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In my opinion, this hike is overrated. The ledges are surrounded by mountains that are much higher, so the view–which is the hike’s main attraction–is not that great.

7 days ago

Excellent hike with some great views, however, the trail was far more technical and challenging than I expected. I would highly recommend snowshoes and hiking poles. I snowshoed clockwise and the first half was moderate so I would recommend doing in and out on that side if you want an easier hike plus it follows along a brook which is nice. If your up for the challenge than the whole loop is excellent, just make sure your prepared.

Great views, last time I hiked here was 34 years ago. I see people like squeezing through ledges now...the paint blazes are in sad shape but the rut in the ground is pretty hard to miss, the snow is well packed down and spikes are highly recommended. Counter clockwise is easier on the knees coming down, I'm an old fart now...

12 days ago

This hike may have the best views for a relatively short hike of moderate effort. It's a 4.4 mile loop with one small stream crossing at the begining of the trail to Welch. If you want an easy short hike with views take the trail to Welch up a little over one mile to a large ledge with views east to the Sandwich Range. A very busy trail in the summer and weekends.

Gets progressively steeper on the way up, but nothing too strenuous. You start getting views at around 1.2 miles, and the panorama at the summit is phenomenal. On a clear day, you can see the White Mountains, the Green Mountains, the Lakes Region, and countless other points near and far. The beginning of the descent is very steep, all rock, then it goes over a fairly level ridge with nice views. After that, it gets steep again, hands are necessary at times. Overall a nice hike, but the descent route was more difficult than we were expecting.

This was a great trail. We are beginners and found it well worth the hike to see the falls. They were completely frozen where we were standing on the falls. next time we need to complete the loop. Weather was getting a bit gloomy this day.

I only went to Georgiana Falls. The trail was muddy, eroded, and got rocky towards the end, and the rain didn’t help. We stopped at a cascade, then I scrambled up some steep and slippery rocks to get to the waterfall. I imagine it would be much nicer on a drier day in late spring.

1 month ago

A bit harder than the easy rating we got from the visitor center. We had some little guys and it got steep in some areas but was smooth with some great views at the top. Do it!

Great views but if you want a good workout type hike in the winter this isn’t it. When icy, a lot of the trail is so slow and you need cramp ons. Would be a Great trail to run when not icy. Also not very challenging for a hike. Not much elevation gain, I’d rate it easy, it’s a stretch to call moderate, maybe only when there’s ice.

I went on a rather cold day a few weeks ago and broke trail. I would not consider this trail hard. I did the loop, coming from Arethusa Falls. It’s rather moderate, considering other trails in the area. It was hard only because we had to break trail, almost the entire loop. Although now there is probably mostly ice left..

1 month ago

Hiked this yesterday. Heavy packed snow and thick ice throughout trail. Micro spikes a must and poles recommend! Lots of fun and beautiful in the winter. Take your time and enjoy. Ascent counter clockwise, descent clock wise.

Attempted July 2017. We didn’t make it to the top- got caught in a rain storm and the trail was quickly deteriorating, so we decided to turn back. Awesome views, crossing the river was a bit hard, both me and my friend got a bit damp from it.

We only went as far as the top of upper Georgiana Falls (1.8m). That cut out almost half of the elevation gain, making it a hike easy enough for our young kids. Our favorite hike in Franconia Notch with young kids, however, is the Basin Cascades Trail to Kinsman Falls.

2 months ago

This is easily my favorite trail in the Northeast! It's so incredibly beautiful, with plenty of bald faces and slabs to hike up, and forest around to look at. It's fairly strenuous and took us about ~3 hours to complete, round trip. The top is very nice for picnics!

Hiked on 02/01/18.
Hike only took around 3 hours stopping lots to take pictures and drink a cold one. Trail is packed down nicely which made it very easy to hike on. Temperature was cold but no wind and sunny skies which made for incredible views.
Highly recommend this hike it was tons of fun!

3 months ago

Hiked on 12/15/17. Weather was cold but little to no wind which made this an ideal winter hiking day.
Decided to go counter clock wise based off of other reviews. The ground surface had about 6-8 inches of snow in some areas, and others greater than a foot, and deep in some spots towards the tops of welch and dickey. We made the mistake of thinking the first false peak was the top of Welch only to realize it was indeed a false peak. It was certainly tough to get traction in some areas where there was nothing to grab onto. Microspikes came in the clutch on the ledges especially ascending towards the top Welch, and to Dickey as well. Top of Welch is beautiful, 360s views of the white mountains.

After Welch we realized there was a short descent to start the ascent on Dickey. Descending in the snow is super tricky as the snow covers up the rocks and roots which adds to complexity of a winter hike. The trail felt like a big zig zag to get to the top going through tight spaces through the big rocks and onwards to the top. The top of Dickey is timeless. Pushing close to 3,000 feet. After Dickey on the descent there is one of of the ledge where you are literally about 15 feet away from a big cliff area, made the hike a little bit more exciting to say the least. The descent felt long, and was tough due to the snow covering up the technical parts of the trail.

