Mount Willard Is a Great Introduction to New Hampshire's White Mountains

By Sarnacki, Aislinn | Bangor Daily News (Bangor, ME), September 12, 2019 | Go to article overview

Mount Willard Is a Great Introduction to New Hampshire's White Mountains


Sarnacki, Aislinn, Bangor Daily News (Bangor, ME)


Difficulty: Moderate. The hike, out and back, is just over 3 miles. The climb is gradual but constant. While the trail starts out as an easy, packed trail, it becomes increasingly rocky and crosses a brook where rock-hopping is required. Watch your step. Most of the trail is wide enough for two people to walk side by side.

How to get there: The trailhead is located behind the Crawford Notch Depot Macomber Family Information Center, which is run by the Appalachian Mountain Club. This visitor center is located off Route 302 in Bretton Woods, N.H, just north of the boundary of Crawford Notch State Park. This depot is 8.4 miles south of where Route 302 intersects with Route 3 in Twin Mountain; and it's 20.6 miles north of where Route 302 intersects with Route 16 in Glen. The GPS coordinates of the visitor center parking lot are 44.218592, -71.410871. At the visitor center, signs will direct you to cross the railroad tracks to reach the trailhead.

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Information: Rising 2,865 feet above sea level, Mount Willard is a popular and easily-accessible place to hike in the heart of the White Mountains. Traveling up the mountain's gradual north slope, the 1.6-mile Mount Willard Trail leads to an overlook near the mountain's summit that offers stunning views of Crawford Notch.

Starting at the Crawford Notch Depot and visitor center, the hike begins on Avalon Trail, a wide packed trail that eventually leads to Mount Avalon, Mount Tom and beyond. About 0.1 mile down Avalon Trail, you'll turn left onto Mount Willard Trail. The intersection is marked with a sign.

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Mount Willard Trail starts out fairly smooth. Early on, it crosses a brook. There isn't a bridge, but you can usually rock hop without getting your feet wet.

As you climb the mountain, you'll come to some especially rocky sections of trail, as well as some large rock steps. About 0.5 mile into the hike, you'll come to a short side trail leading to Centennial Pool. A sign marks this clear pool, which is located at the base of a small waterfall.

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The next section of trail is a bit steeper then levels off a bit before ending at the overlook, a long stretch of exposed bedrock atop the cliffs on Mount Willard's south side. From the overlook, Webster Cliffs rises up on your left. Straight ahead, Route 302 threads through Crawford Notch. And to the right of the road, close at hand, is the steep slope of Mount Wiley.

If hiking with children or dogs, be sure to keep them away from the edge of the cliffs.

The trail dead-ends, therefore, Mount Willard is an out-and-back hike measuring about 3.2 miles.

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At the trailhead, the Crawford Notch Depot and visitor center features a gift shop (where you can pick up useful trail maps), nice restrooms and vending machines.

Technically, the Mount Willard hike begins in White Mountains National Forest, and just beyond Centennial Pool, the trail crosses the border into Crawford Notch State Park.

Crawford Notch State Park covers 5,775 acres in the White Mountains, providing access to numerous hiking trails, waterfalls and fishing spots. …

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