Welch and Dickey Loop: Trip Report

The loop over Welch and Dickey Mountains is one of my favorite hikes, and is great for days when I want something quick and rewarding. It offers outstanding views of the surrounding mountain ranges, exposed summits, and many open ledges and rock outcrops along the trail. The entire loop is only 4.5 miles, with an elevation gain of about 1650 feet.

Welch-Dickey Loop
Getting there: From the Notch Hostel, take Rt. 93 south about ten minutes to Exit 28 for Campton. Take NH-49 E to Upper Mad River Rd, turn R on Orris Rd, drive ’til you see the trailhead parking lot. Rt. 49 parallels the Mad River, which flows through Waterville Valley.

Welch-Dickey Loop Trail sign

Welch-Dickey Loop Trail sign at the parking lot. Most people go over Welch first. It’s more fun to go up the smooth ledges than down them.

Welch Mountain Trail
Welch Mountain Trail is easy and well-maintained.
Welch ledges
You emerge from the woods here and get to enjoy a beautiful walk along Welch’s ledges. Islands of unique soil and plants appear all along the bare rock. These outcrop islands contain fragile and rare species that can take up to 400 years to develop.
A good place to have a snack and get a tan. Several people were lying out on the bare rock here basking in the sunlight.
A good place to have a snack and get a tan. Several people were lying out on the bare rock here basking in the sunlight.
Welch views
Great views from Welch.
More views from Welch
More great views.
The Welch summit cairn.
The Welch summit cairn.
Welch summit cairn
Someone had fun building this.
Looking back on Welch's summit from Dickey
Looking back on Welch’s rocky summit from Dickey.
Dickey Cliffs
Dickey Cliffs. People sometimes ski down the side of Dickey in the winter.
Dickey summit cairn
Dickey summit cairn
Dickey ledges
Ledges along the descent from Dickey’s summit back toward the parking lot. Next time I’m bringing my folding chair and a book.
Dickey Mountain Trail.
Nicely-laid steps on the way down Dickey Mountain Trail.
Brown Ash Swamp Bike Trail
The trail meets the Brown Ash Swamp Bike Trail just before the parking lot. This mountain bike trail goes all the way to Tripoli Road, although I’ve heard that it is not well-maintained.

Perfect hike today. It was great meeting Helen the yoga instructor, Gaylen and her pup, Debbie from Concord and her lab and pug, Webb the GoPro guy, and Bill the skier. Webb has an active Youtube channel with videos from all his hikes. Here’s his video from today (with an excellent choice of tunes!):

Looking forward to returning to this hike again soon. The Welch-Dickey loop also makes for a great night hike during the full moon.

— Serena

Serena and Justin Walsh
Serena and Justin Walsh are the owners and managers of the Notch Hostel


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