Mt. Field, Mt. Willey, & Mt. Tom

Overview:

The summits of Mt. Field, Willey, & Tom sits squarely in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. While we hiked in the winter months, the three peaks offer a fun and rigorous opportunity for hiking year round with great views of the nearby Mt. Washington and Presidential Range.  

Difficulty:

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The trail system in this area provides hikers with a large degree of flexibility when planning out their hike. Groups can choose to zip up an easier route directly to Mt Tom [ miles total], or a moderate route which can add Mt. Field and Mt. Willey to your agenda [ miles total]. 

Parking & Transport:

Public parking area

The AMC Highland Center sits just north of the main access trail head, making it an excellent landmark to put into your GPS. Travel time from Boston, MA is less than three hours. Heading up from Hartford, CT or Providence, RI adds a little over an hour to travel time.

Highland Center parking is reserved for guests, so you will wan to park just south at the public parking area [ 44° 12' 52.1" N 71° 24' 28.2" W ]. 

If you plan to park in cold weather, make sure your vehicle has good traction and won't get stuck on packed ice.

Route & Navigation:

Easy Route - 5.6 miles round trip, Hike from your car to the summit of Mt. Tom and back.

From the parking area walk north along US-302 until you reach Crawford Notch Station which is, and looks just like a tiny train station. The trail you need to take is immediately behind the train station. You will start hiking on Avalon trail for 1.2 miles. You may notice several smaller trails which split off to the left, ignore these until you reach a major split in the trail. At the major split you will head to the right, this will take you off of Avalon trail and onto the A-Z trail. Hike along the A-Z trail for 1.0 miles until you find a trail labeled Mt. Tom or Mt. Tom Spur trail. Since you are hiking in, the Mt. Tom Spur trail should be on your right. Climb up the trail for 0.6 miles at which point you will be at the summit of Mt. Tom. The summit is marked by a small level area of slightly open and wooded ground. Relax and enjoy the view. 

To navigate back down you will follow the same trails in reverse. Hike down Mt. Tom Spur trail until you reach the A-Z trail. Turn left and hike down the A-Z trail until you reach a trail junction. At the junction you will turn slightly left and continue moving downhill, at this point you are back on the Avalon trail. Follow the trail straight down until you arrive back at Crawford Notch Station. From there simply walk back to your car.

Moderate Route - 9.8 miles round trip, Hike from your car to four summits, including three 4,000 footers [Tom, Field, & Willey].

From the parking area walk north along US-302 until you reach Crawford Notch Station which is, and looks just like a tiny train station. The trail you need to take is immediately behind the train station. You will start hiking on Avalon trail for 1.2 miles. You may notice several smaller trails which split off to the left, ignore these until you reach a major split in the trail. At the major split you will head to the left, this will keep you on Avalon trail.

Shortly after you will find an small spur trail heading off to your left, the optional side trail is only a few hundred feet long, it will take you to the summit of Mt. Avalon. While the summit is not a 4,000 footer, it offers fantastic views of the Presidential Range including Mt. Washington. Return to Avalon trail and continue to climb upwards.

Avalon trail will intersect with Willey Range trail, at the junction turn left. At this point you are very close to the summit of Mt. Field. As you turn left and continue on, you are now hiking on Willey Range Trail.  You will reach the summit fo Mt. Field in short order. The summit is marked by an open area and several small side trails which lead to good viewing and photo areas. If you are lucky you will also run into some grey jays, the birds occupy the summit nearly year round. 

From here continue on Willey Range Trail. Finding the correct trail to lead you off the summit can be confusing because of all the other viewing trails. If you draw an imaginary straight line from the trail which brought you to the summit, it will point almost exactly to the correct exit, and to Mt. Willey. Hike another 1.4 miles during which you will loose elevation and then climb back up again. The summit of Mt Willey, 4,285', can be identified by a rock cairn [large pile of rocks].

Turn around and head back the same way you came from on Willey Range trail. 1.4 miles will bring you back to the summit of Mt. Field. Continue on Willey Range trail for another 0.9 miles until you reach a trail junction. At the junction turn right to begin hiking on the A-Z trail. Within a few hundred feet you will find a trail labeled Mt. Tom or Mt. Tom Spur trail. Since you are hiking back out, the Mt. Tom Spur trail should be on your left. Climb up the trail for 0.6 miles at which point you will be at the summit of Mt. Tom. The summit is marked by a small level area of slightly open and wooded ground. Relax and enjoy the view. 

To navigate back down you will follow the same trail in reverse until you reach the A-Z trail again. At the junction turn left and hike down the A-Z trail until you reach a trail junction. At the junction you will turn slightly left and continue moving downhill, at this point you are back on the Avalon trail. Follow the trail straight down until you arrive back at Crawford Notch Station. From there simply walk back to your car.

Maps & Precautions - It's important to be prepared when hiking. Part of being prepared is having proper maps of the area you plan to hike in. You can purchase a printed White Mountain map or access to digital maps from the AMC.

Time:

An average hiker in good conditions can expect to complete the easy route [Mt. Tom] in 3-5 hours. The moderate route [Mt. Tom, Field, Avalon, & Willey] should take 6-9 hours.

Our hike in winter conditions took eight hours to complete all four peaks. 

Gear:

The weather in the White Mountains can change quickly. Be prepared and bring the right gear to stay safe. 

Cost:

There are no fees or entry costs to hike this route. Aside from transportation and food your hike is free.