NH Family Hikes

Lookout Ledge

Length: 3.2 miles out-and-back

Difficulty (click for info): Easy

Elevation Gain: 530 feet (+140 feet on return)

Rating (click for info): 7/10

Elevation: 2244'

Driving Directions:
Trailhead is on Randolph Hill Road in Randolph, NH. From the top of the hill on Rt. 2, 3.5 miles west of the western junction with Rt. 16 in Gorham and 9.0 miles east of the junction with Rt. 115, turn north onto Randolph Hill Road. Drive for a total of 1.9 miles, around a 90-degree turn to the left, to a point where there is a sign for Cook Path on the right and a grassy old road descending to the left. Park on the shoulder. Click here for a Google map.

About the Hike:
Lookout Ledge has long been the centerpiece of the Randolph Mountain Club's intricate trail network on the Crescent Range. The dramatic precipice is treasured for its premiere view of Mt. Adams and King Ravine. It is situated on the southern slopes of Mt. Randolph, across the valley of the Israel River from the lower slopes of those majestic peaks. At a humble altitude of about 2250', distant alpine scenery can be admired at a low cost. There are several routes one can take to the ledge, but we recommend the Pasture Path from the higher starting point of Randolph Hill Road, where a myriad of other RMC trails take off as well.

From your starting point, walk a little over a tenth of a mile downhill on a shortcut called Grassy Lane. Turn right as you tee into Pasture Path, which parallels Randolph Hill Road. Set off in a narrow corridor through level forest, passing over an occasional bog bridge or two. Stroll along with little elevation change for just over a half mile to a trail junction. Take a left to stay on Pasture Path, following an old road as Four Soldiers Path continues ahead, then in 200 feet, turn right, again staying on Pasture Path. The trail soon crosses Carlton Brook, followed by two of its tributaries, in the next quarter mile. The brooks drain the south side of the Crescent Ridge. In higher water, it can be harder to make use of the stepping stones, so use caution. At the last brook, the trail crosses Jimtown logging road at an angle and sneaks by the right side of a clearing where it ends. The climb begins in earnest now, as the trail ascends moderately through open hardwoods. In 0.4 miles, Ledge Trail merges from the left; continue up for 0.2 miles over a final bout of the steepest terrain, where the trail becomes rockier through dark evergreens. Reaching a trail junction above the ledge where the path ahead becomes Crescent Ridge Trail, follow a path a few steps downhill to the left to reach the top of the outlook, where a sign on a lone tree identifies your location as Lookout Ledge. Here you are greeted with a grand sweep of a vista across the Israel River valley, bisected by Rt. 2. Mt. Adams looms ahead, flanked by Mt. Madison on its left and Mt. Jefferson on its right. A closer look reveals the scalloped talus slopes of the headwall and the piles at the base. Durand Lake shimmers beneath you to the left. The low, cliffy rise of Pine Mountain intrudes into the valley further to the left, with Middle Carter and the three Moriahs as a backdrop. Furthest over to the left, the view stretches into Maine past the southern reaches of the Mahoosuc Range. Enjoy your stay here in the theater of mountains for a long time, or continue on the Crescent Ridge Trail to visit Mt. Randolph.

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