Crawford Notch State Park consists of about 6,000 acres purchased by the state of New Hampshire in 1912 and 1913 to protect it from over-harvest of timber. This is where you will find some of the most dramatic scenery in the White Mountains, including towering cliff walls, looming mountain tops, waterfalls and rivers.
It’s also home to some of the most dramatic stories, one of which is commemorated at The Willey House Historical Site. In 1825, Samuel Willey, Jr. of Bartlett moved his family to the floor of the wild and inhospitable notch to operate an inn for travelers. In the overnight of August 28th, 1826, one of the most notorious rain storms in White Mountain history caused a land slide on the mountain above the Willey House. While the building itself was spared of damage, all family members and hired workers were killed in what is believed to have been an attempt at fleeing the impending disaster. News of the tragedy spread and contributed to a growing fascination with the White Mountains, particularly among artists and writers. Today the site of the Willey House is home to a State Park information center and gift shop, interpretive nature trails and a dammed section of the Saco River open to trout fishing for children 12 and under.
Directions to Next Site:
For a bird’s eye view of Crawford Notch, continue west on Route 302 for about 2.7 miles to the Crawford Notch Train Depot on the left. This is the start of the hiking trail up Mount Willard.