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White Mountain National Forest lies within the White Mountains in the U.S. states of New Hampshire and Maine. It's crossed by the White Mountain Trail and Kancamagus scenic drives, plus part of the Appalachian Trail. Dating to the 1860s, the Mt. Washington Cog Railway climbs to the summit of Mt. Washington, the highest peak in the northeastern U.S. The area is also known for bright fall foliage and winter skiing.

Note: The above picture is from form a different trail, NOT this trail. (West Rattlesnake Mountain via Old Bridle Trail)

This trail immediately starts off on an incline and the incline only gets worse before leveling out for the most part on the loop - which still has some small variances in elevation. There is NOT a lake view but you do get a view of windmills which ruin the experience in my opinion. To the north you can see Carr Mountain, Mt. Kineo and Stinson Mountain, to the south views of Mt. Cardigan and Tenney Mountain are visible.

Parking can be a nightmare. The lot only holds 5 cars (if people don't hog space). As an alternative if you're with a group and have 2 or more vehicles you can park at the cliffs where people rock climb about a half mile away and shuttle to the trailhead.

This was both of my Son's first mountain hike. We had a blast!

Beautiful hike!!! We were here mid August and all wildflowers were bloomed out but scenery along the creek were outstanding! Awesome white birches everywhere. Falls area was Zen-like. Many little areas where you could sit and soak up the spirit of the woods. Hike to the very top of the falls for great view of Mtn valley! Highly recommended hike!!!!!!!

This was our second time doing this loop. Do your reading and research if you've not done it, and make sure you check the weather and bring everything you should have for this type of hike. We are "middle aged" (49) only semi-fit hikers who hike slowly and carefully. Everyone passed us, but we took our time deliberately and it was not bad at all. Poles made a world of difference from when I hiked it 2 years ago without them. I strained my knee that day coming down, but this time the poles took a lot of the stress and weight off of them. First time we hiked it in about 7 hours (8 including breaks) but this time we took about 9.5 hours at an enjoyable pace. Highly recommend beginning with Falling Waters Trail. While it's only slightly steeper than Old Bridle Trail, the location of the Greenleaf Hut is much more welcome when you're starting down and have a good deal of the hike behind you. My least favorite part of the hike is the very smooth, slippery-when-dry rock you sometimes encounter on Old Bridle. Go slowly, use poles, and use your head. :) We will be doing this hike again in the future.

As someone who has done a lot of climbing in the White Mountains, I was not expecting much in the way of views from a loop fully below the treeline. Wrong does not begin to cover it. Despite a modest elevation this trail features an incredible number of massive, exposed rock slabs that provide jaw dropping views almost the entire way and doable climbing for all ages. These slabs get up to the size of tennis courts and make the climb feel like an walk up a paved hill, rather than the rock stairs of most other trails in the whites that are punishing on your knees. There are a half-dozen spots that require a bit of hands and knees scrambling, but nothing treacherous. Could be a bit of a challenge for total beginners, but if you can do Mt. Monadnock, you can do this. We came across several groups with children who seemed to be having a blast, and with good reason. This is truly a fantastic hike that is both a blast for veteran hikers, yet also something I would feel comfortable taking my non-hiker friends on. Just do it; its one of the best day hikes I've done in years.
(As others have recommended, definitely do the loop counterclockwise.)
(We hiked on a beautiful sunny day, but I imagine it could be a little more difficult if the rocks were wet.)

1 day ago

My fiance and I did this one and had never hiked before. We realized how crazy we were upon speaking to other hikers at the top. Neither of us had researched and got a suggestion from a waiter at a restaurant on where/what to hike... we took the waiter's suggestion and were exhausted, but were thrilled we did it. It's a beautiful hike, although I have to admit I may've cried about half way up to the top... The journey to the top feels like it's never ending and is quite steep and painful if you aren't in superior shape. By the time we were coming up Little Haystack, his legs were cramping up and I was running out of water (had 3L bladders), but the pain is worth it! The majestic beauty at the top is amazing! The journey down is again... painful on the knees... but I wouldn't have traded it for anything. We're excited to make this one a reoccuring tradition throughout our lives and I'm looking forward to the next time, even now knowing what to expect.

A fun challenge. Very rocky terrain. Huge reward when you get to the falls. Great place to soak your feet after the climb up.

What a wonderful trail; gradual incline that gave no indication you were climbing a 4000' mountain. Peaceful trail through the woods with nice viewpoints created along the way by trail crews. The summit was busy but the 360° views were worth it.

Construction continues at the lodge. We walked an additional 0.8 miles to the trail head from the car. Plan on adding some extra mileage for now!

Great hike with amazing views all along the trail. Did this trail counterclockwise and it did not disappoint. If you don't stop for the scenery this hike can be done in a couple hours but can easily turn into an all day hike as well if you stop at all the scenic spots - spend more time stopped at the views. While you traverse up Mount Welch don't forget to occasionally look back at the great views. On top on Mt. Welch is 360 panorama of multiple named mountains in the region giving this short hike great bang for effort. I would not recommend this hike when raining unless you're comfortable climbing and descending high angle wet granite slabs.

Save this one for the fall. Nice hike if you like a little mileage without much to view but not much else. The bridges down past the campsite have been removed so be ready for a water crossing if you wish to continue much further.

1 day ago

Very nice short trail with plenty of parking. Beware of multiple loose railings near the waterfall, some are marked off and some are not. The waterfall does not disappoint and is easily enough to access. There are multiple benches along the short route for viewing the stream below the fall.

So amazing. One of the best views I've ever seen! Worth the hike up.