Mount Willard Trail

Bretton Woods, New Hampshire 03575

Mount Willard Trail

Mount Willard Trail Professional Guide

Detailed Trail Description from our Guidebook

"This popular hike in Crawford Notch State Park offers top-of-the-ridge views of the notch and surrounding mountain ranges for minimal effort. Some consider it the “best little hike in the Whites." We won’t argue. The path to open ledges is broad and easygoing, with gradual ascents and short distances. The trail is widely popular in the summer with day hikers and tourists; it’s also within short walking distance from the Appalachian Mountain Club’s new Highland House lodge and information center.

Mount Willard is a frequent destination of Highland House guests and small-group guided tours. But, the good news is that come winter, much of the hiking horde has disappeared, leaving this lovely mountain trail to savvy winter walkers and snowshoers. Stop in at the Highland House for a look around, updates on trail conditions, and prepared trail lunches and snacks. You’ll find the staff knowledgeable and friendly and, if you like, you can hop on one of their guided snowshoe hikes, offered several times a day. In any case, don’t miss a trek on this little gem of a trail-guided or not."

More Mount Willard Trail Professional Guides

Detailed Trail Descriptions from Our Guidebooks

AMC's Best Day Hikes in the White Mountains (Appalachian Mountain Club Books)
Robert N. Buchsbaum
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"AMC’s White Mountain Guide reflects: “. . . probably no other spot in the White Mountains affords so grand a view as Mount Willard for so little effort.” The hike up this 2,815-foot spur of the Willey Range is pretty steep for some kids, but when you reach the incredible panorama of Crawford Notch, you may declare, as my nephew did after grumbling the whole way up, “Oh, this was really worth it!”" Read more
Hiking the White Mountains (Falcon Guides)
Lisa Densmore
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"A short hike to a broad cliff and a lengthy view down the east side of Crawford Notch to Mount Chocorua. Mount Willard is a popular hike because it is a relatively easy 1.4 miles to the top. It is not the best choice on a fair summer weekend if you want to be alone, particularly now that the Appalachian Mountain Club’s Highland Center is virtually at the trailhead. But midweek, the odds are good that you will have the trail almost to yourself. Start at the trailhead for the Avalon Trail behind the Macomber Family Information Center, the renovated train depot across from Saco Lake. Follow the Avalon Trail across the railroad tracks and adjacent field to the edge of the woods (about 100 yards), where you’ll find the intersection with the Mount Willard Trail (blue blazes)." Read more
Best Hikes with Dogs: New Hampshire & Vermont (The Mountaineers Books)
Lisa Densmore
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"While Mount Willard is about half the size of its Presidential neighbors, it is the perfect hike if you are short on time, passing through this area of New Hampshire, and in need of a view. It is a popular hike because it is a relatively easy 1.4 miles to the top, so probably not the best choice on a clear-weather weekend if you have an antisocial dog. But midweek, the odds are better that you will have the trail to yourself." Read more

Mount Willard Trail Reviews

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7/9/2018
This is a super family-friendly and dog-friendly hike. It's a steady climb, but not really difficult. Beautiful views of Mt Wiley, Mt Webster, and Crawford Notch.
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7/21/2010
The climb to the top does get easier the farther you get with a nice flat walk before you reach the cliff with the views of Crawford Notch. This is a great place to reach for lunch time and to enjoy the views for a good amount of time. Great panoramic views of the surrounding 4000 footers. The trail is quite rocky, and I imagine in the springtime is very muddy. We went in the summertime after hot days with little rain and still found a few muddy spots along the way. If you find it difficult on the way up don't give up because the view from the top is well worth it and it really does get easier the last 1/2 mile. As with most mountains watch young children around the cliffs, the drop is a couple hundred feet. The main cliff gets crowded during the weekend, but you can continue down an unmarked trail after the large open cliff to a more secluded cliff with a better breeze and just as amazing views.
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5/25/2009
A great hike for kids, there's a bit to distract along the way, and nice views at the top. No real challenging scrambling, though the old carriage road is pretty brutally bumpy wash-out. The top gets pretty darn crowded, but that's ok - it's probably one of the simplest and most rewarding hikes that you can get to right from the highway. Take your 4 year old today.
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8/1/2008
This is a great hike! It's approximately 3 miles to the top. Awesome view of Crawford Notch!
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2/12/2007
This is a great snow trail. As a matter of fact, on the day we went last President's Day weekend in Feb, we didn't even need the snowshoes. Just the Crampons, of course!! The summit was worth the hard work. On the way up the hiker is in the lush mountainside forest, as you get close to the top, the smell of the balsams and pines is just luxorious and pleasant. And the view! We stopped for lunch at the peak, and could see jefferson, and the rest of the range from the peak. Absolutely glorious.
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6/26/2006
Big bang for your buck. Moderate climb for an hour +. Great view of Crawford Notch. Went there in June. During fall foliage it must be incredible.
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1/17/2003
this trail offers outstanding views of crawford notch aftra mere 1--1/2 hours of steady uphill (moderate grade) snowshoeing to teh top of mt willard. yoy will travel through classic northern new england evergreens and will likely encounter chickadees, woodpeckers junco's and the like. at the top, you will find an open ledge ( don'r venture too close to the edge as it drops off sharply. you may see ice climbers on nearby frankenstein cliffs. the ledge is somewhat protectected from teh wind if yuo stay near the trees and this makes a great spot to have a snack and drink some of that hot tea or coacoa you brought along. if you are feeling energetic when you have snowshoed back down, there are plenty of other connecting trails to choose from to make a longer hike. parking is convenient (near the crawford notch depot). onthe day we went, conditions were great. even though there had been little snowfall in the past week, there was ample snow as it's been quite cold. the day was clear and bright. it'd easy to venture off teh trail for some fun in deeper powder.
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Mount Willard Trail Photos

Trail Information

Bretton Woods
Nearby City
Dog-friendly
Accessibility
3.2
Distance
900 feet
Elevation Gain
Out-and-back
Trail Type
Moderate
Skill Level
2-3 hours
Duration
Winter
Season
New Hampshire Division of Parks and Recreation Crawford Notch State Park, AMC Highland Center
Local Contacts
AMC White Mountain Guide, Map 2:G8
Local Maps