At the southern end of the White Mountains, the Waterville Valley is best known for the ski resort and summer resort of the same name. But there is more to this valley cut by the Mad River, which extends far back into a vast wilderness that forms the southern part of the White Mountain National Forest. A trail about 4.5 miles long climbs to a series of flat, slightly sloping ledges that connect Welch and Dickey Mountains. The track forms a loop, so you don't need to turn around. Although the mountains are not very high compared to the mountains further north, they differ from each other, so that their peaks reveal views that extend surprisingly far away. It is a good trail for children, but it is not a good hiking trail just after a rain, as the smooth granite edges can be very slippery when wet. Get a copy of the Walking Trails of Waterville Valley at the Jugtown Store in the resort's main square for this and several other short hikes in the valley. To reach the trailhead from Highway 49, follow Upper Mad River Road to Orris Road.
The Lonesome Lake Trail is family-friendly and takes you on an easy hike around Lonesome Lake through dense, shaded woods, followed by a sunny beach, ideal for a picnic and a refreshing swim. It is an ideal trip for those looking for a peaceful and quiet day with the family and a longer hike. Although most of the three-mile loop is flat, there is a short steep section, where the climb is made manageable by zigzagging upwards rather than by straight shot. Don't forget to follow the Lonesome Lake trail to the right to ensure an easier walk around the lake to the beach.