Frequently Asked Questions

Looking towards the small summits of Sam Adams and Adams 4 from the Air Line trail. Photo from Adina Roskies, 2006.Shelters

How much does it cost to stay at your shelters?

Are there mattresses at the cabins?

Do I need to bring a stove?

Are the shelters open year 'round?

Can I make a reservation?

Where can I find more information on the Bio-Sun composting toilets?

What are the times to avoid at the cabins - when are they the busiest?

Who runs the stove at Gray Knob? How warm should I expect it to be up there?


Trails

How can I find out about the trail conditions now?

How long does it take to get up there?

What trails should I use in the winter?

What about avalanches?


Planning Your Trip

Where can I pitch a tent in the area?

Is there a group size limit at the camps?

What are the U.S. Forest Service rules and recommendations?


General Questions

When is peak foliage time in the White Mountains?

When are the bugs bad?

How can I volunteer for the club?

Can I really work for the RMC?

What are the GPS Coordinates for shelters, summits, and points of interest in the Randolph area?


How much does it cost to stay at your shelters?

  New Overnight Fee Structure - Effective April 1, 2013  
  Members Non-Members  
  Gray Knob $15.00 $20.00  
  Crag Camp $15.00 $20.00  
  The Perch $8.00 $10.00  
  Log Cabin $8.00 $10.00  
  Day-Use at All Shelters Free Free  

Fees are collected by the RMC caretaker, who will visit each shelter daily. If you do not see the caretaker during your stay, please mail your dues to: Treasurer, c/o Randolph Mountain Club, P.O. Box 279, Gorham, NH, 03581. You can also pay here on our website! Please visit our Stuff We Sell page and provide a donation for the amount you owe. Every year, several backcountry enthusiasts find a way to stay at our facilities for "free"... we appreciate your honesty!

For more information, please visit our About Our Shelters page.


Are there mattresses at the cabins?
Yes, mattresses are available at Crag Camp and Gray Knob. However, it is good practice to always carry a sleeping pad with you when hiking in the backcountry.


Do I need to bring a stove?
Yes, you will need to bring your own cooking stove, fuel, pots/pans, and utensils. Counter space and stove boards are provided for cooking. For your own safety, please do not use backcountry stoves in the bunkrooms.


Are the shelters open year 'round?
Yes, all of the RMC's shelters are open year 'round.


Can I make a reservation?
No, usage is on a first come, first-served basis. At times when a shelter is full, the RMC caretaker may ask some guests to relocate to another RMC facility.


Where can I find more information on the Bio-Sun composting toilets?
You can find more information at Bio-Sun's web site and at compostingtoilet.org.


What are the times to avoid at the cabins - when are they the busiest?
The camps are extremely busy on Washington's birthday, Victoria Day (Canadian holiday), Memorial Day, Labor Day, and Columbus Day weekends. The cabins also fill up most weekends in July and August.


Who runs the wood stove at Gray Knob? How warm should I expect it to be up there?
The RMC caretaker is in charge of the stove at all times. Even with the stove running, do not expect temperatures above 40 degrees inside the cabin. This is due to humidity problems if temperatures are too high, and the fact that we only have a limited amount of wood to last the entire winter.

For more information, see our page on What to Expect at Gray Knob During a Winter Overnight Stay.


How can I find out about the trail conditions now?
Trail conditions on Lowe's Path are posted here every Thursday. You can also find trail conditions posted at the Appalachian Mountain Club's web site.

Another option is to call either the U.S. Forest Service, at (603) 466-2713, or the AMC Front Desk, at (603) 466-2721.


How long does it take to get up there?
From Randolph East to the summit of Mt. Madison via Howker Ride/Osgood Trail: 4 hr 30 min (4.4 m).
From Appalachia to Crag Camp: 3 hr 10 min (3.3 m).
From Appalachia to the summit of Mt. Madison via Valley Way/Osgood Trail: 4 hr 15 min (4.4 m).
From Appalachia to the summit of Mt. Adams via Air Line: 4 hr 30 min (4.5 m).
From Lowe's Store to the Log Cabin: 2 hr 10 min (2.5 m).
From Lowe's Store to Gray Knob: 3 hr 10 min (3.3 m).
From Lowe's Store to The Perch: 3 hr 20 min (3.8 m).
From Lowe's Store to the summit of Mt. Adams via Lowe's Path: 4 hr 35 min (4.8 m).
From Bowman to The Perch: 3 hr 20 min (3.8 m).
From Bowman to the summit of Mt. Jefferson via Castle Trail: 4 hr 30 min (4.8 m).

