Hike the unique and scenic Welch & Dickey Loop Trail and enjoy views from two mountains. It is located in the White Mountain National Forest near Thornton, New Hampshire. The loop trail has a length of 7.4 km and a total elevation gain of 546 m.
It is a hike for all ages and it takes you to the summits of two mountains. It is a wonderful trail, but keep in mind that it is rated as difficult. You can take dogs with you as well if you keep them on a leash. The hike features summits, amazing views, ledges, rock scrambles, wildfire, and more.
The hike begins from the Welch-Dickey Trailhead and there are two routes that you can take, though the counterclockwise route is very popular. Following this route, you will go over Mt. Welch first and then Mt. Dickey.
There is a large parking area at the trailhead, but you have to pay a parking fee. From the trailhead, you have to take a right and soon enough, you will cross a brook that you have to follow upstream. Soon, you will get to a large switchback at around 1.1 miles, where you will be pointed towards a big open ledge. From there, you will get an amazing view of Sandwich Dome.
The hike gets a little tough from here, as the trail begins to ascend. You will go through the open ledges of the mountain and as you climb you will see stands of jack pine, which are very rare. Make sure to take a break to enjoy the amazing views. Continue on the trail and you will reach the summit of Mt. Welch. From the top of the mountain, you will get amazing views of the surrounding area including different mountains.
From the opposite side, you have to descend and follow the trail in the northern direction to reach the summit of Mt. Dickey. Before you get to the top of the mountain, you have to do some climbing. There is also a side trail that gives you a good view over Franconia Notch and Franconia Ridge.
There is also a spur path before the summit that takes you to an open ledge and offers more views. To get back, you have to follow the trail that descends and go through many open ledges. On your way, you will see a drop off on your left, and though it’s not dangerous, you have to be careful if you want to stay towards the edge. All along your way back, you will be enjoying great views, and going through the woods you will get to an old logging road. Take a left from there and you will reach the parking area.
If you hike this trail in summer, it won’t be much difficult and all you need is adequate water, important hiking gear, and appropriate boots. But if you are hiking in winter, it would be a different experience and you would need hiking poles and traction devices as well.