On Mountain Hikes & Waterfalls

COVID-19 UPDATE: While we’re hopeful about reopening our mountain operations this summer, it is too early to announce specific opening dates or activities. We’re closely monitoring the situation with COVID-19 and will continue to follow the guidance of public health officials to determine when it’s safe to resume operations.

Hiking The Cat

The White Mountains are notorious for beautiful hiking trails with spectacular scenery.  Located 100% in National Forest land, Wildcat is happy to offer a number of trails of varied intensity.

Summiting Wildcat

In the winter months, Wildcat is widely known across New England as an "uphill" friendly mountain as many will skin their way up a designated uphill rout to the summit along the Polecat Trails to the summit to "earn their turns." During the summer the Polecat Trails are a great trail that most intermediate hikers can tackle. This 2100+ foot ascent climbs up the left side of the ski resort. 

Wildcat has 5 summits: A, B, C, D and E. The summit of Wildcat Ski Area is D. Wildcat A and D are considered part of New Hampshire's 4,000 Footers. The 4062 ft summit of Wildcat D offers spectacular views of Mount Washington and the Presidential Range and stop by the observation deck for an even grander vantage point. Hikers wishing to summit Wildcat D only (4.7 miles) can start at the base of Wildcat Ski Area and begin their assent on the designated hiking trail, the Polecat Trails. To hike the entire Wildcat Ridge (A-R) (8.4 miles) hikers most commonly set out from Pinkham Notch Visitor Center on the Lost Pond Trail, which runs approximately one mile before meeting the Wildcat Ridge Trail. From that junction, hikers experience a steep climb but great views from open ledges on the trail, which makes its way to each of the Wildcat peaks, including the D Peak.

Wildcat Mountain:

  • Location:  Wildcat Mountain
  • Distance: 4.7 miles (or 8.4 miles if you hike Wildcat A - E)
  • Difficulty:  Moderate-Difficult

Please Note: When summiting Wildcat during winter operations, guests are required to check in at Guest Services and must display a ticket/season pass while on trail. For your safety and that of our guests downhill skiing and riding, we ask that you stick to the designated hiking trails, the Polecat Trails only.

The Way of the Wildcat & Thompson Falls Trails

Beginning at the Base of Wildcat Ski Area, these two hikes are relatively easy and great for youngsters. 

The Way of the Wildcat 

This is a short, ½-mile loop at the base area of Wildcat and nearby forest. Follow the paw prints along the way to learn about the natural surroundings at information stations along the route. If you’re looking for more adventure, continue along this path  to the Thompson Brook Waterfalls, a picturesque series of cascades not to be missed!

  • Location:  Wildcat Mountain
  • Distance: 0.5 miles
  • Time: 30 minutes 
  • Difficulty:  Easy

Thompson Falls

Starting at the base area of Wildcat follow the self-guided nature trail (The Way of the Wildcat) to the service road. After crossing the road, walk along the side of Thompson Brook to the falls; this series of cascades will be on your left. The trail ends at the top of the third cascade.

  • Location:  Wildcat Mountain
  • Distance: 1 mile
  • Time: 45 minutes 
  • Difficulty:  Easy