A great foliage hike is a must for a true New Hampshire adventurer. It can be challenging to pick just the right one on just the right day because you want peak colors but with clear sky and no rain! This year the Welch- Dickey Loop Trail was just the trail to hike. It’s a very popular hike and considered a moderate hike. This is a good rating for this hike so long as it’s not wet. Welch-Dickey can be found off of 93 by taking the Campton/Waterville Valley exit, from the south it’s exit 28. At the end of the exit you’ll follow route 49 through Campton toward Waterville Valley. You’ll turn left onto Upper Mad River and then you’ll turn right onto Orris Road. The parking lot is on this road. The trail head is located in Thornton, which was named after Matthew Thornton, who was one of the members of the continental congress. He was one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence.
Remember when hiking to pack your hiking backpack appropriately. On top of any mountain the weather can suddenly get cold and/ or rainy so warm clothes and rain gear are always advisable. Hiking boots are strongly recommended because the rock can get slippery when wet. Trekking poles aren’t a bad idea either. Always remember safety first!
This is a great hike with the opportunity to hike two mountains, Welch first at 2605’ and Dickey second at 2734’. The first ledged clearing is only about 45 minutes to an hour in and offers a stunning view of Waterville Valley and some amazing foliage colors. You can also see the way up to the top of Welch Mountain from here and some of the rock face you’ll be traversing. Due to the open slabs, hiking up the steep rock face slopes when wet can be extremely slippery. So while in a dry cycle this hike can be pretty family friendly, even adults should take caution when wet. The loop is a fairly relaxing 4.5 miles with stunning views all the way up and down. The trail travels counter clockwise. It crosses a small brook that continues to run parallel with the trail for some time. After the first clearing the rare jack pine can be seen along the trail. These trees are only found in five locations in New Hampshire. After the clearing the steady climb up Welch really begins. It’s a steep hike with impressive panoramic views of New Hampshire. The top of Welch Mountain does not skimp on views either. The colorful foliage brightened up the slightly grayer day. Even the decent of Welch Mountain was lovely.
The second half of the trail was the trek up and down Dickey Mountain. The incline up Dickey is a little less steep then the climb up Welch. Dickey offers beautiful views at the top and nice place to sit and rest but for prime scenery the most amazing outlook is on the open face slab on the descent. The view here is amazing because you can see the two mountains you have hike over as well as a beautiful color filled valley below. The peaking foliage fills the valley with amazing coloring. It’s a slab rock clearing affording a 180 degree view. The descent after this is a pretty fairytalish hike through lovely trees, and bright yellow foliage. In the spring forest flowers dot the landscape. The trail down is like a romantic scene from a fantasy. It’s well groomed and easy to follow.
This is a beautiful hike so if you don’t mind a few extra people around it’s a wonderful way to enjoy a day! When the hike is finished there is a tavern on the way back to the highway called The Mad River Tavern. It offers warm tasty food after a long hike. I suggest the chili or the chowder after a cold fall hike.
The weather is cooling. The air is crisp with wisps of wood stove smoke and fresh apples. Fall is upon us and it’s time to celebrate. Pumpkin pie, apple cider and foliage for all. It’s time to make some hardy comfort food and nestling by the fire during the eventing! But what to do during the day??? See foliage, hike … How about a foliage festival? New Hampshire Magazine has released a list of festivals. Check out the attached article.
Saturday was a great day for a hike. The sky was clear the sun was shining it was just warm enough to enjoy a hike without being too hot! It was also the first day of fall and the glorious calls of fall were already peeking out of their green shell to give an early flash of their vibrant reds, oranges, gold and yellows. It was a perfect day to explore Mount Crawford. It was about a 5 mile hike up and back. It is a 3119′ mountain. Make sure to always check the weather before hiking. Storms can be very dangerous in the mountains. Also a cloudy or fog day will limit the astounding views.
We took Davis Path to reach the peak of Mount Crawford. Davis Path was cut in 1845 by Nathaniel Davis. Davis was the son-in-law of Abel and Hannah Crawford. The Crawfords and their growing family were the first family permitted to move into the Notch. They held such an influence on the area that the notch was named after them. The Crawfords opened an inn and became known for guiding people up to Mount Washington. Davis cut the path up the Mount Crawford and all the way to Mount Washington. The path was 14.4 miles long and ran through the Presidentials and Dry River Wilderness. In the late 1800s the trail fell into disarray and was brought back up to adventure quality by Appalachian Mountain Club (AMC).
Davis Path trailhead is right off of route 302 about 6 miles north of Bear Notch Road. It has a good size parking lot. It doesn’t seem to be a very popular hike even though when the weather is nice it provides amazing views of Mount Washington, Tuckerman’s Ravine, Mount Carrigain, and Frankenstein Cliffs. A large bridge over the Saco River, Called Bemis Bridge, is at the beginning of the trail. The trail starts out gradually but then become rather steadily steep. The trail runs along a cliff for some time. The sound of running water and song birds is the sound track. Early on the path is very gravelly so it can be a trip hazard. Be careful especially on the descent. The hike is five miles round trip after about 1.5 – 2 miles the views out over the notch are amazing on a clear day. The peak offers both trees and rock but a short stroll around the summit will give you a clear view in all directions. We decided to have our snack and rest facing Mount Washington. It was breath taking. The foliage was just beginning to change. Reds, oranges and golds mixed with summer greens surround Washington in a stunning early color display. The hike in total took us about 5 hours. Plan on longer if the moderate to challenging incline may be trying on you. Crawford is not an easy hike but worth the effort for the prospect on top of Crawford is Dazzling!
