Trail Distance: 7.6 miles (there-and-back)
Elevation Gain: 3150'
Terrain Rating: Moderate
Hike In: 9:45AM
Hike Out: 3:35PM
Weather Conditions: Rain
Trailhead: Willey House located off 302 in Crawford Notch
We started at Willey House on a rainy Saturday. We originally intended to do the Wildcats but thought the rocks would be too slippery. The trail we took was Kedron Flume to Ethan Pond to Willey Range, and back!
Starting from Kedron Flume, it is a quick ascent. After 5 minutes you will pass train tracks, be careful as it is active. The trail continues for 1 mile along narrow edges and routes. This is the last week of fall foliage so the ground was leaf covered. The leaves made from some exceptionally beautiful hiking, even in the pouring rain! Other that that, it was relatively easy terrain with roots and small rocks. No scrambling yet. In this one mile, you will climb 700 ft! (approximately 50 minutes).
You will hit a junction for Ethan Pond Trail, and from there it's another 0.3 miles and 450 ft elevation gain until you reach Willey Range trail. After the junction, you will cross Kedron brook (an easy crossing) before another small brook. The ascent begins to become rockier and requires some scrambling. The trail will get you huffing and puffing. After all, the Willey Range Trail takes you for another 1,950 ft elevation gain in 3.6 miles. The famous wooden stairs are here and should be ok for agile dogs. I thought these stairs were pretty fun. They're not ladders as some blog posts have mentioned. After you finish the stairs, you still have a tough 800 ft elevation to go.
The summit for Mount Willey was covered and fogged up, but marked by summit cairns that make it easy to tell you're there. The trail descends gradually and then climbs steeply before the large cairn at the summit of Mount Field. The peak was again covered so we didn't stay long before turning back.
All in all it was a great day in Crawford Notch. The rain didn't stop us and made for some fun hiking in mother nature's elements!