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Absolutely breathtaking! One of the prettiest hikes I’ve taken on a cold, but sunny, clear day, completed November 12th 2018. Definitely go up the falling waters trail in winter and come down the old bridle path. It’s incredibly icy and much safer to climb up than go down the falling waters path, and still the several river crossings are a bit of a challenge. Microspikes are a must! But so worth the views! It was pretty cold up on the ridge, and quite windy, so be sure to dress correctly.

Update to my review from 6 days ago. I finally did the whole thing, my tracker said 7.5 miles and it took 2:49 hiking at a good pace.

I had never been to the east coast of the lake before, and boy is it wretched. Many of the markings are faded and difficult to spot, if they exist at all. There are a few streams without bridges, and tons of downed trees and brush blocking the paths. Lots of muddy paths with brambles all around. Not fun, but if you get through that part with dry shoes the south/west/north of the lake is a nice trek.

Peak bagging is what sent me to Moosilauke, and I'm really glad it did. It was about 31* at the trailhead (Gorge brook trail). about 2 miles in i had to stop and put on my micro-spikes. From there to the summit it was ice/snow. Really perfect fall hiking in my opinion. The Gorge brook trail was a steady easy to light moderate ascent. The summit is exposed and was windy when I was there. I only had about 30 meter visibility due to the clouds but the hike was great. I made my way over to South Peak which was an easy add on using the Carriage road trail. I continued down the Carriage road trail which offered some views below the clouds. To get back to the Gorge brook trail I took the Snapper trail. Which creates a nice little lollipop loop.

Tips: Park up by the ravine lodge as close as they will allow.

There are 2 trail entrances. One is down in front of the lodge. The other is at the end of the dirt road...which redirects you to the other entrance. Either method will get you to the trailhead.

Be careful after crossing the bridge to the Gorge brook trail. It is not marked but you will need to make a right turn to stay on the Gorge brook trail. If you continue walking along the river you are going the wrong way.

I had some trepidation leading up to this hike, as this was our first early winter hike in the White Mountains, and we were taking my son to celebrate his 10th birthday (this marked his 6th 4000 footer!). That said, I did my research and made several trips to REI to ensure I had the right equipment. Layers were definitely required and we wouldn’t have been able to complete the journey without microspikes. I’m grateful to the employee at REI who talked me out of the Yaktrax brand and insisted we needed the actual spikes. The journey through the trees covered with ice and snow made for an added degree of difficulty but is doable. The entire loop, and short trip to South Peak took us about 5.5 hours, allowing us time to take several short breaks. The only reason I’m not giving this 5 stars is simply because we had no visibility at the summit. But thats not the mountain’s fault! The cold whipping air and frozen over summit marker just added to our memories of a great hike!
As an aside, I’d highly recommend staying at the Ravine Lodge and getting some warm food and rustic comforts!!!

What a fantastic day of hiking! I've done this hike 20+ times in my life and it's easily my favorite hike in NH. It's is a long loop, and it hard on the body if you're not ready for it and even if you are.

A bit of advice, if you're planning on doing the loop in winter months, I would suggest you start up falling waters and go down Old Bridal path. Sometimes dry creek is impassible and you have to cross it multiple times on falling waters trail. If you hiked up Old Bridal Path and down Falling waters there's the potential that you would need to turn around and go all the way back over the ridge, or bushwack to the highway and follow it back to the parking lot.

The parking lot was about 30 degrees, summits in the clouds. We knew there was snow and ice so came prepared with microspikes, poles, goggles and many layers. The clouds cleared mid-day and the views to Mt. Washington were beautiful.

There were FAR too many people on this hike that really should not have been there. Many people in sneakers, no gloves, and cotton sweatshirts.

Please don't be one of those people. This is a serious hike, particularly in the winter months from October to Feb/March. With the windchill on the ridge, the temp was about 7 degrees F. People die on this hike when they underestimate the weather.

Here is an example :
http://publications.americanalpineclub.org/articles/13200507400/Failure-to-Turn-Back-Failure-to-Follow-Route-Inadequate-Clothing-and-Equipment-Weather-New-Hampshire-Mount-Lafayette

Stay safe, go prepared or don't go. Hope everyone made it down safely yesterday. There were still a lot of cars in the parking lot when we left after hiking out with headlamps for the last mile or so.

this place offers a difficult hike. the hardest part of the hike is the whooping 8.5 miles. it just takes all day. if you plan on hiking this loop, be sure to come prepared. bring lunch and something to nibble on and water is essential. Need the waterproof hiking boots. be sure to dress breathably warm. a hiking stick will be very useful. bring gloves. and last but not least, a portable charger! start hiking as early as possible because by the time you finish the loop, the sun sets and darkness invades. oh yes, darkness, bring a flashlight just to be on the safe side. you may or may not need it but you'll be grateful to have it in case you need it.

my friends and I started to hike pretty 130pm late. we ended up descending in the dark with flashlights from our phones. got lost a few times. slip and slide more often in the dark. our feet were all soaked from descending the falling water trail. altogether, a great hike. would absolutely do it again. early and more prepared next time!

please wear all wheel drives shoe haha.

