View Full Version : First Time Hiker - West Side ascent

07-30-2008, 12:43 PM

My wife and I plan to hike Mount Washington from the west side this coming August 23rd. I found it to be a little difficult to get an accurate and detailed trail map. The online topo maps are a little tough for me to read accurately. I've been told that the Jewell Trail starting from the Cog Railway parking lot is the most gradual ascent. I'm 59 and in fairly decent shape and have been training a bit. I suppose what I'm asking for is advice and any general info you might have to share with us. We're a little bit nervous.

Does anybody have a good online map of the Jewell Trail ascent??

How long do you will it take us (ballpark) to do the hike if the weather allows.

We are only hiking up and not going both ways.




Mike D
07-30-2008, 02:07 PM
Yes, the Jewell trail to the summit is about 5 miles and gradual compared to the Ammonoosuc.

Check outdoors.org; they have a new online mapping service that I haven't checked out. While you're on the trail, there's no substitute for a paper (or tyvek possibly) map. The AMC guide book and six White Mountain maps can be had for about $26, and there are many other maps on the market. Good luck!

07-30-2008, 02:16 PM
If I do west side I normally go up the Ammo and down the Jewell. But, up the Jewell would be a nice hike - not too hard and nice views when you get above treeline. There are no real steep parts to the trail.

Bill O
07-30-2008, 05:42 PM
I agree with Mike, buy the paper edition of the White Mountain Guide. It comes with great maps. Read the trail descriptions in the book, copy of few pages for the hike and bring the map. Leave the big book in the car.

Although Jewell may be more gradual than other trails, it is by no means a sheep trail to the summit. 4,000 feet over 5 miles is a 15% grade. Some parts are steeper some not as steep and almost none of it is on a smooth trail.

07-31-2008, 11:20 AM
I have found the Jewell Trail to be th easiest ascent - although, not the shortest. My youngest son summited via the Jewell with me when he was 9. By all means buy an AMC trail map - they come in a tyvek version which will not tear.

07-31-2008, 12:09 PM
Thanks for all the great advice. We feel a bit more confident now, for sure. How exactly do I purchase the AMC map?? Is there a web site where I can do so??



p.s. Re: equipment. What exactly do you people take with you? Have you thru experience, customized you hiking kits? Describe in as much detail as you feel like giving me, the more the better.

Thanks again

07-31-2008, 01:24 PM
Thanks everyone. If this turns out to be a double post then please excuse me. I posted a reply and it seems to have gotten lost somehow. Regardless, I'm trying again. Where do I obtain an AMC tyvek map of the Jewell Trail - Is there a website??

Regarding equipment, what do you suggest I take, that I may have missed due to our inexperience? Have you customized your hiking gear/kit to fit experiences from former hikes? Anything you might want to decribe from gear to food to whatever will be appreciated. thanks again.


07-31-2008, 01:37 PM
Ask and you shall receive... AMC White Mountain Tyvek Map (http://amcstore.outdoors.org/amcstore/product.asp?s_id=0&dept%5Fid=3023&pf%5Fid=PAAAAANOJABKEEEL)

KD Talbot
07-31-2008, 03:23 PM
I say get the White Mountain Guide, and this is why. It's easy to look at maps and say, "Let's do this trail," with no idea what you're getting into. The book gives trail descriptions, mileage, elevation gain, etc. It is the hiker's bible. There are also sections covering what to carry with you, what to eat what to wear, etc.

You can get it here and the proceeds will go to the MWO.



Mike D
07-31-2008, 04:16 PM
Bring a couple liters of water per person, plenty of energy-packed foods, a warm change of clothes, and some miscellaneous goods such as a knife, some trash bags, a roll of duct tape, a lighter, and some string. Various-sized bandages can be helpful. If you take any medications, bring more than you plan to need for the time you've allocated. If you wind up in a bind and you save the day with a MacGyver-like device, you'll be the smartest guy on the mountain. Oh, pen and paper are useful if you suddenly need to leave a note for someone.

08-01-2008, 12:14 AM
I'm buying hiking boots tomorrow. Leather? Any particular brand?

I'm normal 5'10" 170 lbs, size nine feet, no special foot needs but regarding Mount Washington, Jewell Trail, I assume I need something sturdy and with built-in ankle protection for the strewn rock portion near the summit (so I presume leather)

Thanks everyone.

Rick and Heather

08-01-2008, 06:15 AM
We both wear Asolos. Tim's are the "Fugitive" (I think) and mine are the "Stynger".

We like them a lot, but you really need to go into the store and try on a few different brands. Each brand fits so differently, you need to see what works for you.

Good luck!

08-06-2008, 11:48 AM
Thanks for all the help, everyone who posted. After I get back, I'll post a summary and pics.