- Mountain Weather Forecast
- Online Map
- Huts and Established Trailside Campsites
- Coordinates of Trailheads for GPS users
These notes are written to help you compare the various routes that are commonly used to hike to the peaks. They are written on the assumption that you have a guidebook and a set of maps, so no directions are given to trailheads, and the trails are not described in any detail. I have omitted hikes that are substantially longer or more difficult than the standard ones, or that are simply less often used. The fact that a trail is not mentioned here does not imply that it is unsuitable.
The Recreation Report for New Hampshire and Western Maine gives a two day forecast for higher elevations (separate forecasts for elevations of 2,500 to 4,000 feet and for above 4,000 feet). There is also a point forecast for Mount Field.
If you do not have a printed map handy you may want to look at a TopoZone map of Mounts Hale, Tom, Field and Willey.
The AMC operates one hut and one backcountry campsite in this area of the White Mountains of New Hampshire. Fees are charged at all of them, reservations are advised at the huts, but there are no reservations at the campsites.
- The Zealand Falls Hut is located
near the junction of the Twinway and Zealand trails [ow: 2.8 miles,
650 feet, 1:45]. A longer approach is from Crawford Notch by the
Avalon and A-Z trails [ow: 5.5 miles, 2,000 feet, 3:45]. It is
possible to bag peaks on the way in to the hut (or out from it), or
as daytrips beginning and ending at the hut.
- The Ethan Pond campsite is reached by the Ethan Pond trail [ow: 2.6 miles, 1,450 feet, 2:00]. It has a shelter plus 3 single and 3 double platforms. It is mainly used for backcountry camping, and is of little interest to peakbaggers.
These peaks are close together, and the classic way to bag them is to do all three of them in one trip from Crawford Notch. They may also be done individually or in pairs, and can be approached from Zealand Hut (or the Zealand Trail trailhead) or the Willey House site in addition to the classic approach from the Notch. Add the possibility of traverses or loops, and it is clear that there are too many possibilities for all to be listed. I will therefore only cover the most frequently used routes.
The many ways of incorporating these peaks in a trip to Zealand Hut (on the way in, on the way out, as a daytrip from the hut and back) are covered in the page on Zealand Hut.
When done alone it is usually reached by the Avalon, A-Z and Mt. Tom spur trails (rt: 5.8 miles, 2,150 feet, 4:00).
Like Mount Tom this can be done as a single peak from either Crawford Notch or in conjunction with a Zealand Hut trip. The Avalon Trail goes from the Notch to the Willey Range Trail a short distance north of the summit of Mount Field (rt: 5.6 miles, 2,400 feet, 4:00). There are good views from Mount Avalon, going up the short but steep spur to its summit adds about 100 yards each way.
When done alone Mount Willey is approached from the south, going up the Willey Range Trail, which has very steep and rough sections. You can start at either the Ethan Pond Trail or the Kendron Flume Trail, the latter is steeper and rougher (rt: 5.4, 2,850, 4:10 from Ethan Pond trailhead, add 150 feet (0:05) if starting from Kendron Flume trailhead).
A very common combination, easier than many single intermediate 4,000 footers! To start with Mount Field ascend the Avalon Trail almost to the summit, optionally (strongly recommended) taking the short spur to Mount Avalon. Then go north along the Willey Range Trail to its junction with the A-Z Trail, and go right (east) a short distance to the Mount Tom Spur. After climbing Mount Tom descend by the A-Z and Avalon trails to the trailhead (lp: 7.2 miles, 2,750 feet, 5:00).
These are most often done as a round trip by the Avalon and Willey Range trails (rt: 8.4 miles, 3,050 feet, 5:45). This involves a steep (but fairly short) climb up Mount Field on the return trip, which can be very unwelcome!
An alternative, much steeper and rougher, which requires a car spot, traverses the Willey Range rather than going in and out the same way. Starting at the Avalon Trail, follow it to the summit of Mount Field, then take the Willey range trail to the summit of Mount Willey. That trail then descends (very steeply at first) to join the Ethan Pond Trail about 1.6 miles from its start (lp: 6.9 miles, 2,700 feet, 4:50). Doing it in the opposite direction adds 450 feet of elevation gain (0:15).
Either of the two ways of doing Mounts Field and Willey can be extended to add Mount Tom. If doing the loop from Crawford Notch, descend from Mount Field by the Willey Range trail to its junction with the A-Z trail, take the Mt. Tom spur to the summit and back, and return by the A-Z and Avalon trails (lp: 10.0 miles, 3,400 feet, 6:40).
If doing the Willey Range traverse (assuming you start at the notch) ascend by the Avalon and A-Z Trails to the height of land, go up and down the Mount Tom Spur, then do the full length of the Willey Range Trail to the Ethan Pond Trail, which will take you to the trailhead (lp: 8.5 miles, 3,100 feet, 5:45). Doing it in the opposite direction adds 450 feet of elevation gain (0:15).
To summarize, here are the distances, elevation gains and book times of the various possible routes to the peaks of the Willey Range (excluding routes involving Zealand Hut, which are tabulated on that page).
|Route||Distance||Elevation Gain||Book Time|
|Mt. Willey from Ethan Pond Trail||5.4||2,850||4:10|
|Mt. Willey from Kendron Flume||5.4||3,000||4:15|
|Mts. Tom and Field||7.2||2,750||5:00|
|Mts. Field and Willey, RT from notch||8.4||3,050||5:45|
|Mts. Field and Willey, traverse from notch||6.9||2,700||4:50|
|Mts. Field and Willey, traverse from Willey House||6.9||3,150||5:00|
|Mts. Tom, Field and Willey, loop from notch||10.0||3,400||6:40|
|Willey Range Traverse, from notch||8.5||3,100||5:45|
|Willey Range Traverse, from Willey House||8.5||3,550||6:00|