Waterville Valley has a foliage hiking trail for everyone this fall
Waterville Valley Resort, New Hampshire, has the best foliage in New England. And, the world, too. Thanks to the White Mountain National Forest, Waterville Valley is home to the oldest network of hiking trails in America. Hikers have been exploring Waterville Valley since the 1800s, when a group of guests at Greeley's Hotel formed the Waterville Athletic and Improvement Association. The association, also known as WVAIA, is still in going today and continues to oversee the valley's 100+ miles of hiking trails, which range from easy walking paths to heart-thumping ascents. In the forest, trials lead to boulders, waterfalls, sweeping foliage vistas, and ponds. The great news is that the trails start right at your hotel/lodge. And there are no crowds or traffic. Park the car, get on your boots, and hit the trail!
The easy trails in Waterville Valley tend to be high viewing gain, low pain and usually are not more that 3 miles round-trip. An example is the Mad River Trail. The moderate hikes are typically 4 to 6 miles round-trip, and take a few hours, with sustained climbs, but with nothing too steep.
The famed Welch-Dickey trail is in this category. And its foliage views are among the best anywhere. You see both North and South, including into Franconia Notch. On the more difficult trails (5 to 9 miles long), there are long periods of steady climb, with relatively short steep sections, more challenging water-crossings and significant overall mileage that will keep you on the trail. This would be the hike to the peaks of Tripyramid. Great views, but a real challenge.
It’s a matter of knowing how’s your skill level and choosing the right trail for you. In Waterville Valley there’s a foliage trail for everyone and no matter the location, and there’s always a drop dead gorgeous view.