Franconia Ridge

Franconia Ridge

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Mount Isolation via Glen Boulder Trail

Another weekend starting off with favorable weather and promising a great day for hiking. The plan for today was to join fellow hikers Denise and her brother Roger for a hike to Mount Isolation (4003') via the Glen Boulder Trail and Davis Path. Denise is very close to completing her 48 4,000 footers and Roger has already completed them.

 Sun rising as I leave for the trailhead


 Water crossing


I arrived at the Glen Ellis Falls parking area and soon saw Denise coming through the woods from the other side of the parking lot but her brother had not arrived. After waiting we decided to start our hike when he didn't show and could not contact him. We found out later after a phone call that he was not feeling well and would not be hiking today.

 Approaching Glen Boulder

Shortly after 7:00 am we started our ascent on the Glen Boulder Trail. It was a nice cool start but was  not long before I was down to short sleeves and shorts. There were two other hikers ahead of us on their way to Mount Washington, they were soon out of sight and did not see them again.

 Going up

 Enjoying the view

When we reached treeline there were three hikers resting, they were also going to Mount Washington and as we looked to the summit there were some dark clouds passing over it. As we took a brief break they continued their hike. We met up with them again at Glen Boulder. We stopped for some photos before moving on and leapfrogged with them before finally leaving them behind far up on the trail.

There is a nice forest that the trail passes through providing shade, a thick blanket of moss covering the ground and protection during periods of high winds. A short spur trail leads to a spring. I consider this area somewhat of an "oasis" above treeline.

Davis Path trail junction

Rocky Branch trail junction

After emerging from the trees and into open terrain I could see a signpost far above. We reached the trail junction and turned south onto the Davis Path. There was a nice cool breeze blowing as we began our 2.8 mile descent to Mount Isolation.

 Wood grouse

Wood grouse with young ones on the trail

Mount Isolation 

I heard a dull pounding sound behind me and turned to see a trail runner coming up fast. He passed by and it wasn't long before he met us coming back after reaching the summit of Isolation. This was the only person we had seen so far on the Davis Path, that would soon change.

Standing on the summit of Mount Isolation

We reached the summit of Mount Isolation and there were no other hikers around. Within a few minutes the first of many hikers were on the summit, I lost count. After lunch and some photos we were ready to make our return ascent back up the Davis Path to the Glen Boulder Trail.

Summit trail

I found this part of the hike to be very trying. My legs started developing some painful cramps and required me to dramatically slow my pace. More water, Gatorade and rest helped overcome the cramps and I continued on.

Summit of Mount Isolation in the distance

Zooming in on the summit of Isolation from high up on the Davis Path

Back above treeline again we were met by the same cool breeze, very refreshing! It was a gradual climb to the Glen Boulder Trail junction where we made our final 3.2 mile decsent to the parking lot.

 Starting the descent on the Glen Boulder Trail

Just above Glen Boulder, standing in a clearing off the side of the trail was Denise's brother Roger. He was feeling better and decided to hike up. It was nice to meet him and we all descended to the Glen Ellis parking lot.

A last look back at Glen Boulder

Dropping down below treeline

In hindsight I would probably have spotted a car at the Rocky Branch parking lot and descended the Rocky Branch Trail from Mount Isolation. But I had to experience this out and back hike once. It was nice to have Denise along after having done many of my hikes solo. This was #34 on my list of completed 4,000 footers and it was an awesome hike! 

Panoramic view from Mount Isolation

Having Fun in the Great Outdoors!


  1. Great hike, Don! Sorry if I held you back; of the 44 4ks I've done, this was the most challenging. Very nice pics and description of a remarkable area!

    1. Didn't hold me back at all, Denise! I was a little concerned early in the hike when the dark clouds rolled over Washington but it turned out to be a fantastic day with some awesome views!