MOUNT Passaconaway | 4,043′ | Strenuous
Mt. Passaconaway (4,043′), the easternmost 4,000 footer of the Sandwich Range Wilderness, shares a prominent ridge with Mt. Whiteface (4,020′). A lookout ledge just below Mt. Passaconaway’s wooded summit offers great views of the Tripyramid massif to the west and South Hancock (4,319′) and Mt. Carrigain (4,700′) to the north.
Note: for complete trail descriptions, times, elevation, trailhead directions, and major features, see the AMC White Mountain Guide.
Strenuous: There are a number of routes to the summit of Mt. Passaconaway, most of which begin south of the peak. The most scenic follows the Oliverian Brook Trail to the Passaconaway Cutoff. Hikers then proceed to the Square Ledge and Walden Trails to enjoy the views from the south summit ledge.
The WMNF’s Jigger Johnson Campground is the closest camping option, located within a mile of the Oliverian Brook Trailhead.
Safety in Summer and early Fall
The AMC recommends all hikers check weather conditions in advance, carry a current map and guidebook, along with a compass and knowledge of how to use it. For recommendations on how to plan a safe hike in the White Mountains, see: The 10 essentials for a safe and pleasant hike.
Winter Hiking on Mt. Passaconaway
Winter hiking anywhere in the White Mountains requires specialized equipment and skills, and experience in coping with weather, navigation, and winter gear. Extremely severe storms can develop suddenly and unexpectedly, especially above treeline. The combination of high wind and low temperatures has such a cooling effect that the worst conditions on Mount Passaconaway are approximately equal to the worst reported from Antarctica, despite the much greater cold in the latter region. Hikers interested in extending their activities into winter are strongly advised to seek out organized trips with leaders who have extensive winter experience. Several AMC chapters offer winter hiking and backpacking instruction, and AMC offers several guided winter mountaineering trips; search for “Instruction” in AMC’s activity listings. Helpful information can also be found in the AMC Guide to Winter Hiking and Camping.
The ridge system that connects Mt. Whiteface, Mt. Passaconaway, and Mt. Wonalancet (2,728′) creates a secluded valley, or cirque. This area, known as The Bowl Natural Area, has never been logged.