Franconia Ridge

Franconia Ridge

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Hike To Hermit Lake and Sled Down Sherburne

I spent Saturday laying low and relaxing due to not feeling well. Today I felt better but decided not to take on a 4,000 footer and instead find a short hike just to get some fresh air. It was supposed to be a beautiful day so I thought a hike up to Hermit Lake and sledding down the Sherburne Ski Trail would be just what the Doctor ordered!

I took my time and got a late morning start. When I arrived at the Pinkham Notch Visitor Center there was still available space in the parking lot. The sun was shining brightly and there wasn't a cloud in the sky. I was using my old backpack and attached my Zipfy sled to it. When I got to the Tuckerman Ravine Trail I put on my microspikes although it could have been barebooted.

The first thing I noticed as I began my hike up was that there was a lot of snow. The trail was well packed but did have some loose snow on it. As it began to get warmer I stayed on the shady side of the trail as the snow was getting soft in the sun. There was a lot of skiers and snowboarders heading up but I saw no other sleds except for mine.

I arrived at Hermit Lake to a large crowd as expected. There was a spot to sit and relax on the deck at the caretaker cabin while basking in the sun under a clear blue cloudless sky. Everyone seemed to be watching the skiers high up on Hillman's Highway. There was a lot of snow up there and it looked like excellent skiing conditions from what I could see.

I could have stayed up there longer but I was anxious to start my sled descent. I placed all my loose items inside my pack and strapped my trekking poles up on the side of the pack. I walked down to the Sherburne Ski Trail and started my webcam. The trail starts out flat and I had to walk just a bit before it started to drop down and I could get some momentum.

There were a few more short stretches of walking and then it was a non-stop wild ride to the bottom. There were no icy areas that I have experienced before when doing this run. At times I would slow down but then there would be a steep drop that would propel me past the next flat section. The trail was packed powder and it was an awesome ride down!

I got to the bottom having had the trail all to myself. Several skiers came up behind me as I was starting to walk back to the parking lot. The 2.4 mile sled run took me 13 minutes and 41 seconds to get down. It was a perfect day with perfect trail conditions. Spring is here and conditions will be changing but there is still a lot of snow and there should be plenty of opportunity for those that want to make the run down whether on skis, snowboards or sleds.

The video of my ride down is at the bottom of this post. Sit back and enjoy the ride down!

Mount Adams as I was leaving the driveway

Mount Madison from Route 16

Passing by Mount Adams

Mount Jefferson

Mount Washington Observatory in the upper left

The hike starts here

Checking the avalanche report at the trailhead

Crystal Cascade

Looking up the Sherburne Ski Trail

Wildcat ski area from the Tuckerman Ravine Trail

Water is running beneath this snow

Lots of snow on the trail

Zooming in on a skier heading up Hillman's Highway

A lot more up to go for this skier

Arriving at Hermit Lake

The vastness of Tuckerman Ravine

Lion Head above the caretaker cabin

Avalanche report at Hermit Lake

Another skier heading up Hillman's Highway

Zooming out on same skier

Skier is in the center of the photo

Enjoying the blue sky and sunshine at Hermit Lake

A lot of snow at the shelter

Several skiers climbing up Hillman's Highway

At the end of an exhilarating ride down the John Sherburne Ski Trail

Having Fun in the Great Outdoors!


  1. The sled was very nice. Our family is getting there for Easter. I hope for similar conditions.

    1. There's been a lot of melting but still a lot of snow in the higher elevations.

  2. As always, fabulous photos and trip report. It was fun watching you sled down the ski trail!

    1. Glad you enjoyed it, that was the best sled ride ever!