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Franconia Ridge - Mt. Lincoln & Lafayette

A fantastic strenuous ridge-hike with great views all around
Rating: 5 out of 5 by EveryTrail members
Difficulty: Strenuous
Length: 8.5 miles
Duration: Full day

Overview :  This is a very popular full day hike for good reasons. On a clear day, you are unlikely to find better views in New England. Combine... more »

Tips:  I see many people doing this hike in tennis shoes and T-shirts. Please don't! Although this is one of the more hiked routes, the... more »

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Points of Interest

1. Lafayette Campground, Elevation 1450ft

The campground gets really busy, so make sure to book well in advance if you plan on staying here. If you have a car, I recommend staying at the nearby Waterest Campground (www.waterestcampground.com/)

2. Trailhead parking

There is limited parking at the trailhead and the trail gets very busy during weekends and holidays. Make sure to arrive early. If the parking lot is full, people can park along I93 or across the road at Lafayette Campground.

Restrooms are located just after the start of the trail.

Start the hike at 'Falling Waters Trail', which is rather steep,... More

3. Waterfall

You will experience many waterfalls on your way up

4. Shinning Rock

This is a little detour of roughly 200yds to a large rock-slab with great overlooks. Don't try to climb the slippery slides!

5. Welcome to the Alpine zone

You are about to enter the tree line. If it is a cold day, make sure that you get extra clothes on now. The ridge is very exposed, so expect temperatures to drop dramatically over the next few yards on a windy day.

6. Little Haystack Mountain, Elevation 4459ft

Welcome! You are now on top of the first 4000 footer of the day. To the east you can see the presidential range, with Mt. Washington towering above everything else. Closer to the east, you can see Twin Mt., Mt. Guyot, Mt. Bond and Bond Cliff. To the west you can see Mt. Moosilauke and the dramatic granite wall of Canon Mountain. On a good day you ... More

7. Mt. Lincoln, Elevation 5089ft

After a great climb from Little Haystack, you are now on top of the second 4000 footer of the day. Prepare for the last climb up to Mt. Lafayette.

8. Mt. Lafayette, Elevation 5249ft

Congratulations on having climbed 3800ft over roughly 5miles and hit the third and final 4000 footer of the day. Mt. Lafayette is the highest mountain outside the presidental range in New Hampshire and on a clear day you will have amazing views all around.

If the weather is bad or windy, make sure you huddle down behind the old walls on the... More

9. Old Bridle Path/Greenleaf Trail

Pick up the old bridle path for a relatively easy hike down the mountain.

10. AMC Greenleaf hut, Elevation 4200ft

Stop by the AMC-run Greenleaf hut and enjoy freshly cooked brownies and some cold water.

11. Viewpoint

Step off the trail to the left onto a massive rock and you will be able to get some impressive views of the ravines and Mt. Lafayette

12. Viewpoint

Turn your head and you will be able to see the entire ridge in all its glory.