Garfield Ridge Trail is a 12.2 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Bethlehem, NH that features beautiful wild flowers and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible from April until September. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.
dogs on leash
Directions from Franconia Notch State Park, NH: Travel north on I-93 to US 3 east. Travel about 5 miles to Gale River Loop Road. The trailhead is about 1 mile down the road on the right.
We hiked Mt Garfield trail to Garfield Ridge Trail then took GRT to Lafayette, traversing Mt Garfield. From Lafayette we overnighted at Greenleaf Hut and then took Bridle Path to Lafayette Campground in the AM. Day 1 was just a hair under 10 miles and Day 2 about 3 miles.
We loved this hike although weather was not great. Started the day w carbo load at Sunny Day Diner in N Woodstock and the owner of our hotel in that same town offered to drive us to trailhead off NH 3 from Lafayette Campground where we left our car. She also let us store luggage and valuables in her garage so as not to have to leave them in car parked overnight.
We started at 9 and arrived at Greenleaf about 5:20 with an hour for lunch on Mt Garfield. The hike to the ridge was a bit hit and humid but we made good time gaining the ridge in 2:50 and Garfield summit 10 minutes later. We enjoyed 50/60 minutes on summit with fine views of Franconia Ridge and Pemi Wilderness. We had nice outlooks to the east along Garfield Ridge over to Galehead Hut. The Presidentials were under cloud cover but a clear day would have afforded a great look at them as well.
We had some cooling rain on walk to Lafayette. This was a fairly rigorous climb with several altitude gains and losses along the way. We encountered numerous through hikers and stopped to chat with a few. Was amazed to see a guy hiking 1800 miles in Chakas. We were a bit nervous about dark clouds and the potential for storms while summit ting Lafayette but after a time the rain stopped and we ascended in windy clouds. Lafayette from that direction has 3-4 false summits and it got to be kind of funny thinking we had arrived only to discover another massif emerging from the clouds. We had to rely on the cairns for trail marking and all in our group enjoyed that aspect.
Climb down to Greeleaf is slow and a bit arduous at end of day. The trail was wet and that adds to challenge of course. The hut emerged from clouds about 30 minutes out and of course you see people relaxing and talking and having fun a good bit before you get there. Suffice to say we were highly satisfied to arrive. Dinner was good. The shared flask of single malt was even better. My group was in bed by 8:15 and we were rocked to sleep by an amazing mountain thunderstorm. I slept like a stone.
Day 2 plans originally called for re-summit of Lafayette and a walk along Franconia Ridge to Falling Waters Trail. We bailed on that idea due to cloudy low visibility conditions and just came down Bridle Path.
This was a great hike. Long tiring but doable and rewarding. For those not interested in an overnight, you could summit Lafayette and then return same day to northern part of Franconia Notch via Skookumchuck Trail. This is likely a 10 hour day but doable w a car spot.
Loved this hike. It's a little long and the last 1/2 mile up gets a bit strenuous, but overall, it was a fairly mild hike with an absolutely stunning peak view: a 360* view of all presidential range.
Amazing view from the summit! Easy-moderate hike the entire way. In the winter, the road to the trail head is closed, which adds an additional 2 miles each way.
This is the AT across the Northen end of Franconia notch and the Pemi Wilderness area, pretty rugged trail
Would you take this trail to the AMC Galehead Hut or the Gale River Trail? We are undecided and are planning this hike next month.
It was an easy hike most of the way. Last .2 miles are straight up. Also, no views until you get to summit. Which makes the first 4.8 miles slightly boring.
I loved this trail. I started hiking the 4000 footers and this was one of my first ones. It was difficult enough that I felt that it was worth the drive up to the Whites, but fun enough to want to keep hiking the 4000 footers! I did this with Galehead and it made for a nice day of hiking.
Moderately difficult, but beautiful!
A nice trail to get to the summit of Mt. Garfield. The trail was in very good condition and easy to follow. I good trail for your first 4000 footer.