Fantastic early winter hike! The hike itself is definitely more on the moderate than difficult level but the winter conditions added a degree of difficulty. Required spikes and layers - would not attempt without. Completed the loop in just over 4 hours including a beer break:) would stay at the base lodge next time!

I've only hiked about 3 miles of the north and western sides, but it's very nice around this time of year. Getting a bit lost I came upon an adorable cove with a grey heron flying not more than 100 yards away. A few days later I found another spot with 2 swans swimming together. The air is crisp and the colors are out. There are lots of downed trees and brush blocking the path from the winds, but it's easy enough to kick aside or step over. It rained heavily a few days ago and due to the leaves falling off the trees and the cool weather it hasn't dried well, be careful of slipping in mud or stepping in puddles.

If there isn't much wind then you will hear highway traffic noise while you are on the north part of the trail. Once you get towards the southern half of the lake it gets nice and quiet and aside from walking by people's backyards occasionally you feel like you are out in the woods.

There are spots where the path is confusing, I would not recommend trying to do the whole thing in one go without at the very least a good map. Or you can do what I'm doing and just explore it one bit at a time, walking down every path, discovering cool shortcuts and spending time enjoying the wonderful out of the way hills, outcroppings, coves and capes.

Note to Bob Simek - the granite thing on the west side is an artifact left from 'Hopkinton Springs' of which no photos exist. Next time you are by that stone bridge look around, you should be able to spot the placards which explain it all. It includes a map of which artifacts are where, although some are covered in leaves this time of year.

Beautiful area. But the trails were not marked well at all. I saw trail names and colors painted on trees, but not at all intersections. There were a few intersections where we had to just pick a way to go. Went with three other adults and a baby. Do Not Bring a baby carriage unless it’s used in off roading and rough terrain. Lots of hills, but great for a first timer without a baby carriage

challenging and rewarding

This is a great place to start off roading. I just started and went there with my buddy and there were some nice mud puddles and some rocky areas... definitely easy but can give you an idea of what you need to get more difficult off roading in.

Went up clockwise and going down was much more difficult and if wet would have made more difficult. Regardless of how you do this, the hike up top along the ridge is awesome. Great hike. Can't imagine one better in the Whites. Came from Cleveland and can't wait to go back.

rock climbing
22 days ago

Okay, so I'm still a beginner hiker...this was hard! I really enjoyed myself, don't get me wrong, but yikes! There's a lot of climbing boulders, up and down. Looks easier for kids and people in great shape...but great exercise!

Second time but this time made it to the summit, first time we ran out of time and head back down. This time it was a total white out at the top. We made it at 100pm to the summit could not see the feet in front of us. Snowed the day before about 6 inches. We were prepared with extra layers, snow boots, spikes(which I didn't have to use).Very icy and slippery. Not for the faint of heart, with the snow up to our knees in some parts. Don't let the bottom weather fool you. Check the weather before heading up.

Did this trail on October 3rd in 7 hours 45 minutes. I spent 30 Minutes on top of Mt Lafayette, because the view was amazing... A hard hike but it was worth it.

hiking
25 days ago

Completed this hike on 10/19/18 as the weather looked much clearer on this day. Some parts were super icy so was cautious rather than fast, took 8 hours total (including a nice lunch break and chatting with others along the way). I like how it's a loop and is broken up into unique sections because it breaks up the hike nicely (3 mi on Falling Waters up, 2 along the ridge, 3.5 Old Bridle down). It was hard and my muscles are sore but it is a great experience!

Hiked this beast of a mountain October 16 2018. Quite strenuous hike 3 quarters of the way. The view makes it all worth it. With several waterfalls on the way we started at falling Waters and down to the bridle path. Hiked at 11:30am took us about 7 1/2 hours to complete with few breaks. Last hour was in the dark which I'd recommend avoid doing that, we heard a cougar near by (very deliberate chirping noise) which I later read online is to find their young .. Fed wild red squirrels some nuts by hand. It was a little icy towards the top and very windy at the summet. I probably wouldn't do this hike again personally because it was a lot of work and I was also a little under dressed. I brought 3 bottles of water only drank two. great hike for experience hikers. Also the hut on the way down was a life saver offering warmth, tea and hot cocoa and corn bread. Only asking for a few dollars we left a $20 and they also gave us a head light for the way down which barley worked but of course very appreciated.

By far my favorite hike in New England. My best friend and I have done this hike every way possible in every different season and somehow it amazes me every time. A definate must on your trail bucket list!!

