Welch Mountain and Dickey Mountain Loop Trail

Grafton County, New Hampshire

Distance4.1mi
Elevation Gain3,805ft
Trailhead Elevation1,053ft
Top2,728ft
Elevation Min/Max1049/2728ft
Elevation Start/End1053/1053ft

Welch Mountain and Dickey Mountain Loop Trail

Welch-Dickey Loop Trail is a hiking trail in Grafton County, New Hampshire. It is within White Mountain National Forest. It is 4.1 miles long and begins at 1,053 feet altitude. Traveling the entire trail is 8.3 miles with a total elevation gain of 3,805 feet. The Paved Parking Area for Welch-Dickey Loop Trail parking is near the trailhead. There are also restrooms. Welch Mountain (elevation 2,605 feet) and Dickey Mountain (elevation 2,733 feet) can be seen along the trail. This trail connects with the following: Dickey Notch Trail.

Welch Mountain and Dickey Mountain Loop Trail Professional Guides

Detailed Trail Descriptions from Our Guidebooks

Hiking the White Mountains (Falcon Guides)
Lisa Densmore
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"A loop over two small peaks with lots of open rock and fun ledges to climb. Considering that both Welch Mountain (elevation 2,605 feet) and its taller brother, Dickey Mountain (elevation 2,734 feet), are about half the size of their towering 4,000-foot neighbors, they offer one of the most exposed hikes and sustained views in this part of the Whites. Most people hike the loop going up Welch and down Dickey, which is the obvious route from the parking lot. In this direction, even if the lot looks full, you will only see those you catch up to or those that pass you." Read more
AMC's Best Day Hikes in the White Mountains (Appalachian Mountain Club Books)
Robert N. Buchsbaum
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"This was the most-suggested family hike in the White Mountains among the people I talked to. The summits of Welch and Dickey command excellent views for relatively modest effort. The hike is substantial enough to give you a feeling of accomplishment, yet manageable for most everyone above age 6 or so." Read more
Outdoors with Kids: Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont (Appalachian Mountain Club Books)
Ethan Hipple and Yemaya St. Clair
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"This perfect, ledgy loop hike up and over two small mountains leads to amazing views of Franconia Ridge, Waterville Valley, and the Pemigewasset Valley. This popular hike over Welch and Dickey mountains is perhaps one of the most beautiful and satisfying trips in New England, with everything you could ask for: a mostly gentle grade (with some exciting slabs to climb near the top), excellent views from the ridge, two summits, and the satisfaction of a loop hike! While it may be challenging for the toddlers (although it’s totally possible with an occasional ride from mom or dad), kids age 6 and up will love this hike for the wide-open skies and amazing granite slabs. In bad weather and wet conditions, be cautious on this hike: the slabs can be very slippery and the ridgeline is exposed." Read more
100 Classic Hikes in New England (The Mountaineers Books)
Jeffrey Romano
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"Ravaged by fires in the 1880s, today Welch and Dickey’s smooth granite domes provide some of the finest views in the White Mountain National Forest. This popular loop scales both summits and offers great dividends for the effort; however, do not underestimate the challenge. Steep in sections, the trail scrambles up exposed rocks from one dramatic perch to another. While accessible year-round, it is to be avoided when icy or when thunderstorms threaten. The mountains and their scenic ridges are especially enticing on crisp autumn days when the Mad River Valley is aglow in a potpourri of colors." Read more
Best Hikes with Dogs: New Hampshire & Vermont (The Mountaineers Books)
Lisa Densmore
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"Welch Mountain and its taller brother, Dickey Mountain are about half the size of their towering 4000-foot neighbors, yet they offer one of the most exposed hikes and sustained views in this part of the Whites. Most people hike the loop going up Welch and down Dickey, which is the obvious route from the parking lot. In this direction, even if the lot looks full, you will only see those you catch or those who pass you. (Note: This hike can be treacherous if the rocks are wet.) While a superb hike for any human who loves acres of open rock and huge panoramas, it is best reserved for larger, agile dogs. There are a couple of tricky spots on the upper elevations that require a dog to stretch up the rock, or bound off it, depending on the spot." Read more

