On a clear day, Lookout Ledge provides an unparalleled view of the north side of Mount Madison and Mount Adams, looking straight up King Ravine. On a cloudy day, the trip to it provides some of the best lichen and mushroom variety in the White Mountains.
On this trip, the rain had soaked the mountain the day prior to the hike and the clouds were still covering mountaintops. The trail on the east side rises up through thick foliage and tall trees. There are numerous mushrooms, insects, and lichens along the way.
At an intersection, the trail leaves the thick forest and heads west into some lower foliage, but it continues to climb, passing a wide variety of lichen and moss. Then it descends briefly but a little bit steeply and reaches the ledge.
The ledge is a large granite slab with superb views, including a great view of Durand Lake near the Appalachia parking area for trails to Madison Hut. One year we saw a fantastic rainbow over Durand Lake.
A little way past the slab the descent begins. It is fairly steep and narrow, and after a rain is slippery for an extended distance. The descent then becomes blocky and again can be slippery. Some of the rocks are unstable as well.
The trail flattens and goes through a number of partly cleared areas and then dives back into the woods. The slope here is more forgiving and eventually ends up at the road.
The road is the final segment of the loop and brings you back to the beginning.
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