Don’t forget to be safe while hiking and carry the appropriate gear with you while hiking even for a short day hike!
Getting stunning views aren’t limited to the mountains in New Hampshire, how about amazing views of the beautiful lakes region? There are two great, easy to moderate hikes that offer wonderful views and a fun place to relax. Lockes Hill Trail is a short trail that offers a stadium seating view of lakes. A few miles further down the road another adventure awaits on Mount Major.
Lockes Hill Trail is a 2 mile hike located in Gilford’s Kimball Wildlife Forest off of route 11. It’s a woodsy family friendly little hike. Markers as well as a well cut path make this hike an easy one. I did it in flip flops although I never recommend any hiking in open toed shoes. This is a hike to be sought out on a clear day because the views from the rock made stadium seating are stunning. The lakes sparkled in the sunlight and were hugged by the distant mountain range that enclosed around them. This hike can be a quick one just to stretch your legs or a perfect place to spend a day for a nice picnic with the family. Chair made of rock surround the amazing views of the lakes and make for a very picturesque image.
Mount Major is a 1786ft mini mountain along the lakes region. It’s just a short drive from Alton Bay. The loop trail for Mount Major is about 4 miles long and can be steep. It is a fun trail for older children. Young children may struggle with the incline. This hike is a pretty steady rise but the views wasn’t you cross the tree line are well worth it. We started out hike on the boulder loop trail and descended on the Brook Trail. The trail on the way up is one color and on the way down is another. Make sure if you start on the blue trail to finish on the yellow trail or switch if you start on the yellow make sure you finish on the blue. Sun kissed lakes and distant mountains make for a very awing sight. This tree is also known to be an amazing foliage hike and view! So with fall upon us and foliage peaking over the next two weeks it may be time to get out and enjoy a hike.
Mount Major has a dilapidated structure when you reach the summit. This was a small house built by Mr. George Phippen, the previous land owner. He built the house for hikers, to help avoid in climate weather. The old house, just four crumbling walls, still has an old fire pit inside and two benches outside. Its location offers the best view and sitting on the benches outside offers a great place to have a drink, snack or a nice picnic.
With the fall equinox fast on our heels, September 22, I thought this was a fun article for those of you looking for foliage and a fall hike. It’s a good mix off challenging and family friendly. I also recently hiked Mount Major, hike #4 and will be blogging about that myself soon. It does offer amazing views!!! But check this article out. I’ll be posting more cool fall related articles in the days and weeks to come.
Pillsbury State park is located off of route 31 in Washington NH. This little gem of a recreational park is filled with adventures to enjoy and discover. It is rich with nature and beauty. The park offers camping, hiking, canoeing, kayaking, fishing, and wildlife exploration. It’s a fun relaxing place to remove one’s self from the hustle and bustle of every day life.
In the quiet of the woods of Pillsbury State Park, there are 35 campsites for families to gather and savor in the wilderness. They offer bathrooms but no showers and the lakes and ponds are not for swimming because the bacteria levels are not tested and leaches could reside in them. They offer campsites along trails and on the beaches of the ponds. Showers and swimming is available at Sunapee. The campsites are clean and have nicely designed fire pits for s’mores and warmth.
Hiking clears the head and relaxes the soul. Pillsbury offers 51 miles of trails. These trails connect Mount Monadnock and Mount Sunapee. Some of the trails weave around the ponds and offer lovely views as well as an opportunity to view wildlife. The trails are well marked and easy to follow. The scenery is lovely and the fresh air is remarkable. The trails offer exercise and beauty especially in the fall.
Pillsbury offers about seven ponds for fishing, kayaking, and canoeing. Don’t own a kayak or canoe. You can rent them and enjoy a trip around May Pond. As you row about you can relish in the wilderness and take in the sights of the foliage. Out on the pond is a delicious way to enjoy a picnic and some romantic time together with someone special.
Don’t forget to experience all of the wildlife around the park. Moose and loons have been seen in Pillsbury. Yesterday as my husband and I paddled around we saw loons and a blue heron. It was a beautiful sight to see a large bird like a heron perched on the edge of the pond and then to skim across the top of the pond.
Sometime we need to step away from the rush of the word and enjoy some peace and tranquility and Pillsbury State Park offers this. So pack a picnic and take the drive out to the park!
Everyone is looking for a room with a great view well how about exercise that offers the best scenery imaginable as far as the eye can see. Mount Chocorua is just that exercise with the reward of the most amazing views, a perfect place to enjoy life and get some perspective. Waterfalls and a 360 degree view of New Hampshire that offers clouds gently floating past the mountain tops, Mount Washington standing tall to the northern side of the peak and the lakes rest to the south. Mount Chocorua stands about 3490 feet while it’s not the tallest peak in the White Mountains it does offer a stunning panorama.
