Lion Head Trail and Caps Ridge Trail, Gateways to the Presidential Range, Turn 100

May 27, 2020
lion head trail
LEFT: AMC Library and Archives, RIGHT: Allyson Hicks / AMC Photo ContestCaps Ridge Trail in 1920 (left) and today. The trail, along with Lion Head Trail, turns 100 this year.

The lure of the Presidential Range caused many trail builders to look for new ways to access peaks, and 2020 marks the 100th year of two of these routes.

The first, Lion Head Trail, was cut following the U.S. Forest Service’s acquisition of the land in early 1920. The trail begins and ends on the Tuckerman Ravine Trail and takes hikers to a rock formation on the northern portion of the Tuckerman headwall that, from the road, looks like a lion’s head. The trail intersects with the Alpine Garden Trail and terminates at the upper junction with Tuckerman Ravine Trail at Cloudwater Spring, a memorial to Reverend William Rogers Richards, minister of the Brick Central Church in New York City and “an ardent lover of these mountains.”

Caps Ridge Trail, located on the eastern slope of Mount Jefferson, is known for its steep, rocky climb to the summit, earning it a spot on New Hampshire’s “Terrifying 25” list of trails featuring difficult slides, rock scrambles, and boulder caves. Blazed in summer 1920, Caps Ridge was intended to provide hikers with another option to enter and exit the eventual Presidential Traverse—a connected route up and over the summits of the Presidential Range.


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Nastassja Chan

Nastassja Chan is the editorial intern at AMC Outdoors.