Welch Mountain and Dickey Mountain Loop Trail Reviews

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5/28/2013
Very nice hike for the first one this year. It was well marked. Great for dogs. Wyler did it with no issues. Fairly easy and a great view from the tops.
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5/16/2010
Probably my favorite hike in NH. Well maintained and marked. Decent elevation gains. Great views for most on the hike. Perfect length for a day hike!
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7/20/2009
Great trail for less active hikers. Total of 4.5 miles, 2 peaks, and a great payoff at the top. The last half mile and whole top of the Welch side is all rock ledges. Great views, sun, and a wonderful breeze. I grew up in New Hampshire, and have hiked many 4000+ft mountains, but this is still my favorite.
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8/30/2008
The wildcat river trail is good for people looking for a gentel walk through the woods. With a total elev. gain of 700ft you will not break into a sweat to many times. there are a total of 12 river crossings, if it has been raining a lot you may not be able to get across. but in normal weather there is just 1 or 2 hard crossings. This trail is not good for childern, there is a lot of jumping, and a lot of deep long mud pits on the trail that you will have to walk around. There are no senic overlooks, but very nice rivers and woodlands. We saw manyu moose tracks / droppings but no moose. I rated this trail 4 stars because it was what I was looking for, the 6.8 miles took us about 6hrs (we took our time.) The hardest river crossing is at mile 0.6, you then have to cross the same river again at mile 6.1 at the same spot. I came out dry, my friend had a wet foot. Age 26 and 27.
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8/14/2007
Excellent trail, the ascent of Welch mountain over the granite was fabulous and the views are spectacular! I would definitely make sure you make this climb on a dry day as the granite can be very slippery when wet. I took 17 people onthis hike with me ranging in age from 4 years old to 68 years old. I challenged the majority of them but everyone although tired where very excited to have accomplished the loop.
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5/21/2007
Small trail that packs a good punch. Huge rock sections that put on a good leg burn. Great view. Loops back quickly to the parking lot. Great day hike from the Boston area.
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9/7/2002

One of the benefits of Welch/Dickey has to be the fact that the drive to the trailhead is substantially shorter than many of the other hikes in the Whites. Probably best explored on a breezy fall day, the loop offers quick access to wilderness views and extensive ledge walking. After the first half hour, expect to be fully exposed to sun, heat, wind or rain. Not a lot of water (except a brook near the trailhead).

My first experience with this trail was on a partly sunny September afternoon. Perfect for foliage views contrasting the red brush along the ledges. I felt a spiritual boost and enjoyed the occasional vertical scramble. Worst part? Sharing the trail with a bus-load of school children, many of whom were very much challenged by the climb, proved a bit cramped at times. Still, despite the occasional crowd, I came home with a renewed energy, lots of great fall foliage photos, and that good ache of a physical work-out.
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11/4/2001
Just having moved here to New Hampshire from Philadelphia, we were excited about our first "Climb". We choose Welch & Dickey based on the short loop and description on this web page. The hike starts off going up, and you go up and up. We should have warmed up and stretched prior to starting. The hike was exciting and had unbeiveable views. When you think your at teh top, you look up and there is more. It took us a little over three hours. On the way we passed (and we were passed) by couples in their 70's and then kids with their paraents that were only 8 - 10. We are going to go back now with the camera since the views are great. We will pack a lunch. If you have any questions, give me an email. We are new to the area, but plan next spring to hike every weekend and accomplish as many trails in NH as possible!
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Welch Mountain and Dickey Mountain Loop Trail Photos

Trail Information

Grafton County
Nearby City
Dog-friendly
Accessibility
Moderate to Difficult
Skill Level
White Mountain National Forest, 603-536-6100, www.fs.usda.gov/whitemountain
Local Contacts
USGS Waterville Valley quad; AMC White Mountain National Forest Map & Guide, K5 (AMC)
Local Maps