Monday, February 8, 2016

Liebeskind's Loop, Lila's Ledge, and George's Gorge in Winter


View from Lila's Ledge of Pinkham Notch, NH

I guess I should apologize... I've been off the blog for a few months.  For those of you who don't know, I'm in the third trimester of a pregnancy and that, combined with the poor snow season, has kept me out of the White Mountains and instead exploring hikes near home.  This weekend however, I did manage to get up north for a birthday hike.  Due to my current preggo-state, I opted for a shorter hike that still promises awesome views and a moderate challenge.  This approximately two mile loop provides great views of Wildcat Mountain, Pinkham Notch, and Tuckerman's Ravine.  In winter, you have the additional benefit of little to no crowds and clearer views between leafless trees.

Here is how to recreate this adventure...

Adventure: Leibeskind's Loop, Lila's Ledge, and George's Gorge
Trail through George's Gorge

Getting there:  The trailhead is located at the AMC Pinkham Notch Visitor Center on Rt 16.  From North Conway, take 16 North.  At the 302/16 light, turn right to continue on 16.  Drive 20 minutes and the visitor center will be on the left.  Walk past the visitor center to the main trailhead sign and continue straight onto Old Jackson Road/AT.

Trail:  From the AMC Pinkham Notch Visitor Center, take Old Jackson Road (AT) 0.3 miles to the junction with the Crew Cut trail.  This is a wide, gentle incline and popular trail.  After the small footbridge, take a right onto Crew Cut trail.  The Crew Cut is a narrow offshoot.  It winds up for 0.3 miles passing the left hand entrance of George's Gorge trail.  Continue straight and follow signs to Lila's Ledge.  It is a 0.1-2 offshoot from Crew Cut.

From Lila's Ledge, you can see Wildcat Ski area, Pinkham Notch/Rt 16, and Mount Washington via Tuckerman's Ravine.  It's a GREAT view for such a short little hike.  Return back to Crew Cut and from here, take Liebeskind's Loop Trail to start looping back.  This 0.5 mile section winds up and down along tall rocks and on narrow trail.  You will pass a viewpoint named Brad's Bluff that give more magnificent views of Mount Washington before reaching the George's Gorge Trail.  From here, you can either continue 0.3 miles uphill back to Old Jackson Road trail or take a left and return via George's Gorge (0.5 mi) to the original Crew Cut/Old Jackson Rd section.
Icy Trail

On this day, we decided to get back to Old Jackson Road quickly since many portions of the narrow loop were very icy.  Back on Old Jackson Rd, we enjoyed the leisurely, wide trail back to Pinkham Notch Visitor Center.


Difficulty:  For this area of the White Mountains, this trail is Easy-Moderate.  However, on this day, there had been little snow and the trails were sheets of ice in many places which made it increasingly difficult even with proper traction.  Be sure to come prepared with proper winter gear.

Distance: 2-3 miles (depending on which offshoot/loop you do)


Recommendations: 

- This is a great little hike near the visitor center.  In the summer, it's a perfect stroll for families or someone looking for a short hike with a great view.

- Lila's Ledge is a dangerous overlook - especially in winter.  Watch your dogs, children, and yourself when navigating onto the ledge.

- In winter, weather conditions can change quickly in the notch with little warning.  Even for a short hike, plan ahead and be prepared for ice, snow, wind, and rain.  We wore multiple (non-cotton) layers, winter boots, microspikes, ski poles, and packed a winter emergency kit, AMC Presidential Map (#1), water, and snack.

- Warm up afterwards in the AMC Pinkham Notch Visitor Center with some hot chocolate or coffee. Get advice from the AMC guides and employees on winter conditions.

This was a great way to spend my birthday and finally get up to the White Mountains for a little adventure.  Even 7 months pregnant, I was able to get great views of notch and some of my favorite peaks.

Visit to Sabbaday Falls later that day

You might enjoy these winter hikes as well...

Carter Notch Hut in Winter

Skiing the Sherbie

Cold Night on the Mountain

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