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Presidential Range

Range TypeMountain range with well-recognized name
Highest PointMount Washington (6288 ft/1917 m)
CountriesUnited States
States/ProvincesNew Hampshire
Area266 sq mi / 688 sq km
Area may include lowland areas
Extent27 mi / 44 km North-South
22 mi / 35 km East-West
Center Lat/Long44° 16' N; 71° 23' W
Map LinkMicrosoft Bing Map

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The Presidential Range is the crowning glory of the White Mountains, and, in many respects, the Appalachian Mountains themselves.

The northernmost extention of the Presidential Range is extremely low Pine Mountain (2404'), a low, ledgy knob with a dirt road leading to a Christian retreat center on its summit.

The real Presidentials begin with the Northern Peaks, the mountains on the high ridge leading north from Mount Washington. In many ways, the four main summits of the Northern Peaks have much more to offer than Mount Washington itself, since they cover more area, have more above timberline terrain, have no road or railway penetrating the area, and are far less crowded. These magnificent peaks--Mounts Madison, Adams, and Jefferson--rise along a single massive ridge and are the 5th, 2nd, and 3rd highest in the northeast U.S., and together make up a huge, unbroken area of above timberline ridges, ravines, and summits. Mount Clay, really just a northern sub-peak of Mount Washington, is the southernmost Northern Peak, just before the ridge merges with the bulk of Washington. The Gulfisde trail runs along this entire range--in my opinion, the nicest hike in the eastern United States.

Mount Washington (6288') is the central summit of the Presidental Range and the highest summit in the northeast U.S., rising over 800 miles from the nearest higher land, in North Carolina. Its summit is almost a small city, with a museum, cafeteria, weather station, train depot, and parking lots crowding the windy and cold summit rocks.

Northeast from Mount Washington the massive, broad Chandler Ridge provides the ascent route for the summit auto road. Between this ridge and the Northern Peaks is the vast chasm of the Great Gulf, the largest glacial cirque in the Appalachians. A vast, deep valley, it has been a federally-protected wilderness area since 1964.

The Southern Peaks stretch southwest from Mount Washington and are not as high or massive as the Northern Peaks. The Crawford Path, the oldest continuously used footpath in the country, traverses the range from Mount Clinton northwards to Mount Washington, an 8.5 mile trip.

At the base of Mount Washington is Bigelow Lawn, the largest of the level grassy areas of the Presidentials, and just south of that is twin-summited Mount Monroe (5385'), an easy scamper from Lakes of the Clouds Hut at its base. South from Monroe lie Mount Franklin (5001'), a very indistinct bump on the ridge; Mount Eisenhower (4714'), formerly Mount Pleasant, a dome-shaped peak still well above timberline; and Mount Pierce (4312'), still often called by its old name, Mount Clinton. The former name honors the obscure Franklin Pierce, the only president from New Hampshire, while the latter name does not honor the recent U.S. president, but DeWitt Clinton, governor of New York in the 1800s.

The Crawford Path leaves the main crest of the Southern Peaks at Mount Pierce to descend to Crawford Notch, while the A.T. continues on the main ridge, now below the trees, on the Webster Cliff Trail. After passing Mizpah Spring Hut (3800'), the newest (1964) of the AMC Huts, it crosses Mount Jackson (4052'), a rocky cone that was not named after Andrew Jackson, but New England scientist Charles Jackson, a geologist and one of the inventors of anethesia. Mount Webster (3910'), really just a spur of Mount Jackson, is the the abrupt end of the Southern Peaks, featuring a huge wall of cliffs that forms the massive west wall fo Crawford Notch. The Webster Cliff Trail follws the top of the escarpament south to the floor of the notch, offering a fantastic series of views.

While the Southern Peaks run southwest from Mount Washington, another long crest, the Montalban Ridge, runs southeast from the high, grassy tundra of Bigelow Lawn. Beginning with Boott Spur (5500'), a minor bump overlooking Tuckerman Ravine, the Montalban Ridge rapidly drops to below timberline and goes over many wooded summits: Mount Isolation-4005, Mount Davis (3820'), and other lower summits. The 13 mile Davis Path is the main trail, following most of the Montalbans all the way to Mount Washington. Mount Isolation is, true to its name, a relatively remote peak that many peakbaggers begrudge, but an awesome viewpoint.

Map of Presidential Range
Click on red triangle icons for links to other ranges.


Note: Range borders shown on map are an approximation and are not authoritative.
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Other Ranges: To go to pages for other ranges either click on the map above, or on range names in the hierarchy snapshot below, which show the parent, siblings, and children of the Presidential Range.
White MountainsLevel 4 (Parent)
         White Mountain North CountryLevel 5 (Sibling)
         Mahoosuc RangeLevel 5 (Sibling)
         Western White MountainsLevel 5 (Sibling)
         Franconia AreaLevel 5 (Sibling)
         Presidential RangeLevel 5
                 Cherry-Dartmouth RangeLevel 6 (Child)
                 Northern PeaksLevel 6 (Child)
                 Mount Washington MassifLevel 6 (Child)
                 Southern PeaksLevel 6 (Child)
                 Montalban-Rocky Branch RidgesLevel 6 (Child)
         Eastern White MountainsLevel 5 (Sibling)
         Sandwich RangeLevel 5 (Sibling)



Major Peaks of the Presidential Range

Ten Highest Peaks
RankPeak NameftmRange6
1.Mount Washington62881917Mount Washington Massif
2.Mount Adams57991768Northern Peaks
3.Mount Jefferson57121741Northern Peaks
4.Mount Clay55331686Northern Peaks
5.Bigelow Lawn Hill5512+1680+Mount Washington Massif
6.Monticello Lawn Peak54071648Northern Peaks
7.Mount Monroe53721637Southern Peaks
8.Mount Madison53661636Northern Peaks
9.Mount Franklin5000+1524+Southern Peaks
10.Slide Peak48061465Mount Washington Massif
Sub-peaks are excluded from this list. List may not be complete, since only summits in the PBC Database are included.
Child Range High Points
RankPeak NameftmRange6
1.Mount Washington62881917Mount Washington Massif
2.Mount Adams57991768Northern Peaks
3.Mount Monroe53721637Southern Peaks
4.Montalban Ridge-North Peak42931309Montalban-Rocky Branch Ridges
5.Mount Dartmouth37271136Cherry-Dartmouth Range



Photos of Peaks in the Presidential Range

Mount Washington

The sign and benchmark at the very summit of Mount Washington, behind the massive visitor's center (1982-07-27).
Mount Adams
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The Presidentials from the Carter Range (2008-10-11). Photo by Rian Laub.
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Mount Jefferson

Mount Jefferson rises above Monticello Lawn, at the center of the Northern Peaks of the Presidential Range. Glenn Slayden, Greg Slayden, and Gabe Czako (1987-08-15).
Mount Monroe
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3 of us at summit (2014-02-08). Photo by Richard Bedard.
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Mount Madison

Mount Madison from Mount Adams.
Mount Monroe-West Peak
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Mts Monroe and Franklin from the Crawford Path (2007-09-29). Photo by Rian Laub.
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Mount Franklin
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Mts Monroe and Franklin from the Crawford Path (2007-09-29). Photo by Rian Laub.
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Mount Eisenhower

Clouds moving in cover half of the bald dome of Mount Eisenhower.
Mount Isolation
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Mike on his 48th peak & I (2014-03-29). Photo by Richard Bedard.
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Stairs Mountain
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Mts Lowell and Anderson from the Signal Ridge Trail (Mt Carrigain) (2008-10-04). Photo by Rian Laub.
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