards Mt. Madison following the Appalachian Trail. No matter the route you choose, Jefferson is a massive mountain with difficult trails and shares the extreme weather of it's neighbors. Use caution in planning and executing your trip. Always remember to hike safe!
Quick Trail Specs.
Caps Ridge Trail: The most direct and shortest route but not the easiest by any means. This trail is steep and exposed to the weather. 2.5 mi. 2700' elevation gain = 3hrs. One way
Castle Trail: 5 miles 4200' elevation gain = 5hrs. One way
Israel Ridge Path: 6 miles 4000' elevation gain = 6 miles 4000' elevation gain = 6hrs. One way
Castle Ravine Trail: 5.4 miles 4000' elevation gain = 5hrs. One way
Six Husbands Trail: 2.5 miles 800' elevation gain = 2 hrs. Great Gulf Junction to summit