Welch & Dickey

White Mountain National Forest, New Hampshire

Photos & Text By Gale Straub

Sponsored by Vuarnet Sunglasses

The Welch and Dickey Loop in Thorton, NH is my go-to hike half day hike in the White Mountains. I grew up just an hour away and if I am nearby in Autumn, I always hike it in peak foliage season. Why? If you can’t devote a whole day to the trail, Welch and Dickey delivers 4,000 footer views at less than 3/4 the elevation. For the majority of the four mile loop, you are exposed on ledges and treated to open sky.

The first overlook comes just a little over one mile into the hike.
The first overlook comes just a little over one mile into the hike.

The Details:

Length: ~4.1 miles

Time: Average online: 3 hours; We hike it in 2 hours.

Elevation Gain: 1,650′ (cumulative)

Welch Mountain: 2,605′

Dickey Mountain: 2,734′

Difficulty: Moderate

Recommended Route: Turning right at trailhead split to summit Welch first.

Vuarnet Round Cable Car Sunglasses - for a sunny day on trail.
Vuarnet Round Cable Car Sunglasses – for a sunny day on trail.

This year, I went on a perfect autumn day. The air was crisp in the best, cliché way. It was windy, but there were so few clouds in they sky that I hardly noticed. You could see for miles. In New England, the weather is always changing. Our seasons are ephemeral, which makes them that much sweeter. This kind of day does not come around often, and there was no place I’d rather be than on a mountain. It’s funny, sometimes I think I’m missing out by not living on the west coast. Yet, when I’m in White Mountain National Forest, or sitting by a lake in Maine, or contemplating the history of 300 year old town, I know that every area of our country has a lot to offer if you’re open and curious.

It's fun to look out at a ledge and know you'll walk it. View from Welch Mountain looking SW.
It’s fun to look out at a ledge and know you’ll walk it. View from Welch Mountain looking SW.

1.9 miles into the trail, you reach the summit of Welch Mountain. Above and below are some views from the top.

View from Welch Mountain looking NE.
View from Welch Mountain looking NE.
So much of hiking is looking forward and looking back.
So much of hiking is looking forward and looking back.

Just a half mile from the summit of Welch, you reach the summit of Dickey. From there, you can look back at Welch and consider the relativity of life.

Walking the ledge
Walking the ledge

My favorite part of the loop is hiking down Dickey. You get to walk down the ledge you see from the summit of Welch and it’s a great place to sit and take in the view. I wore Vuarnets for the hike and cursed myself for not bringing the polarizer filter for my camera lens. Vuarnet is known for their mineral glass lenses that cut glare and reflection; I wish I had a camera in my brain so I could share how I saw that day.

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Needless to say, if you live in New England and you have a half day to hike, I highly recommend the Welch and Dickey loop. You’ll pop out of the woods refreshed, exercised, and (hopefully) inspired.

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Photos (C) 2016 Gale Straub

Gale Straub is the founder of She Explores. Learn more on her Website.

Note: This piece is sponsored by Vuarnet Sunglasses and based on the writer’s unbiased experience. Sponsored pieces help support and maintain She Explores.

What places do you return to year after year?