Wildcat Valley Trail
DIFFICULT 11 mile ski (3 to 5 hours) — 2+ hours from Hanover
This is a fee trail of the Jackson Ski Touring Foundation: (603) 383-9355. A reduced fee ticket for skiing only the Wildcat Valley Trail must be purchased at the Jackson Ski Touring Foundation office in Jackson (in the Jack Frost Ski Shop). Showing your JSTF trail ticket also entitles you to a reduced rate on the gondola.
How To Get There:
From Hanover take I-91 North to Orford. From there take Route 25A to Wentworth, then north to Warren, NH. Take a right on Route 118, and go to North Woodstock. Head north on I-93 through Franconia Notch, to Twin Mountain. Turn right to Bretton Woods, go through Crawford Notch on Route 302, and drive through Bartlet to the Glen where you turn left to Jackson on Route 16. From Jackson, drive north on 16 to the Wildcat Ski Area, just past Pinkham Notch AMC Lodge. Purchase single ride gondola tickets. The trail begins behind the upper gondola station. An AMC skier shuttle van is available in the afternoon from the Dana Place Inn or Jackson back to Wildcat Ski Area.
The trail begins in thick spruce woods and winds its way down through birch glades, old logging areas, and open fields to the town of Jackson. As it nears Jackson, it requires a short walk on a road, a golf course crossing, and two highway crossings. You are required to purchase a pass from the Jackson Ski Touring Foundation, located in the Jack Frost Ski shop in Jackson, New Hampshire. This ticket also entitles you a reduced rate to ride the gondola to the start of the trail. Courtesy patrollers do ski the trails and will charge skiiers an extra fee if they have not purchased a pass. Skiing any of the trails which connect to the Wildcat Valley Trail also requires an additional fee.
Begin just south of the summit gondola station by an old sign which marks the start of the route. The start of the trail is typically windblown and icy. It quickly begins to descend and reaches Hall’s Ledge at 3.2 miles. There are excellent views here of the Gulf of Slides, Tuckerman’s Ravine, and Huntington Ravine on Mount Washington. Follow a logging road from Hall’s Ledge downhill into the Prospect Farm area and the junction with the Dana Place Trail. (From here you may turn right on an alternate route which takes you 4.4 miles to the Dana Place Inn via the Dana Place Trail and the Hutmans Trail.) It is 6.8 miles to Jackson from this point. Continue straight ahead, cross open fields, and join the Carter Notch Road. Walk on the road for 0.5 miles to Black Mountain Terrace, turn left, pass the town dump, and gain the trail again on the right. The trail continues on through the woods for 2.2 miles, then crosses Route 16B. Pass through an old logging area, several fields, cross two bridges and the Eagle Mountain Golf Course. Here, cross 16B again and continue for 0.5 miles to end at the Wentworth Resort in Jackson.