The view of Crawford Notch from the top of Mount Willard has been an attraction throughout most of the Notch’s great history. Over a century ago, visitors could take a horse-drawn carriage ride to the overlook at the top. Today, that carriage road is a hiking trail that climbs 900 feet in elevation over 1.7 miles to the breathtaking vista. The open ledge at the top of the trail looks down on the dramatic U-shape of Crawford Notch carved by the last continental glacier. Two eras of transportation stretch side-by-side through the Notch, Route 302 on the left, and on the right the rails laid by the Portland and Ogdensburg Railroad Company in the 1870s. The railroad sparked a surge in White Mountain tourism and at the same time provided a main line for logging railroads to get their product to the coast, accelerating two ideologically opposed industries toward a head-on collision. Today, the land in front of you is a NH State Park and the rails are operated for sight seeing excursions out of North Conway. Frankenstein Trestle (named after artist Godfrey Frankenstein) is an awe- inspiring work of human ingenuity, spanning more than 500 feet across and 80 feet above Frankenstein Gulf.
To hike Mount Willard, take the Avalon Trail behind the Crawford Notch Train Depot. The trail for Mount Willard forks to the left shortly.
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Beyond the mouth of this great notch lie several other sites of great beauty, historical significance and recreational interest. They await on The Weeks Act Legacy Trail.