Given the conditions of the trail I would only recommend to people who are prepared and are experienced. Snow is tricky to hike in.

I am looking forward to hiking this one again in the spring. Five Stars. Live Free or Die!

Total Time took us 5 hours and 17 minutes to complete the loop at 4.95 miles.

Snowy day good winter conditions. Trail conditions good with broken trail. Icy ledges towards the summits.

Light traction fine.

very nice in winter !!

3 months ago

Great view for a short hike. I wasn't expecting as much Ice as there was. I should have brought ice spikes. Our dog had a great time.

I did this as a loop trail today. A bit confusing at the start, with NO trail markers. Starts off with logging roads so you follow those into the woods. At one point early on, the trail branches with red blazes on left (Shaw Trail - no sign) and the "Italian" trail to the right with green-red-green blazes. I took Italian trail so I could loop up to Tate (Big Ball) Mtn first. Followed green-red-green blazes up to Tate Mtn with nice views. Then kept going and came upon blue blazes which took me to Black Snout Mtn. Again NO signs or trail markers to note this. Decent ascent to Black Snout with beautiful views to south and east. Evidence of moose too and cool spiral trail to summit and a sign (SO excited to see a sign!) noting summit. Then loop back down the spiral trail a tad to head on wide trail to the north (or bushwack from a kinda trail to the north like I did) onto the wide trail which is presumably Black Spout Spur trail (again NO sign?!) Follow this north to High Ridge trail which takes you to summit Shaw Mtn. You will finally see signs soon... Beautiful views from here to the north and east and a tad bit of snow here today but not icy. Then back track on High Ridge trail down to sign that says "Turtleback Mtn. 1.5 miles". This will lead you to Shaw Trail where you eventually come to a fallen down tree with signs on it and an unmarked trail heading down the hill with red blazes. This is Shaw trail so head on down that... Again no sign, but I promise this will take you back to the parking lot you left from. Enjoy!

3 months ago

Great hike with some great views. Trail was in great shape wit a little bit of scrambling and slick rock. Great trees colors with many photo ops.

3 months ago

This trail had heavy ice on it (November) and very unsafe. It might be nice in the summer but not late fall. Also my dog had a hard time with this trail, it’s not as dog friendly as I was hoping.

Nice short moderate round trip hike. Regulars debated whether clockwise or counterclockwise is easier on the knees. I went counter and found walking up the rock steps possibly easier on my knees than walking the other direction. The 14 or so numbered nature posts might be easier to spot going clockwise, however. At about the halfway point is a short trail to an amazing west and south facing lookout. For more solitude go to the end of the lookout. Great lunch stop. At the end of the hike, next to the covered bridge you can dip into the shallow river to cool off on hot days.

First time hiking. first trail me and my girlfriend picked. its hard very worth it. over dressed not doing that again. it took all day. we stopped and rested couple times. this trail gives you everything well worth it.

Great hike for the day after Thanksgiving. It has a variety of muscle groups used if you do the whole loop. We climbed up the Welch side and came down Dickey. Micro spikes were a must once we hit the ledge area. Very icy in a lot of spots and had to bush wack around those area but it was an enjoyable hike none the less. I would not recommend it for beginners in its current condition today. I have a few pics, If I can post them I will. Great views and as long as use come prepared, I think you would like it too.

Awesome, absolutely gorgous views and pictures.



4 months ago

Started at the small parking area off 171 intending to ascend the Shaw Mtn Trail. However, there are so many spin-off paths in these woods, I got turned around and wound up summiting Big Ball (via bushwhacking) and from there heading up to Black Snout (on a real trail), and then over to Shaw and down the Shaw Mtn Trail. It's quite beautiful atop Black Snout and Shaw, and with 3" of snow with bear tracks! The hike down Shaw Mtn wasn't great; mainly the footing is challenging. Lots of tennis-ball sized rocks that roll underfoot leaves and make the route feel very "goaty". All in all, a great way to spend 7 miles and 4+ hours, but not my favorite hike ever. PS: my dog LOVED it. Soft snow up top to roll in and very good smells everywhere. One more thing: super-nice people on the trail. Not many, but all really friendly :)

Hiked up Arethusa Falls and around the loop to Frankenstein cliff trail loop.
At this time of year with a little snow on the ground....Arethusa Falls was fairly easy. Coming down the Frankenstein Cliff trail was definitely more difficult.
Great trip overall!

Hiked this trail last august. Didn't know about this app then. The waterfalls hike is beautiful and a great spot to rest and relax before heading to the cliff. Hike up to the cliff is very challenging but the view at sunset is amazing. Absolutely amazing. Hiking back down in the dark was a bit tricky but doable once reaching the railroad tracks.

poorly marked trail going up, half way through I wasn't sure I was going the right way. going back down was somewhat better marked.

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