The Crawford Path is the oldest continuously-used mountain trail in America. It was cleared by Abel Crawford and his son Ethan Allen Crawford beginning in 1819. The Crawfords were pioneers in many aspects, building roads and trails and becoming the first lodging magnates of “The Great Notch” which would later be known by their name. The Crawford Path was cleared in 1819 as a tourist attraction for guided treks into the alpine zone of the Presidential Range, first as a foot path, then later as a bridle path for horseback ascents. The trail follows Gibbs Brook which cascades through rugged terrain and some rare old growth forest.
Today, the Crawford Path is a popular hiking route and becomes part of the Appalachian Trail above treeline. Best access is via a dedicated parking lot off Rte 302 just west of the Highland Center. Hike the Crawford Connector Trail .5 miles to the Crawford Path. The Crawford Path continues to the summit of Mount Washington but should only be attempted by fit hikers properly equipped – it is a full day’s hike 8 miles long and the ridge line is fully exposed to the elements.
Directions to Next Site:
The Crawford Path traverses the ridge of the Southern Presidential Mountains. For a view of this ridge from a breathtaking standpoint, head to the next site on the Weeks Act Legacy Trail, 1.5 miles west on Rte 302. The Mount Eisenhower Wayside is on the right.