Mt. Willard Trail – Winter Hike

Mt. Willard is a very easy up and down with an amazing view at the summit. The best time to hike this mountain is during the fall to capture the fall foliage.

Mt. Willard Trail is located in the Crawford Notch State Park. The trailhead is located in the same location as that of Avalon Trail, but instead of going straight, you would take a slight left onto Mt. Willard Trail. Since, we hiked Mt. Tom via Avalon Trail it was very easy to locate.

The trailhead for this hike starts at the Crawford Depot/Visitor Center on Rt. 302, just before the AMC Highland Center.  Anytime we hike in this area, we stop off at the Highland Center to get trail reports and if needed to sign in and out of the hiker log.

Here is the trail from the north view. Our total trip was 4.1 miles from our location at the highland center to the summit and back.

4D Map Trail

The trail condition for us was packed snow and easy water crossings. If you are hiking this trail during the winter, I suggest running into the Highland Center and speak with the AMC folks at the desk. Depending on what the weather was before your hike day, water crossings can be hard to pass or not passable at all. There are a few areas of the trail where you will have to duck under or walk around some broken or snow pushed branches. These areas of ‘obstacles’ are very easy to walk around.

We used our micro-spikes for this climb. It is an easy hike on packed snow, but with a moving toddler on your back its helpful to have some grip to the earth.  The climb and descent are very straight forward and rather uneventful.

Here are some images from the trail.

At the start 1
Crawford’s Depot




Us on the trail
Us on the trail


Pool Area
Centennial Pool


Coming down the trail

Here are some few from the summit…

Mt. Webster


Summit Picture

As you can see, we added another family member to our hiking team. This was Abby’s first formal hike and she did very well. It was a little confusing in the beginning since we forgot her gear. The gear is key in helping Abby understand it’s time for ‘work’.  She stayed on her lead the whole trip connected to my pack and loved every moment. Our goal is to have Abby completely condition and trained for longer and harder climbs by this spring where she will join us on each hike.

Author: MamaTrek

I'm a runner, hiker, mother, wife and dog owner of a GSD and Malinois. I have been hiking with my daughter since she was 6 months old. She has summited 25 mountains over 4,000ft, including Mt. Washington in NH. I've have ran over a dozen half marathons and numerous shorter distance. I have taken my little one on many long distance training runs. Some where between all that I graduated with a BSBA in Marketing Management and Information Technology.

3 thoughts on “Mt. Willard Trail – Winter Hike”

  1. I’ve tried to post this several times, so please excuse this if you get suddenly inundated with a bunch of comments from the crazy dog lady! I just love your blog and love your life–it’s my dream life! These trails look amazing.

    I have a ton of questions and I wrote them all out two or three times, but I’ll spare you the fourth time….because I’m terrified that you have received every one of my comments. In the off chance you haven’t, I’m Britta’s owner from Instagram, btw! My questions all have to do with Abby. You mentioned that the gear is essential for her to know she’s in work mode. How did you implement that and what constitutes work for her? Is the trail hike considered work? Because that’s my idea of work for Britta too. And I love how great Abby is on her leash- loose and relaxed and right by your side. How did you get her to do that? It’s a constant training session—but improving daily—for us right now.

  2. Hi! Lots of questions and that is okay. Yes, I got all the posts. FYI, I don’t allow posts without my approval it keeps spamming down. So, let’s start with one question. You asked about “Abby’s gear”. Dogs are smart, especially, GSDs, having East German and Czech with a working line adds to their intelligence. If you don’t know, GSDs are I think ranked # 2 in their intelligence among all breeds maybe 3rd, either way they are up there. We train Abby in 4 different locations, inside our house, our 2nd home, in a training center, and in the woods. Dogs will understand these locations and understand what is going to happen. In addition, dogs pick up on ‘cues’ like a lead (leash) or other gear used. For example, Abby has a different lead for going potty outside versus the one we use for running, hiking and training. The color makes no different, but the design and/or location of it makes the difference. Dogs will recognize the difference. When Abby is training/working she receives her harness and lead(s) for it. We have a 6″ and 15″ lead for running/hiking/training. Again, these are located together, but separate from a leash to allow her to do as she wills. Another example, of this intelligence is if you are working on ‘healing’ always start off with the same foot/leg when you want Britta to walk with you. If you want her ‘staying in place when you walk away’ you lead off with the other foot/leg. IE right leg = come with me; left leg = stay. So, back to the gear question, Abby gets her gear when we head out for training/running/hiking or whenever we need her ‘game face on’. Abby lives to work (its part of her family), so its helpful for her to get the ‘sign’ its time to work. Feel free to ask more questions? 🙂

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