I hiked this trail on 10/16/18. There was a wind advisory in effect when I left the parking lot around 6:30. I hiked up Falling Waters, which is delightful. Very aptly named- there are multiple waterfalls. The wind was roaring in the treetops above me long before I ever reached the exposed area on Little Haystack. I had packed multiple wool layers and a Gore-Tex jacket, but I didn’t have appropriate cold weather gloves and I thought my fingers were going to freeze. I was not prepared for the temps on the exposed ridge. It was utterly, bitterly COLD on the ridge. The blasts of wind were so strong that I didn’t even dare take my phone out to take pictures at times. However, the sky was clear and the views were completely gorgeous, especially the frosty pines. Crampons would’ve been helpful, but I managed fine on the icy rocks with only hiking boots. I was very thankful for my trekking poles. The hike down Bridle Path was lovely. I’m a slow uphill hiker, and stop incessantly for photos. So the loop took me just under 10 hrs to complete. I met a number of other hikers- all great people. I would definitely recommend this hike!

Definitely one of the best loops in the White Mountains. Expect a short road walk, since you can’t park at the Ravine Lodge. Once at the Ravine Lodge, I would recommend ascending Gorge Brook, the “steeper” of the two. Gorge Brook is pretty easy as far as trails go in the Whites, with no scrambling and lots of switchbacks. You follow the brook for the first half. The summit is pretty spectacular, with about 100 miles of visibility, and views of the White Mountains and Green Mountains. The Carriage Road is a very easy descent, very wide and low angle. It’s a ski trail in the winter, so it’s designed to meander along the mountainside at an easy grade. The 0.1 mile spur to South Peak is definitely worth doing. Definitely would recommend this to anyone who likes hiking. Also, if you want a fun adventure, do what we did and make it a sunset hike!

This one is easy if you are used to doing 4000 footers. Really barely any steep inclines and the trails are not the large rocky ankle-breakers that I'm used to. My 10 year old said it should have been marked "easy". I was longer than normal though of course... but still took us only 5 hours total even with 30 minutes break at the top. Will do again since we missed the South Peak shoot-off...

10/15/18 Great hike up Falling Waters. Trail is marked very well and easy to navigate. Plenty of waterfalls and water crossings. Very strenuous climb, so we packed lite. Unfortunately weather was not cooperating. Rain came in after the first mile. Up on the ridge winds picked up to 55 forecasted to hit 75 in another 2 hours. Visibility was poor. Me and 3 buddies decided to turn back once we got up to Little Haystack. We did meet up with a 76 year old solo hiker named Ward. He said he was going for it! And he passed us and disappeared into the fog. Amazing experience and we will regroup for another try. Going down falling waters was challenging with all the rain and mud on the rock scrambles.

Great views, easy to follow trail. Very strenuous climb up. Only one restroom at the Green Leaf Hut 5 hours after beginning the loop (so come prepared).

trail running
30 days ago

A quick note to Liz Tosti - Liz, weren't you using your AllTrails app? It can be quite confusing hiking around the reservoir although it looks easy on a map. That's why you have the app on your phone and a download of the trails so you can navigate. I know what you're saying though, last time I was here I had a map only and did a 7 or 8 mile loop where this time I was looking to streamline things and got it down to 6.6 miles. Bring the app with you, use it to navigate, it's fun that way and you don't get lost and you get to see the stuff you like. My trail run this day was great, enjoyed every minute of it BUT did have to reference the AT map frequently to stay on course. I need to figure out what that granite thing is over on the west side of the lake. Maybe I'll call the historical society and ask.

My brother and I did this hike and we really enjoyed it! It was windy on the ridge and many people went back down Falling Waters Trail. We had determination and we went for it. We were in nothing but fog on the ridge and it was windy but what an adventure! It is a long hike but my brother and I hike about every weekend therefore it wasn't very challenging. The hardest part was the winds on the ridge therefore, if you don't like winds and exposure I would suggest to bring trekking poles if you go back down Falling Water Trails. Even though we had no views, this hike was definitely an amazing experience and we'll be back for a clear day to see the views next time!

Falling Waters killed me. I hike often but hours of climbing up rocks just killed me. We got within 30 minutes of the summit and turned back because there was so much ice on the rocks. Next time I’m going up AND down the bridal path. Going down Falling Waters was one of the scariest things I’ve done in my life, two days later I still have vertigo. I did enjoy talking to the other hikers, everyone was so friendly and had great attitudes and nice things to say.

Completed this hike 10/14/18 — began around 8am, finished at 5:30pm with some stops for snacks and to enjoy the views at the summits.

Crampons/microspikes were a life saver on the icy/slushy rocks. I wish I had poles with me.

This was my first long day hike, and first hike to go beyond 2000ft of altitude gain. Challenging, but not impossible; a few tricky spots, mostly because of steep inclines, ice or melting snow.

The views at the summits were unreal. We got autumn and winter all in one.

Loved the camaraderie on the trails and positive attitudes of all hikers. Truly a wonderful experience and highly recommended. Can’t wait to come back.

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