Willey Range & Waumbek

Date of Hike: 12/18/11

Avalon Trail: 1.3 miles
Mount Tom Spur: 1.0 miles
Willey Range Trail: 3.5 miles
Avalon Trail: 2.8 miles - Total Miles: 9.8 (3,250 elevation gain)
Starr King Trail: 7.2 miles (2,650 elevation gain)
Total Miles: 17.0 miles (5,900 elevation gain)
Click here for Trail descriptions

Trip Report:
- After looking over what mountains I had hiked this year I noticed that along with completing the Adirondack Forty-Sixer list I had also hiked 41 of the New Hampshire 48-4,000 footers.  I figured it would be pretty cool to hike both lists within the year so with a clear day forecast for Sunday I decided to head to the Willey Range to hike Mount Tom, Field, and Willey in the morning and Mount Waumbek in the afternoon.
- I have hiked the Willey Range three times before in the clouds, rain, and snow so finally I would have a day with some views from the outlooks.
- When I arrived at the trailhead it was a balmy negative 2 degrees!  Luckily there was no wind so it wouldn't be to bad but unfortunately even with the low temperature within the first twenty minutes I began to sweat so I would have to bed careful not to get chilled when I stopped.
- The hike through the Willey Range is wooded but there are some decent outlooks, one from the summit of Mount Tom over to Zealand Notch and the Twin Range, another from Mount Field Summit down to the Mount Washington Hotel and the Presidential Range, and two phenomenal views into Crawford Notch and the Presidential Range from and outlook just past the summit of Mount Willey and from Mount Avalon's summit.
- The trail was covered with a couple of inches of packed down snow, micro-spikes were perfect for the conditions and after one more snow storm snowshoes will be ideal.  The two water crossings of Crawford Brook on the Avalon Trail were almost frozen over but were a little tricky and my boot did go through and got soaked on the first one, thank god for water-proof boots!
- I didn't see any hikers until descending the Avalon Trail.  I was visited by Gray-Jays on every summit, they are making out really well with all the food hikers give them, they're nice and fat, really fat!
- When I got back to the car the weather warmed up to 12 degrees, I quickly changed into dry layers and warmed up on the drive over to the Starr King Trailhead on Mount Waumbek.
- There were five other cars at the trailhead when I arrived at noon.  The Starr King Trail is really mellow with easy to moderate grades and good footing the whole way, although today there were some ice flows in the trail but with micro-spikes on it was still easy.
- I saw four hikers and two dogs on the way to Starr King and on the summit of Starr King there were five others including Big Earl and Sue who I've run into about a half dozen times now over the past couple of years.
- From Starr King over to Mount Waumbek's summit and back to the car I wouldn't see another person.  When I reached the summit of Waumbek I changed into dry layers and my fingers froze up badly so I broke out the 7-hour heat packets and stuck them in my mittens, my hands finally started to warm up a mile later when I was back on Mount Starr King's summit.
- The hike back to the car was pretty fast a fun, one of my favorite parts is the last mile through the open woods on an old logging road which passes by a stone foundation.  I also stopped by the water reservoir next to the trailhead to take some pictures before leaving.
- It was a great day for hiking and winter is definitely on its way!
- Willey Range - On trail at 7:15am, Tom 8:40am, Field 9:10am, Willey 10:10am, Avalon 10:45am, finished 11:15am...Mount Waumbek - On trail 12pm, Waumbek 1:40pm, finished 3:10pm

Pictures: Click here for all pictures

 Willey Range Trail
 Crawford Notch
 Gray Jay taking in the views (and handouts) from Mount Willey
 Presidential Range from Mount Avalon
 Crawford Notch Scenic Railroad at the Highland Center
 Old cabin fireplace on Mount Starr King
Starr King Trail


  1. That first photo of the Willey Range Trail is enchanting. It makes me wish I was there. Great little shot.

  2. WOW! WOW! WOW! That would be a triple WOW for your truly outstanding photos. You managed to expertly capture the key features of these hikes. I actually felt like I was along on the hike when viewing your photos. Terrific report!


  3. Like John said, the photos are amazing. But what I'm still trying to comprehend are the times! We did TFWA the first week of Dec. Started not much behind your start time and barely finished before dark! Done @ 11:15 and then over to SK/W? Yikes! And you still managed to stop for the great pics. Love the portrait of the Gray jay on Willey. I think we met him (and his brother) there as well.

    Happy New Year