Via. Square Ledge Trail 1 mile round-trip
Square Ledge can be seen from the Visitor’s Center at Pinkham Notch. It is a prominent feature on the side of Wildcat Mountain and offers great views of Washington, Madison and Adams, as well as Pinkham Notch. It is also a short and moderate .5 mile hike to the top of the ledge from the Pinkham Notch parking area.
Beginning on NH 16, drive north towards Gorham and Berlin, the Pinkham Notch Visitor’s Center is located before the Mt. Washington auto road and Wildcat ski area. There is a day use fee for parking here but they have loads of amenities. Cross NH 16 towards the trail for Lost Pond. Immediately after crossing the Ellis River (bridged) the trail for square ledge diverges to the left. It climbs at a moderate grade, swinging to the right and east crossing over a ski trail. Be careful to stay on the hiking trail marked with blue blazes, the ski trail is marked with blue diamonds. As you ascend you pass Hangover Rock, an interesting geologic feature and ascend to the base of the ledge. From here it is about 50 yards of harder scrambling to reach the top, but the views are well worth the effort. Follow the V-slot up the side of the ledge, there are some old rock stairs that remain intact but use caution as some of the rocks move. When done simply return the way you came.
Square Ledge is an easy hike with breathtaking views into Tuckerman’s Ravine and across to the Presidential Range. It is popular for families with younger children and offers a great short hike for those new to the sport. This is also a very popular place for rock climbers so you may be luck enough to see some people climbing on the ledge. However, do not attempt to climb the ledge without proper equipment and training. It is also a great spot for a picnic. There are no obstacles that would hinder a dog’s ability to climb with you, but I would suggest leashing as it is a popular hike and it is close to a busy highway.
Distance from Pinkham Notch Parking:
Square Ledge (2,500 feet): .5 miles: 500 feet elevation