Bagging more 4,000-footers in the winter!
View of Mt Washington from Mt Avalon across Crawford Notch
There will never be a weekend in New Hampshire where there are no hardy souls out hiking. Rain, snow storms, bitter cold... its all part of the fun. I love going to New Hampshire because I'm not considered weird or crazy for wanting to go hiking in a snow storm! Today's adventure was Mt Tom (4,052ft) and the Mt Field (4,331ft) of the Willey Range south of the Presidentials. Heavy snows at the higher elevations offered a nice taste of winter- its been pretty sparse in most parts of New England!
View Mt Field and Mt Tom Trail in a larger map
The trailhead begins at the Crawford Depot which is where the Appalachian Trail Club runs a lodge. There's a large parking lot which can occasionally fill up even in the winter. However during the winter you don't have to pay for parking. From here the A-Z Trail Head is just behind the old Depot Building and across the train tracks. This trail head has access to three four thousand footers and also Mt Avalon. I was only able to do Tom and Field but if you'd like to do Mt Wiley as well, it is a 10 mile hike. Just doing Mt Tom is a 5.8 mile hike and doing Mt Tom and Field is a 7.2 mile hike. Even in a winter snowstorm, the trail was well marked by groups of snowshoers. It is relatively steep and easily traversed in snowshoes or micro spikes but it would be slippery in boots alone.
Winter is Finally here!
The 2.2 mile hike to the saddle between Mt Tom and Mt Field is steep but very enjoyable. It parallels a creek and offers some fleeting views to the North. About halfway up is the turnoff to Mt Avalon. You could possibly head up Avalon and then continue to Mt Field from here. The trail tops out on the saddle and if you head to the right, Mt Tom is only 0.6 miles away. To the left is Mt Field which is about 0.9 miles away. The trails up both mountains are not as steep. Neither mountain has great views but the little known Mt Avalon has an incredible panorama of the Presidential Range and Crawford Notch! In fact, I would say that the view from Mt Avalon is better than most of the 4,000 footers that I have climbed! Its really only a spur of the larger Mt Field but if you would rather just hike for a view than a tall point, then this is your ticket. No wonder it makes the New Hampshire 52 with a View List! This list is composed of shorter mountains with shorter hikes for those who would like to get outside without having to hike 17 miles.
The Summit of Mt Field
A frigid day on the Presidentials
The View from the Summit of Mt Avalon
This is another great place for bagging 4,000 footers in the winter! The mountains are close to the trail head so it would be easy to escape if a storm starts coming in. Parking is also not an issue. Enjoy! Read. Plan. Get Out There!