The White Trail
begins at the front door of the visitor center. Turn right at the main trailhead to stay on the White Trail
(the Red Trail
descends to the left). After you enter the forest, the trail will fork. You can go either way, but going right allows you to get a good warm up with gentle inclines. It also allows you to get some of the less-scenic parts out of the way.
After turning right, you'll cross a couple of park roads and eventually end up on an old gravel road. At about a mile, you'll turn left on another gravel road. Follow that all the way to some large fields (great for seeing wildlife in the morning and evening). The White Trail
turns right in the fields, continuing southwest. You'll soon be on a rock doubletrack descent which will take you to a narrower trail nestled in a stream drainage. Keep following the white blazes.
After about 2.3 miles, keep going straight at the intersection with the Brown Trail
(where there is a bridge to the right), and you'll eventually end up at Sweetwater Creek. Along the creek, the trail goes through a lot of little rock gardens and there are some easy scrambles over large rock outcroppings. You'll do this for a while until you hit some very steep stairs. Climb the stairs and follow the boardwalk over some steep sections.
Eventually you'll come to a confusing intersection with the Red Trail
. The White Trail
goes up the steep, eroded stairs, while the Red Trail
goes back towards the river. Turn left and climb up a switchback until the trail levels out on the side of a hill. You'll meander around the hills and then come out at the New Manchester ruins. Stop and take a photo, then continue left away from the ruins up the White Trail
. Stay right at the intersection with Green Trail
. Continue on through two large, lush stream drainages and back to the visitor center.
Note: The trail is VERY eroded in parts and has a lot of rocks, roots, and short steep climbs. This is not a hike for the faint of heart!
Ferns, fields, beech, deer, copperhead snakes.