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White Mountain National Forest lies within the White Mountains in the U.S. states of New Hampshire and Maine. It's crossed by the White Mountain Trail and Kancamagus scenic drives, plus part of the Appalachian Trail. Dating to the 1860s, the Mt. Washington Cog Railway climbs to the summit of Mt. Washington, the highest peak in the northeastern U.S. The area is also known for bright fall foliage and winter skiing.

Equipment/trail conditions
We started from the north side (near the east peak) at the trail head just before the hairpin turn on the kank.

Trail head is plowed but the parking lot is icey and small. It can hold probably ten cars until the overflow needs to park on the street, which is not ideal. There were signs saying we had to pay 3$ to park there but no envelopes to pay to, so this may not be enforced in the winter.

The hike is popular, and the frozen lake that is accessible from this trailhead is as well, so I would advise getting to the trail head earlier than later to ensure you have somewhere to park.

Most people were doing the hike in micro spikes or yak tracks, but crampons are recommended for the summit because it's damn steep. I completed the hike to the east peak summit using only snow shoes although I had crampons I never needed them since the snow was light. We did not traverse the chimney due to rain.

Anecdotal:

You pass over many small streams as the hike begins which empty into a lake a quarter mile detour off the trail. I was told the lake is quite beautiful, but did not go myself due to rain.

Definitely a memorable hike. The hike up is the steepest in the north east, and it shows. It is intense. This makes the way down also a great bit of fun. I recommend bringing a mountaineering pick to perform emergency stops as you sled down the mountain. Half the trail head can be sled down without a sled on your rear, with a small plastic sled I watched someone sled the majority.

Short, tough hike there were no views on the cloudy day we went, but I could see how there would be some nice views had it not rained. Decently would come back for the sledding.

Equipment/trail conditions
Trail head is plowed but the parking lot is a big sheet of ice.

Most people were doing the hike in micro spikes or yak tracks, but crampons are recommended for the summit because of a large amount of ice. Couple people just used snow shoes as well, dogs even made it to the summit.

Anecdotal:
Probably my favorite hike, you have the stream/falls which are beautiful in the winter; we met some people ice climbing the falls while we hiked.

The hike is manageable, and the view is the best in the north east at the summit offering a 360 degree view. That and the accessibility make this one of the most popular hikes, so I recommend showing up to the trail head around 8am or earlier unless you want to share the peak with a ton of other people.

Great hike along a stream at lower elevations. Cliff views are great at Welches ledges

hiking
4 days ago

hiking
4 days ago

hiking
6 days ago

snowshoeing
7 days ago

01/16/17 This trail was less traveled for sure, it brings you up onto a ridge for a ways but then goes down into the valley and brings you to a wide brook, crossing this in the Winter is very dangerous, myself I turned around, the water was deep and moving at a good rate, snow bridges are hollow underneath with running water also, it was about 3ft deep or better and wide, I'll go back in the Summer

excellent views on the summit, be prepared to see a good amount of people even in mid winter. Spring/Summer/fall is probably packed. Definitely recommend crampons in winter.

Great winter hike great views.

I've hiked several mountains in New Hampshire, but the Franconia Ridge Trail Loop has been the most epic and scene so far. My friend and I camped at Campton Campground (nice site, no complaints) the evening we arrived and then hit the trail the next morning. I wrote up a long photo-filled blog post about it if anyone is interested: http://photography.lukepeters.me/hiking-the-franconia-ridge-loop

Went up via hale brook trail. FYI Zealand road is closed in the winter. Ends up being close to 10 miles total up Zealand rd and then up Hale round trip. More difficult on the ledge than expected, because of all the snow. it was pretty deep in some spots. Great views of Mount Washington from the trail.

hiking
20 days ago

what a fantastic hike! I left my truck at around 6:00 or 6:15 hoping to catch the sunrise when I got to the top and I did. beautiful views and a fresh few inches of snow just made my day. I usually do bigger mountains but Im new to the winter hiking and wanted to play my solo trip safe. the views are better than some 4000 footers that ive climbed recently and not matter what your experience level is, I highly recommend it.