Travel times vary greatly among individual hikers. We use the long standing AMC formula: 3 miles per hour on roads, 2 miles per hour on ordinary trails, plus 3 minutes for each 100 feet of vertical ascent. Qualitatively estimated extra time is added for unusually rough trails or very steep ascents and descents, such as ravine headwalls. This formula gives an approximation of the time required by a large and diverse group of hikers who travel at a comfortable, steady pace.

Information was taken from the RMC's Randolph Paths guidebook.


What trails should I use in the winter?
In general, you can only count on Lowe's Path and Valley Way for being reliably packed out by snowshoes. And, if there has been a snowstorm in the past several days, it's quite possible that those trails will also be untracked. The vast majority of the other trails in the area receive only sporadic use during the winter months.

Regardless, it's always wise to bring both snowshoes and crampons. Even if you're planning to stick to well-travelled paths, weather and events can conspire against you, and having crampons and snowshoes will increase the options available to you. Crampons are often a necessity on Lowe's Path, as well as above tree line.


What about avalanches?
As with any other area with the right mix of terrain and snow, avalanches do occur in the Northern Presidentials. They most often occur in King, Cascade and Castle Ravine, but have been known to occur on slopes as low angled as the Randolph Path. If you do not have avalanche training, avoid the ravines and use commonly used paths like Lowe's Path or Valley Way. It's always wise to check the current avalanche forecast before departing.


Where can I pitch a tent in the area?
The Perch offers four tent platforms for public use. There is a fee of $8 per person, per night (for RMC members) and $10 per person, per night (for non-RMC members) at the platforms.

The U.S. Forest Service tent platforms, off the Valley Way on Mount Madison, is another available option. No fee is required.


Is there a group size limit at the camps?
Group size is absolutely limited to ten. Splitting a larger group among RMC's facilities does not satisfy this requirement.


What are the U.S. Forest Service rules and recommendations?
The U.S. Forest Service Backcountry Camping Rules can be found at their web site (Adobe PDF file).

For more information, please read the Leave No Trace principles for RMC trails and shelters.


When is peak foliage time in the White Mountains?
Of course, the answer varies from year to year. But, in general, you can count on the foliage being at or near peak in the Northern Presidential area around the last week of September, through the first week of October.


When are the bugs bad?
To some, all the time. To others... hardly ever! Seriously, the worst time of year seems to be late May to mid June, though that time can vary significantly depending upon the timing of frosts, cold snaps and other weather conditions.


How can I volunteer for the club?
Just drop us an e-mail! Write to the RMC chair person you think is most appropriate. The best way to find out about volunteer opportunities, however, is simply to join the RMC. On our web site and in our newsletter, we post information about upcoming camps and trails work projects, and other volunteer needs. We look forward to meeting you!


Can I really work for the RMC?
Yes, you can! Please see our Mountain Jobs page for more information on seasonal employment with the Randolph Mountain Club.


What are the GPS Coordinates for the shelters, summits, and points of interest in the Randolph area?
Gray Knob - N44.33272 W71.30957
Crag Camp - N44.33498 W71.30260
The Perch - N44.32392 W71.31205
Log Cabin - N44.34030 W71.31538
Mt. Adams - N44.32067 W71.29198
Mt. Madison - N44.32872 W71.27728
Mt. Jefferson - N44.30420 W71.31720
Adams 4 - N44.32522 W71.30098
J.Q. Adams - N44.32432 W71.28828
Mt. Bowman - N44.33200 W71.34370
AMC's Madison Spring Hut - N44.32777 W71.28362
Pond of Safety - N44.40985 W71.34202
Mt. Randolph - N44.38828 W71.31855
Mt. Crescent - N44.40435 W71.29455
Lookout Ledge - N44.38052 W71.30837