Sue on the ledges (photo by Sue Murphy)

Welch Mountain and Dickey Mountain Loop

Mountains:  Welch Mtn. (2605'), Dickey Mtn. (2734')
Trail:  Welch-Dickey Loop Trail
Region:  NH - Central East  
White Mountain National Forest, Waterville Valley
Location:  Thornton, NH
Rating:  Moderate/Difficult  
Features:  Summits, views, ledges, rock scrambles, brook, loop hike
Distance:  4.5 miles  
Elevation Gain:  1650 feet (cumulative)  
Hiking Time:  Typical: 3:00  
Outing Duration:  Actual: 3:00   Typical: 5:00  
Season:  Summer
Hike Date:  08/16/2008 (Saturday)  
Last Updated:  11/11/2010  
Weather:  Sunny, clear
Author:  Sue Murphy
Companion:  Seven SDHers

Route Summary   

This is a loop hike across the summits of Welch and Dickey Mountains, providing many views along the way as the trail winds its away across open ledges. It follows the yellow-blazed Welch-Dickey Loop Trail all the Claudette and slab (photo by Sue Murphy) way. The different branches of the loop are commonly referred to as Welch Mountain Trail (the right-hand fork which leads most directly to Welch); and Dickey Mountain Trail (the left-hand fork which goes directly to Dickey Mountain.)

  • Start on the Welch-Dickey Loop Trail which will fork after just 15 yards.
  • Take the right-hand branch to approach Welch Mountain first. (The return trip will be via the opposite leg.)
  • After 1.3 miles on the Welch-Dickey Loop Trail, you will reach the open ledges and extensive views on the southern flank of Welch Mountain.
  • Continue following Welch-Dickey Loop Trail and you will reach the summit of Welch Mountain 0.6 mile later where you will be treated to a 360-degree panorama.
  • Descend the opposite side of the peak, continuing to follow the Welch-Dickey Loop Trail in a northerly direction.
  • You will then need to do some uphill climbing before reaching the summit of Dickey Mountain 0.5 mile from Welch's peak. Dickey Mountain offers views of Franconia Ridge and Franconia Notch. Shortly before the summit, there will be a poorly marked 0.2-mile spur path on the right leading to an open ledge also with an outlook to the north.
  • Still on Welch-Dickey Loop Trail, descend from Dicky's peak in the opposite direction from which you climbed it.
  • After 2.1 miles, you will be back at the fork near the beginning of the loop. Bear right to return to the parking lot.

Place         Split
Welch-Dickey Loop trailhead (1060') 0.0 0.0
Welch Mtn. summit (2605') 1.9 1.9
Dickey Mtn. summit (2734') 0.5 2.4
Welch-Dickey Loop trailhead (1060') 2.1 4.5


SDH on the trail (photo by Sue Murphy) SDH enjoying the views (photo by Sue Murphy)


Indian pipe growing up through leaf litter (photo by Sue Murphy)

Spindle-shaped yellow coral (photo by Sue Murphy)


Map of hike route to Welch Mountain and Dickey Mountain (map by Webmaster)

Trail Guide   

Eight Seacoast Dayhikers gathered in the parking lot of the Welch-Dickey Trailhead. The sun was shining and the skies were beautifully blue. We were all ready to enjoy the day and beat the predicted thunder showers.

We took the right-hand branch of the loop in order to reach Welch Mountain first. The trail started out rather muddy but we stepped gingerly and managed to stay out of the mud except for Quincy (Deb's dog) who literally rolled in it on one occasion. I guess there is something to be said for mud baths.

Deb and Claudette at a stream crossing (photo by Sue Murphy)

The hike was great and we all commented on the fact that for a short hike it certainly had its challenges: the steep climb over open ledges and the scrambling up over rock slabs. There were extensive ledges and excellent views and we stopped often to enjoy them.

Closer to the ground we saw the all-white Indian pipe plant (Monotropa uniflora), some strange bright-yellow fungi called spindle-shaped yellow coral (Clavulinopsis fusiformis), and lots of bear scat.

Just as we were ascending Dickey Mountain we heard rolls of thunder in the distance and stepped up our pace as we wanted to be well off the rocky ridge before a storm came through. We made it back to the parking lot in a record three hours... safe and dry.

Jeff led us to the ice cream place at the Common Man in Plymouth where we had our hiking "reward". Even the dogs got a doggy dish of ice cream. A very nice day.

Trail across slabs (photo by Sue Murphy) Welch Mountain (photo by Sue Murphy)


NH - Central East

Deb (photo by Sue Murphy)
  Driving Directions   

The Welch-Dickey Trailhead is located in Thornton, New Hampshire, about 10 minutes east of I-93.

From I-93:
  • Take exit 28 off I-93, and head east toward Waterville Valley on Rt. 49.
  • Turn left onto Mad River Road (at the traffic signal) and bear right when Mad River Road goes that way.
  • Then turn right onto Upper Mad River Road, which is both paved and dirt.
  • Turn left onto Orris Road (there is a hiker sign at this intersection).
  • Follow Orris Road for 0.6 mile and then take a short fork to the right to reach a large parking area.
  • Bear scat (photo by Sue Murphy)
  • The Welch-Dickey Loop trail starts from the upper end of this parking area and quickly forks with the left branch leading most directly to Dickey Mountain and the right leg first encountering Welch Mountain.

Other Notes   

WMNF Recreational Pass

A parking permit is required to park at White Mountain National Forest trailheads and parking areas. You can purchase a WMNF permit from the forest service and other vendors and can also pay-by-the-day using self-service kiosks located in many parking areas.

For more information on parking passes please refer to the White Mountain National Forest website.

  • $5 per day
  • $30 for a year-long pass
  • $40 for a year for a household

More Welch-Dickey Trail Reports   

  Cairn (photo by Sue Murphy)


Ledges (photo by Sue Murphy) Jack (photo by Sue Murphy) Slabs and view (photo by Sue Murphy)


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