Franconia Ridge

Franconia Ridge

Sunday, September 15, 2013

A Walk Up Willey

The scenery and views on the drive to the trailhead were impressive this morning. There was fog in the valleys, mountain peaks touching blue sky and a combination of both along the way. I was heading for Crawford Notch and a hike up to Mount Willey (4,285 ft.). The plan was start on the Kedron Flume Trail to Ethan Pond Trail and up the Willey Range Trail onto the summit.

 Sunrise over the Androscoggin River

 Presidentials and blue sky

 Valley fog

 Fog burning off

 Mount Washington

The Willey House parking area had plenty of room. I pulled in and was on the trail at around 8:20. It didn't take long to reach the flume. For all the rain we've had lately there was not as much water as I thought there would be. I easily crossed the flume and continued on.

 Saco Lake


 Light at the end of the tunnel

There were a few steep places after the flume with sections of mud and water before I got to the Ethan Pond Trail junction. The trail smoothed out somewhat and continued a moderate climb to the Willey Range Trail junction which kept going straight and the Ethan Pond Trail turned a sharp left.

 Kedron Flume

 Looking down Kedron Flume

 Looking up Kedron Flume

 Straddling Kedron Flume

It was a steady climb and I was wondering if it was going to get steep as the AMC Guide states. I didn't have to wait long and it got real interesting when I reached a set of eight wooden ladders. This is not a spot for someone with bathmophobia, a fear of stairs. No hand rails here.

 Moss bed

 Looking up the ladders on Willey Range Trail

 Looking down the ladders

The trail continued a steep climb up to the Mount Willey outlook. There were two hikers here when I arrived. They didn't stay long and I had the outlook to myself for a couple of minutes. More hikers were showing up and given the limited room on this granite outlook it didn't take many to create crowded conditions. I decided to walk the 100 feet to the summit.

 Mount Washington 

 Webster Cliffs

 Mount Willey Outlook

The summit is marked with a cairn and no view. There were two hikers here and two more behind me. This was also a crowded spot. There was a couple that brought an American flag with them. They missed yesterday's "Flags on the 48" and asked if I would take their photo with the unfurled flag. After taking each others summit photos I started my descent.

 Hobblebush changing colors

 Looking up Kedron Flume on descent

I passed many hikers going up as I went down. There is some advantage to using the same trails on descent as ascent. There are views and things that I might have missed on the way up. But I still prefer a loop or one-way traverse if possible.

 The beginning of foliage season

 The "notch" in Crawford Notch

Mount Willard cliffs

There were noticable signs of the beginning stages of fall foliage emerging on this hike. Over the coming weeks it will only get better. This hike marked #17 on my quest of the 48 4,000 footers.

Mount Willey summit

Panoramic view from Mount Willey

Having Fun in the Great Outdoors!


  1. congrats on #18! thanks for sharing the beautiful pics!

    1. Thanks Annie! I'm glad you enjoyed the pics!