A trailhead is the point at which a trail begins, where the trail is often intended for hiking, biking, horseback riding, or off-road vehicles. Modern trailheads often contain rest rooms, maps, sign posts and distribution centers for informational brochures about the trail and its features, and parking areas for vehicles and trailers.

Kiosk at a trailhead

Historically, the cities located at the terminus of major pathways for foot traffic such as the Natchez Trace and the Chisholm Trail were also known as trailheads.

For mountain climbing and hiking, the elevation of the trailhead above sea level is given to give an idea of how high the mountain is above the average terrain.

Starting point of Little stony man nature trail Shenandoah NP 2007
Trailhead sign

External links

  • Trailheads Crowd-sourced database of US trailheads
Algonquin Peak

Algonquin Peak is in the MacIntyre Range in the town of North Elba, in Essex County, New York. It is the second highest mountain in New York, and one of the 46 Adirondack High Peaks in Adirondack Park. Its name comes from its reputedly being on the Algonquian side of a nearby informal boundary between the Algonquian and their Iroquois neighbors.

Algonquin is popular with hikers, accessible from the popular Adirondak Loj trailhead near Heart Lake outside Lake Placid for a day trip. While the climb is shorter than that of nearby Mount Marcy, it is steeper, requiring almost as much vertical ascent in a considerably shorter distance.

The usual route is via the blue-blazed Van Hoevenberg Trail 0.9 miles (1.4 km) to its junction with the yellow-blazed MacIntyre Range Trail and following that the remaining 3.1 miles (5 km) to the summit, during which the route gets progressively steeper and rockier, going over many steep rock chutes called "slides".

The mountain's summit is an alpine zone above tree line, and views of the surrounding high peaks are available in all directions. However, the large numbers of hikers on the summit have in the past caused damage to the fragile plant life, and strict regulations have been put in place both at the trailhead and on the summit (all hikers must sign in; no dogs are allowed without a leash) to protect it. On busy days a Summit Steward both reminds hikers of these rules and educates them about the ecosystem.

Less frequently, the mountain is approached from the southeast via the steep, narrow, 2.1-mile (3.4 km) Boundary Trail from Lake Colden. This trail is also dangerous because of the poor markings and steep, slippery slides that streams have formed on.

Banks–Vernonia State Trail

The Banks–Vernonia State Trail is a paved rail trail and state park in northwest Oregon in the United States. It runs for 21 miles (34 km), primarily north–south, between the towns of Vernonia in Columbia County and Banks in Washington County on an abandoned railroad bed. Banks is about 25 miles (40 km) west of Portland.

The 8-foot (2.4 m) wide trail is open to non-motorized uses such as hiking and biking. A 4-foot (1.2 m) wide horse trail parallels the hiking and biking trail. The rail trail crosses 12 bridges and the Buxton Trestle, a former railroad trestle bridge that is 600 feet (180 m) long and 80 feet (24 m) high. A second railroad trestle, the Tophill (or Horseshoe) Trestle, was damaged by fire in 1986 and is bypassed with a series of switchbacks at the Tophill trailhead.

Amenities available at some locations in the park include picnicking, fishing, wildlife watching, forests, bird-watching, historic sites, public restrooms, parking, horse hitching posts, a loading platform, and a whistle stop shelter. The rail trail connects to a network of about 20 miles (32 km) of unpaved mountain-biking trails in L. L. "Stub" Stewart State Park. About 14,000 people used the rail trail in 2004.

Blue Mountain (New York)

Blue Mountain is a peak in the Adirondack Mountains of New York State in the United States. Located east of Blue Mountain Lake, Hamilton County, the peak reaches a height of 3750 ft/1143m. For hiking, the elevation gain is 1,559 feet (475 meters) and the trail length is four miles. The trailhead elevation is 2,200 feet (670.56 meters). It is the location of the Blue Mountain Fire Observation Station, listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2001.

