Mount Willard is one of several hiking trails in the Crawford Notch area, and it offers a fantastic view from the open ledges on the summit. The trail begins behind the historic Crawford Notch Depot and across the railroad tracks, where you can check out the Macomber Family Information Center on your way in or out to learn more about the history of the area. There is a gift shop, restrooms, showers, and picnic tables at the trailhead and a small, scenic lake across the highway. If you’re looking to spend the night and make a weekend stay in Crawford Notch, the Appalachian Mountain Club’s Highland Center is within walking distance and offers lodging, meals, and educational programs for all ages.
The trail up Mount Willard starts out on the Avalon Trail and breaks off to the left after the first tenth of a mile. The trail ascends steadily on a wide path and is never very steep, making it a great option for children and beginners. Pass the Centennial Pool and a small waterfall along the way, and step out on to the open summit ledge to peer down into the carved out glacial gorge below. Mount Wiley and Mount Webster rise up on either side of you, creating a dramatic landscape with Route 302 running across the valley floor. Turn around to see Mount Washington through an opening in the trees and, during the fall, the colorful foliage fading from yellow and orange below to the evergreen of the higher elevations.