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Waterville Valley is one of the best base camps for recreating in the Whites. Skiing, hiking, running, biking, you name it, you can do it. I've hiked almost every inch of trail in the valley, but one of the few I had left was the Yellow Jacket/Pine Flat Trails. Both can be used for whatever activity you want because they're wide enough and not too steep. I opted to run them on a crisp fall day.

The trail starts at the Smarts Brook Trailhead, and it's got a little bit of elevation gain up to the Yellow Jacket Trail from Pine Flats. It's called Pine Flats because of the many pine trees along the trail, I presume.

The trail is quite scenic, so it can be busy, but I didn't see a single person when I went. Eventually, you reach the junction with the Yellow Jacket Trail, which also climbs up a bit in elevation.

When you reach the Smarts Brook Trail junction, it's pretty much all downhill from there. And it's a stunning trail, more akin to a gravel road than a hiking trail. There's also a great swimming hole in the warmer months that people frequent right around this junction.

This is a perfect short loop for those on limited time if you don't mind sharing it with crowds on weekends.

Total Time: ~29 minsTotal Distance: ~3.3 miles (Garmin Fenix 5x Plus)Total Elevation Gain: ~380 ft vertical gain