Cape Cod Rail Trail

The Cape Cod Rail Trail (CCRT) is a 25.5-mile (41.0 km) paved rail trail located on Cape Cod in Massachusetts. The trail route passes through the towns of Yarmouth, Dennis, Harwich, Brewster, Orleans, Eastham, and Wellfleet. It connects to the 6-plus mile (10 km) Old Colony Rail Trail leading to Chatham, the 2 mile Yarmouth multi-use trail, and 8 miles (13 km) of trails within Nickerson State Park. Short side trips on roads lead to national seashore beaches including Coast Guard Beach at the end of the Nauset Bike Trail in Cape Cod National Seashore. The entire trail is part of the Claire Saltonstall Bike Route (a.k.a. MA Bike Route 1).

Cascade Mountain (New York)

Cascade Mountain is in Essex County of New York. It is one of the 46 Adirondack High Peaks (36th) and is located in the Adirondack Park. Its name comes from a series of waterfalls on a brook near the mountain's base. The lake it flows into and the pass between Cascade and Pitchoff mountains are also named Cascade.

Cascade Mountain towers over the Van Hoevenberg ski center, the venue for bobsledding at the 1980 Winter Olympics.

Of the 46 Adirondack High Peaks, Cascade is the most accessible and the most frequently climbed. The main trailhead is on Route 73, 6 miles (10 km) east of Lake Placid, at Cascade Pass, overlooking Cascade Lake. The summit is visible from the trailhead, a rare occurrence in the High Peaks.

The well-used trail follows red plastic markers and takes the hiker up 2.2 miles (4.6 km) and almost 2,000 vertical feet (600 vertical m) to the mountain's bare-rock summit, which, while it resembles the alpine summits found on many higher peaks, is instead the result of a 1903 fire.

Views are possible in all directions, and on a clear day with good weather one often finds many hikers on the summit.

Porter Mountain, another of the High Peaks, is an easy side-trip. The summit of Porter Mountains is 0.7 miles from Cascade Mountain Trail. The two summits can be reached together on a 6.2-mile hike.

Chatfield Trail

The Chatfield Trail is a 4.7-mile Blue-Blazed hiking trail located within the town of Killingworth, Connecticut.

The northern trailhead is directly across from Chatfield Hollow State Park on Route 80. There is a good parking area outside the park's entrance. The trailhead is well marked on the South side of Route 80 just across the street from the park's entrance. The one-way route is 4.7 miles to the southern trailhead on River Road though there is also a 0.75-mile alternate trail that loops off the main trail.

There is also a second northern trailhead entrance that is located on the south side of Route 80, about 0.3 miles west of the park entrance where there is a rough pullover area for 4 or 5 cars. From this old trailhead you can take a short 0.1-mile Blue and White trail east to the Blue-Blaze trail.

The northern section of the trail is located within Cockaponset State Forest. The southern sections of the trail pass near Deer Lake Camp and through privately owned property ending at River Road, just west of the intersection of Papermill Road and River Road. River Road has a small pullover for 1 or 2 cars that can be used to access the southern trailhead.

Desolation Wilderness

The Desolation Wilderness is a 63,960-acre (258.8 km2) federally protected wilderness area in the Eldorado National Forest and Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit, in El Dorado County, California. The crest of the Sierra Nevada runs through it, just west of Lake Tahoe.

Hadley Mountain

Hadley Mountain is a mountain located in the southern Adirondacks in the U.S. state of New York and is the second highest peak in Saratoga County after neighboring Tenant Mountain. The Hadley Mountain Fire Observation Station was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on September 23, 2001 for its role as a Fire lookout tower with the New York State Forest Preserve. Hadley Mountain is the highest of the three peaks that form the West Mountain ridge.

Hyndman Peak

Hyndman Peak, at an elevation of 12,009 feet (3,660 m) above sea level, is the ninth highest peak in Idaho and the highest point in the Pioneer Mountains, Sawtooth National Forest, and Blaine County. Hyndman Peak is located on the border of Custer and Blaine counties. The towns of Hailey, Ketchum, and Sun Valley are west of the peak.

The mountain was named after Major William Hyndman, an early settler, and businessperson in the local mining industry. The first recorded ascent of Hyndman Peak was made in 1889 by W. T. Griswold and E. T. Perkins. The primary route to the summit is class 2, which along with its proximity to Sun Valley makes it a popular destination.

