Even though Fall colors won’t be at their peak for another 3 weeks, we decided to hike to the top of Mt. Willard, which has a panoramic view of Crawford Notch on the New Hampshire side of the White Mountains.
The climb is labeled “moderate.” At 1.6 miles each way, it only take a little more than an hour to reach the top if you are in average condition, and is certainly suitable for families with small children. The hike can really be divided into thirds: the first third the grade is moderately steep; the second third the grade is gentle, with lots of rocks; and the third and final stage (just when the kids will start complaining) suddenly becomes nearly level and very easy. The granite viewing ledge is expansive, as is the magnificent view. You can see the train tracks reaching far into Crawford Notch that are serviced by the Conway Scenic Railroad, and perhaps the Willey House far into the distance if the day is really clear. The Willeys were a homesteading family that met a tragic end in 1826. You can read about it here
After the hike, our pup Truman was quite tired out. He fell asleep on the way home while sticking his head out of our car’s window, his ears blowing wildly in the breeze.