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Mount Isolation - Trail to Summit

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July 24, 2012 / Comments (9)

Mount Isolation


Sunday was number 41 for me (can you believe it!? I can’t either, because I miscalculated before!) My last post was my Presidential Traverse and suddenly I’m at 41 peaks…. Well I have been a little lazy. I never posted about my Garfield/Galehead hike or the Wildcats (from forever ago). Sometimes life gets in the way. I also hiked a Bonds Traverse almost a month ago. I edited the pictures and posted them on Meetup and my facebook, but then I went to Acadia National Park for a week. When I came back I began my second class for my masters program and then when I was finally going to get around to writing a really long trip report, my laptop battery died. I am currently using my boyfriend’s computer and the pictures are on a currently unusable computer. Maybe it’ll be up before I finish my 48 🙂

This past weekend was gorgeous and I decided to take a last minute trip to the White Mountains. I decided on Thursday that I would hike Mount Isolation. Sunday was the big day! It was really difficult to decide which trail to take. You can take the popular (easier) Rocky Branch Trail round trip, but the views aren’t great. You can also take Glen Boulder Trail roundtrip and have to go back up 1500 feet when going back to your car… no thanks. I decided to actually go up Glen Boulder and down Rocky Branch and catch a ride back to my car. The plan worked out perfectly. Thank you Mike for your help and informative trip report which really influenced my decision.

Glen Ellis Falls is really popular because it is home to a short (but steep) trail to a really large boulder that delicately balances on the edge of a ridge. It is less than two miles to the boulder and you get spectacular views of the Wildcats and Carters as well as a look deep into the valley.


The trail starts off right away, but is a nice mix of steep and flatter terrain. At .8 mile the trail crosses the Avalanche Brook Ski Trail. The first water crossing (pictured below) is very easy to cross.


When taking this route, the hike ends up being 13.3 miles round trip with 3900 feet of elevation.There are at least two bushwhacks you can do which can save at least 1.4 miles, but I did this one solo and do not yet have a GPS so I didn’t risk it.

Before reaching Glen Boulder, you get a couple of glimpses of the view before heading into the conifers.
Steep climb before the reward!

This trail has some of the most rewarding views, especially for only having to hike 1.6 miles to reach Glen Boulder. I still had a long way down to Isolation.

I was lucky enough to be able to enjoy a treat on my way up! These were the biggest blueberries of all the bunches I saw, but they were all sweet and ready for picking!

I had to be one of those big dorks that pretends to hold up the boulder… very dramatic, I know.

I noticed there were a lot of cairns to follow above treeline which is great for winter. However, the blazes need some repainting. Many of them are very faded, especially on Glen Boulder Trail and there are a couple of tricky spots when navigating. 
Views of Washington in the distance

Strange cloud that caught my attention

This is a stream crossing between Davis Path and the Isolation Trail. The Mount Isolation Trail doesn’t get a lot of attention (sorry for the lack of pictures) and had a lot of blowdowns. Some were easy to bypass, but others took a little more effort. This is where the trail got pretty soupy. I’m glad I had my waterproof hiking boots and long pants. The bugs weren’t too bad (especially if you kept moving), but I was able to keep all the debris from going over sticks and trees as well as mud out of my boots.

Heading to the Isolation Trail!

A nice break on flat terrain with a wonderful breeze. This was heaven.

The Mount Isolation sign is pretty high- don’t miss it!

After many miles, I made it to the summit cairn. Another peak with beautiful views!

If you like benchmarks, Isolation has one!

 
                        From the summit of Isolation you can look North to Mount Washington and Boott Spur and the rest of the Southern Presidentials. The picture directly above is Mount Eisenhower. You also have a great view of Hale, North Twin, Willey, Field, and Tom. There are numerous other 4ks peaking from behind closer mountains.

After taking in the beautiful surroundings, I went on my way to the Rocky Branch Trail. This trail wasn’t anything too crazy and I just pushed to the end. Going up Glen Boulder and down Rocky Branch is, in my opinion, a great option. It’s shorter than taking Rocky Branch RT and you get the views from the Glen Boulder Trail without having to go up 1500 feet after summiting Mount Isolation. Book time is 8:35 and I did it in 7:20. Not too bad!

This is (I believe) the final stream crossing. I managed to get across all the crossings (around 5) without falling in. I impressed myself! The most difficult part of the day had to be driving back. I had to go South on Route 16 on a Sunday afternoon in July: what was I thinking?

Quick Facts:

Approach from: Glen Ellis Falls Trailhead
Height: 4003′
Distance: 13.3 miles rountrip
Elevation Gain: 3800′
Time:  8:35 book time; my hike 7:20

Directions to trailhead:
The trailhead is on Route 16 in Jackson, NH. Look can up Glen Ellis Falls or what I did was plug ‘Dana Place Inn’ into my GPS. The Rocky Branch Trailhead is very close to this inn and Glen Ellis Falls is another five minutes away. If you reach the Pinkham Notch Visitor Center, you went too far!

Last modified: November 28, 2014

9 Responses to :
Mount Isolation

  1. Linda W. says:

    Great job! Looks like an interesting hike. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Mike Cherim says:

    Nice shot of the boulder push. Not dorky, just classic. That is a strange cloud!

  3. Jesse Lacasse says:

    Great job again. I love your writing and the great pictures. I hope you’ll continue to post even after you have done all 48 !!

  4. Thanks for all the positive feedback! Jesse, I will keep writing. After all, I will still be hiking. Next on the list is a mix of doing the 4ks in winter (eventually) and the New England Hundred Highest list!

  5. Gerad says:

    Keep posting love reading about your adventures. Looks like you may have the 48 done before winter 🙂 what an awesome accomplishment.

  6. Jes Stolpp says:

    With 4 done 41 sounds so far away! Thanx for the inspiration this sat will bring three more for myself! Nice job!

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  9. Hillary Collins says:

    I’m so glad I found this article. Thanks for posting. Can you tell me more about how you got a ride back to your car? Is there Uber out there? Lol …. Or leave to chance and hitch?

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