The trailhead to hike to Hydman Peak is located at the end of Sawtooth National Forest road 203 along Hyndman Creek. The primary route is approximately six miles (9.5 km) one way from the trailhead and traverses through Hyndman Basin, which is bordered by Hyndman, Old Hyndman, and Cobb Peaks. The route follows an unmaintained trail and ascends the Hyndman-Old Hyndman saddle before reaching the summit.

Mount Colden

Mount Colden is the eleventh-highest peak in the High Peaks of the Adirondack Mountains, New York, United States.

The peak was named after David S. Colden, an investor in the McIntyre Iron Works, in 1836. The peak was briefly renamed "Mount McMartin" the next year, but the older name persisted. The mountain is known for its distinctive Trap Dike, a large crevice running up the center of the mountain, which can clearly be seen from Avalanche Lake.

There are two maintained trails up Mount Colden. The first, which approaches from the northeast, passes by Lake Arnold before ascending the summit after crossing over several false summits. This trail was laid out in 1966 to replace a steeper trail which ascended the southeast face of the mountain and which was abandoned by 1975. The second trail, which is steeper, approaches from the southwest, starting from Lake Colden. Both approaches can be reached from the popular Adirondak Loj trailhead. After hiking from the Loj to the Avalanche Lean-Tos, climbers can head southwest through Avalanche Pass and past Avalanche Lake to reach Lake Colden and the trail to Colden from the southwest. Alternatively, they can head southeast to reach Lake Arnold and the northeast approach. Lake Colden and the southwest approach can also be reached from the Upper Works trailhead. Finally, the summit of Mount Colden can be reached by climbing the Trap Dike from Avalanche Lake. This approach leads to a long slide and a short bushwhack to the summit. This last approach does not follow a maintained trail, is extremely steep in places, and should be used with caution.

Mount Massive Wilderness

The Mount Massive Wilderness is a federally designated wilderness area in the Sawatch Range, located in the U.S. state of Colorado. It is operated jointly by the United States Forest Service and the Fish and Wildlife Service as part of the San Isabel National Forest and the Leadville National Fish Hatchery. It is 30,540 acres (123.6 km2) in size, with 27,980 acres (113.2 km2) in San Isabel National Forest and 2,560 acres (10.4 km2) in Leadville National Fish Hatchery, and it was designated by the US Congress in 1980. The name comes from Mount Massive, the second highest peak in Colorado, located inside the wilderness. Elevations in the wilderness range from 9,700 feet (3,000 m) to 14,421 feet (4,396 m). It is the only federally designated wilderness area within the National Fish Hatchery System.On the west side, the Continental Divide separates the Mount Massive Wilderness from the

Hunter-Fryingpan Wilderness, part of the White River National Forest.

Trailheads accessing the wilderness are:

Hagerman Pass Road – The Colorado Trail, Native Lake and Windsor Lake Trailhead

US Fish Hatchery – The Rock Creek Trailhead

Halfmoon Creek Trailhead – Mt. Elbert/Mt. Massive Trailhead and the North Halfmoon Lake Trailhead

Owls Head Mountain

Owls Head Mountain is a 2,812-foot (857 m) mountain in Long Lake, New York in the Adirondack Park.

It can be climbed from a trailhead on Endion Road off New York Route 30, just north of the hamlet of Long Lake. The trail provides a 3.2-mile (5.1 km) ascent with a gain of 1,200-foot (370 m); a side trail leads to Lake Eaton.The view from the summit includes 14-mile (23 km) Long Lake, part of the Raquette River. A 30-foot (9.1 m) Aermotor steel fire tower affords a 360-degree view of the central Adirondacks and Adirondack High Peaks region; nearer peaks include Kempshall Mountain on the shore of Long Lake, and the fire towers of Blue Mountain, Wakely Mountain, Snowy Mountain, Goodnow Mountain and Mount Arab. The trail to the summit passes the foundation of the old fire observer's cabin.

Saint Regis Mountain

Saint Regis Mountain is a 2,874-foot (876 m) mountain in the town of Santa Clara, New York, in Franklin County at the center of the Saint Regis Canoe Area in the Adirondack Park.

