WILDCAT MOUNTAIN | 4,422′ | Strenuous
Wildcat Mountain (4,422′), located in the Carter-Moriah Range, offers dramatic, close-up views of Carter Notch and Carter Dome from its summit. Wildcat’s D Peak (4,062′), home to Wildcat Ski Area, is considered an independent 4,000-footer and offers excellent views of Mt. Washington and the Presidential Range from an observation tower.
Note: for complete trail descriptions, times, elevation, trailhead directions, and major features, see the AMC White Mountain Guide.
Strenuous: Hikers most commonly set out from Pinkham Notch Visitor Center on the Lost Pond Trail, which runs approximately one mile before meeting the Wildcat Ridge Trail. From that junction, hikers experience a steep climb but great views from open ledges on the trail, which makes its way to each of the Wildcat peaks, including the D Peak. The actual summit of Wildcat Mountain is located just off the trail near the A Peak.
The AMC’s Carter Notch Hut is located at 3,288 ft. at the junction of the Nineteen-Mile Brook and Wildcat Ridge Trails. The hut is open for full-service from early June to mid-September, offering meals and overnight accommodations, and is open for self-service during the rest of the year.
The AMC’s Hiker Shuttle stops at the Nineteen Mile Brook Trailhead and Pinkham Notch Visitor Center, giving hikers the option of a loop hike around the 19 Mile Brook Trail and access to The Highland Center .
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 Wildcat
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 Wildcat Mountain 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 .