The Webster-Jackson Loop Hike – Another Highlight of Crawford Notch SP

Many trail guides extol the virtues of this loop hike, which bisects a corner of Crawford Notch State Park.  Although most of the trail’s highlights are in the National Forest, I’ll still give the state park credit, as it’s the notch that makes it challenging.  There are many possibilities for shorter or longer routes and I chose the loop that traverses Mts. Webster, Jackson, and Pierce.

Where it all begins

Where it all begins

View north from Elephant Head

View north from Elephant Head

Crawford Notch and Mt Willard from Elephant Head

Crawford Notch and Mt Willard from Elephant Head

The trailhead is actually just outside the northern boundary of the park and south of the AMC’s Highland Center.  The first stop worth making is Elephant Head, with great views of both the notch and the Highland Center.

View of Crawford Notch from Mt Webster

View of Crawford Notch from Mt Webster

Silver Cascade

Silver Cascade

Next is the trail up the side of the notch to Mt. Webster.  Along the way, if the water is high Silver Cascade can be pretty special.

Looking back towards Mt. Webster

Looking back towards Mt. Webster

More from Mt Pierce

From Mt Pierce with Mt Washington in the distance.

The Mizpah Springs Hut looks pretty small from Mt. Jackson.

The Mizpah Springs Hut (on the left) looks pretty small from Mt. Jackson.

From Mt Pierce with Mt Washington in the distance

More from Mt Pierce

From Mt Webster the trail now follows the Appalachian Trail to the north, with this stretch known as the Webster Cliff Trail.  This is the most fun part of the trail as it stays along the ridgeline, then drops down temporarily to AMC’s Mizpah Springs Hut, then ascends rapidly to the top of Mt. Pierce.Just past the peak of Mt. Pierce, take the famous Crawford Path, past Gibbs Falls, back down to your car.

Gibbs falls

Gibbs Falls

Excursion train getting ready to return back down Crawford Notch

Where it ends – an excursion train getting ready to return south through Crawford Notch

Obviously this hike can be done in either direction.  I enjoyed the way I did it as it saved the crowds on the Crawford Path for the very end.  Happy travels!

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