It can be climbed from a trailhead on Keese Mills Road in Keese Mill, west of Paul Smiths. The trail is a gradual 3.3 mile ascent with a gain of 1168 feet.The view from the summit includes thirty lakes, including the Upper and Lower Saranac Lake, and Upper and Lower Saint Regis Lake. The Adirondack High Peaks can also be seen.

The summit is bare rock, having been cleared by a fire started accidentally by a surveying party led by Verplanck Colvin in 1876. The St. Regis Mountain Fire Observation Station is at the summit was restored in 2016 and is now open to the public.

Spring Mountains National Recreation Area

The Spring Mountains National Recreation Area (SMNRA) is a U.S. National Recreation Area, administered by the U.S. Forest Service, west of Las Vegas, Nevada. It covers over 316,000 acres (494 sq mi; 1,280 km2). The area runs from low meadows (around 3,000 feet or 910 meters above sea level), to the 11,918-foot (3,633 m) Mount Charleston. The SMNRA is a part of the Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest. It adjoins the Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area, which is administered by the Bureau of Land Management.

Spring Mountains National Recreation Area is home to several plant and animal species that are threatened. This was the driving force to create the Mount Charleston Wilderness area.

The SMNRA offers activities such as hiking, picnicking, and skiing at the Las Vegas Ski and Snowboard Resort.

Starvation Creek State Park

Starvation Creek State Park is a state park located west of Hood River, Oregon in the Columbia River Gorge. It was named Starvation Creek because a train was stopped there by snow drifts and passengers had to dig out the train. No one starved there.Starvation Creek has a small waterfall and a trailhead for hiking.

Sugarloaf Mountain (Dutchess County, New York)

Sugarloaf Mountain is a 900-foot (270 m) peak located in the town of Fishkill near the Hudson River and Breakneck Ridge. One of several similarly named mountains in the U.S. state of New York, it is part of the Hudson Highlands, located entirely within Hudson Highlands State Park.

It can be climbed via the Wilkinson Memorial Trail, which has its western trailhead a mile (1.6 km) from the summit on New York State Route 9D along the Hudson River, opposite the Breakneck Ridge station on Metro-North Railroad's Hudson Line. The trail climbs gently at first but then steeply as it approaches the summit plateau. At either end there are panoramic views over the river's Newburgh Bay, surrounding mountains and nearby communities.

Tanner Trail

The Tanner Trail is a hiking trail located on the South Rim of the Grand Canyon National Park, located in the U.S. state of Arizona. The trailhead is located at Lipan Point, a prominent lookout located to the east of the Grand Canyon Village and it ends at the Colorado River at Tanner Rapids.

Trailhead Fire

The Trailhead Fire was a wildfire burning in the Middle Fork American River canyon in both Placer County & El Dorado County, California. As of June 30, 2016 the fire has consumed 1,264 acres (5.12 km2) and is 12% contained.

Wetterhorn Peak

Wetterhorn Peak (Wetterhorn is German and means Weather Horn) is a fourteen thousand foot mountain peak in the U.S. state of Colorado. It is located in the Uncompahgre Wilderness of the northern San Juan Mountains, in northwestern Hinsdale County and southeastern Ouray County, 9 miles (14 km) east of the town of Ouray. It lies 2.75 mi (4.4 km) west of Uncompahgre Peak.

Wetterhorn Peak, and its neighbor Matterhorn Peak, 13,590 ft (4,142 m), are named after the Wetterhorn and the Matterhorn, two famous peaks in the Swiss Alps. Both Colorado peaks are pointed rock spires (hence resembling their namesake peaks), whose shapes contrast with the broad bulk of the higher Uncompahgre Peak.The first recorded ascent of the peak was made in 1906 by George Barnard, C. Smedley, W. P. Smedley, and D. Utter, but a previous ascent by miners working in the area in the 19th century is likely.The standard, and only common, route on Wetterhorn Peak is the southeast ridge, which is accessed via the Matterhorn Creek drainage on the south side of the mountain. The trailhead is on the Henson Creek Road, accessible from Lake City. The route involves 3,535 ft (1,077 m) of ascent from the trailhead and some exposed scrambling (Class 3/4) on the ridge itself. The nearby east face is considered a high-quality advanced snow climb or extreme ski descent.


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