The Welch and Dickey Mountain loop, near Watverville Valley, provides 4.4 miles of mountain enjoyment that includes exposed summits, evergreen forests, and outstanding views with less than 2,000 feet of elevation gain. Therefore, this hike is among the least difficult in the White Mountains which makes it a perfect warm up or intro hike for newcomers.
We arrived at the trailhead at 11:00 am to find almost perfect weather and a half full parking lot. Our group of 8 quickly assembled our gear, paid our parking pass and hit the trail. The Welch-Dickey loop trail’s yellow markers are well placed and the climbing is initially very moderate and pleasant. The trail starts off in a hardwood forest which quickly becomes evergreens and granite slabs. At this point we were treated to views that made it hard to believe we were still well below 3000 feet. From here, the trail is mostly granite which features some steep, but very short, climbs to the summit of Welch Mountain where you are treated to the type of 360 degree views normally seen on 5000+ ft summits. The hike to Dickey Mountain takes only a few minutes and follows a gentle ridge. The descent is very mild as it treats hikers to more granite slabs and excellent views; you will find yourself back in the parking lot before you know it. The entire trip took us less than 3 hours.
This was my first hike since a disastrous attempt to summit Mt Adams in March. Therefore the welcoming summits, pleasant weather and great company were a great way to get the summer hiking season started off right.
Should you do this hike?
This hike makes the full mountain experience accessible to people of all abilities. To prove my point, we saw more than one hiker carrying a purse or no gear at all. Although I recommend always carrying at least basic gear, nothing more than a water bottle was needed for this particular trip. Therefore, if the weather is good; go for it! This loop could certainly be more formidable in the winter when all the granite slabs would likely be covered by ice.
Trail Details can be found at Summit Post.