Mount Chocorua is at the eastern most section of the sandwich mountain range. It can be reached from the north by route 112 by the Champney Falls Trail, east from route 16 by the Piper Trailhead or south from route 25 by the Liberty Trail. I hiked Champney Falls. Champney Falls is named Benjamin Champney a famous White Mountains painter and offers about 70 feet of cascades. This was my trail of choice because it offers beautiful cascading waterfalls, the tranquil sound sooths the soul while the sight raises the spirit. At one point, to the side of the trail, there are two waterfalls side by side. During the rainy seasons the falls are full and lovely.
Legend has it Mount Chocorua was named after a Native American man who was friendly with the colonists and left his son with to stay with them when he was called away. Upon his return he found his son had died after drinking poison. He blamed the family left in charge of his son. Chocorua was blamed for the murder of the wife and children of this family. The husband sought out Chocorua and shot him on Mount Chocorua. It was said before he died he cursed the man who had been responsible for his son and then jumped off of Mount Chocorua to his death. Since then, it is said this mountain was named after him. Although no record of this man exists.
Mount Chocorua is a difficult hike and at times can be considered strenuous by some. It is not an easy hike although easier and shorter than the Franconia Ridge hike. Weather conditions should be taken in to account before attempting this hike. This hike offers views of the lakes to the south, Mount Washington to the north and glorious New Hampshire all around. Ensure good health and properly packing for the hike. The hike offers fantastic views from its summit and beautiful nature on the way up. Take the time to really enjoy this hike it’s worth it!
It’s often hard to imagine an exotic vacation in your own backyard but what if you could see beautiful waterfalls, climb above the clouds and be submerged in an array of vibrant colors? Would you believe then?
As summer rapidly moves to a close and September is racing in with the autumn hot on its heels, I thought I should start my new blog with one of the most stunning hikes in the White Mountain the Franconia Ridge Loop Trail. This loop consists of the Falling Waters Trail, Franconia Ridge, the Greenleaf Trail and the Old Bridal Trail. It is not an easy hike, at 8.8 miles with a 4000 foot elevation gain and two Mounts over 5000 feet each, many guidebooks rate it as strenuous hike but if you are up for the challenge you will be rewarded with breathtaking scenes.
Access to the trailheads is very convenient and parking can be found right off of I-93. When heading north watch for a Trailhead Parking sign about a mile and a half after the Basin.
This hike is best in September when the foliage can be seen in mid to northern New Hampshire. I enjoyed starting the hike on Falling Waters Trail so when I get to the ledge opposite of the Franconia Ridge, I can sit back and enjoy the view of what I have already hiked. But either of the trails, Falling Waters or Old Bridal, offer amazing views which will be enjoyed no matter which trail you start on.
Falling Waters Trail, which weaves in and out of Dry Brook, is the home of, not one but three beautiful waterfalls. The first and smallest of the three waterfalls is Stairs Falls. Stairs Falls is a beautiful cascading fall that’s under 20 feet high. Don’t be fool by its size, though it’s one of the prettiest falls. Swiftwater Falls is the second fall. It’s a bit larger and a beautiful site to see. This fall cuts through the path. The final fall is the Cloudland Fall. Cloudland is the largest, running about 80 feet high, of the three falls. Cold sprays of water cool hikers when the waters are high. The view of this fall is stunning.
As amazing as the falls are, your adventure doesn’t end here. As you reach the end of Falling Waters Trail, you will find yourself reaching the summit of Little Haystack Mountain. Little Haystack stands just over 4000 feet. It is not considered one of New Hampshire 4000 footer though. It lacks this recognition because Mount Lincoln’s col stands just 200ft below it. The views when you reach the top of Little Haystack, with Mount Lincoln to the north and Mount Liberty to the southwest, are stunning. Your breath will be taken away as you look out over New Hampshire as far as the eye can see. The hike only gets more impressive as you reach the peaks of Mount Lincoln and Mount Lafayette. At Mount Lafayette if you are really lucky you may find yourself above the clouds and starring out into light fluffy pillows rolling over the lower hills and trees. Always beware of the weather when hiking on the Ridge. The weather can change fast and suddenly so be sure the weather is in your favor for hiking. On top of Mount Lafayette, the highest of the three peaks, is the best place to enjoy the surrounding and lunch! I suggest a nice rest here.
After lunch, the decent begins but the beauty isn’t over. Greenleaf Trail to Greenleaf Hut is the next destination. Greenleaf hut can be stayed in but must be booked well in advance. Old Bridal Trail will be the last trail you will take. This trail will take you back to the parking lot. Old Bridal trail offers a look back at the Franconia Ridge and a stunning panorama picture of the foliage. I suggest you grab a quick rest here and enjoy the spectacle before you continue on. The foliage shines rich with gold, reds and sunshine oranges.
Remember when hiking safety first! Please check out the link below for safety tips and items to take with you on your hike!