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Hiked with my 6 and 10 year olds.

I did not consider this a moderate hike and found it quite easy. Neither of my kids found it difficult either. The only "steep" sections are found in the staircase around the falls and these are short.

The trail is about a mile to the falls and is fairly flat with a gradual incline. There is a stream crossing immediately after the trailhead we managed in the rain to avoid getting wet.

You've reached the falls when you hit a fork in the trail with a sign. The right continues on to Mt. Chocurua and the left heads towards the falls. They meet again after the falls to create a loop. I would avoid the loop by going up and down the staircase. If you head up the left the first or second side trail leads to a wide waterfall with a huge squarish bolder in the middle of the stream. Keep heading down the gorge another 200' to see a tall 50' waterfall. There is also a cut out in the canyon with a large overhang in which you can shelter. We ate lunch here out of the drizzle and dried off our gear.

Although we come to summit Chocorua this was a nice plan B. Had conditions been better and we summited I probably would have by passed the falls and missed out completely.

One of the prettiest hikes I’ve ever done. A quintessential northeast hike, should be on everyone’s list. Well worth it.

Steep and challenging but well worth the views! Loved this hike

We started the trail via Frankenstein Cliffs which was a pretty steep incline but happy we got the hardest part over with in the beginning of the trail. There were very few people on the Cliff trail but once we got closer to the falls, there were many more- a little too busy to my taste. But all in all, a very beautiful 5 mike hike from start to finish and a great workout. It took us 4 hours but we stopped and picnicked by the smaller falls.

Hiked this on Sunday, Aug. 12. There was a steady drizzle most of the way up and solid rain showers coming down. This made for lots of muddy areas on the ski detour trail. The detour trail was very steep as others have stated and there were no views to be had on our day. We are experienced hikers and like to move fast with very few breaks on the way up. We made it up the mountain in a quick 2.5 hours, but coming down on wet rocks (via Lions Head Trail) took a lot more work and 3.5 hours. Glad I brought along some gloves to hold onto all of the rocks as it was pretty much wet and jagged rock hand holds for a long ways down. My husband slid down one rock slab on Lions Head and got a deep puncture wound from a tree root into his shin. Glad we had a first aid kit to treat it, but it definitely slowed him down a bit. Bottom line is come prepared for this hike - rain gear, trail shoes, layers, gloves, and first aid kit. Hope to be back one day when the skies are clear and the main trail is open again.

The trail is rated hard and it is. Recommend to have experience doing this hike. It’s no joke. Coming down gets tuff too
Will do it again in the fall, summer hikes are busier times on the Trails

My husband and I did this as our first hike in New England. Extremely challenging, but very fun. Very crowded day so couldn't see too much, but the ridge walk was a lot of fun and a nice reprieve from falling waters. Definitely start up falling waters. Will do again on a clear day!!

Tough uphill, a little muddy at the top. Nice views.

GOOD GRIEF is this trail beautiful. Is it hard? Yes. Did I get about two hours in and start to huff and puff and wish I’d stayed home? I’d be lying if I said I didn’t. But when you clear the tree line and see the ridge that awaits you, it actually does take your breath away. I did this hike without trekking poles (I personally don’t like them) but most people I saw had them, so something to keep in mind. There is also the AMC Greenleaf cabin on your way down— great place to pee and grab something to drink. Bring tons of water and snacks, that’s a given. It took me about 6 1/2 hours with lots of little breaks, but no big ones. Descent is very rocky and slippery in places— hard on the knees. Don’t be afraid to slide on your butt. All in all, this was absolutely gorgeous, exhausting, rewarding, and I’ll be back for more.

Hiked orange trail up with three kids(13,11&10 yrs). This was their first real hike. it was steep enough to get a little winded and make your legs shakey but completely doable It took us a good 1hour 30 minutes to summit. Beautiful views of the lake. On the way down we took yellow trail. great hike

Hiked this once in July 2016 and then again July 14th, 2018. First time we had a tough time after the hut, and lost our way due to fog. Made it to the top but took the shuttle down.

7/14/18 was much better. The detour was annoying, straight up and all mud. But once you got to the hut it was beautiful views, and a difficult but rewarding hike. Once you reach the signs for the summit (all scrambling from there) it is pretty tough! Wind and fog can be disorienting but if you are there at a busy time, there are plenty of other people to follow or at least gauge where you're going. We will definitely be back in the future as it is such a tough but breathtaking hike.

Amazing trip with my brother and son (19). Hiked up falling waters to Haystack and camped at Liberty. Day 2 we walked the ridge to Lafayette (Mt Lincoln is just as beautiful) and down Bridal. 13 miles total. It was great to break up the trip in 2 days to enjoy the experience and hike roughly 5 hours per day.
Tip - Liberty Springs campground is 2 miles from Haystack and mostly downhill, which means 2 miles uphill the next day. Check the elevation. There are only 10 campsites, first come first serve and if you get a large platform you might have to share your spot. Cost is $10 per person.
One Love.

This is a great hike for a family. The walk through the gorge is really beautiful. The way back around you get a couple nice views of mountains and the cliffs/pool. It wasnt busy when I was there. If you have little ones, do not bring a stroller. It is def not friendly up the gorge. The walkways add adventure to the hike itself.

Perfectly challenging and rewarding hike! I’m in pretty good shape and was able to complete it in 6 hours, with short breaks at each summit. I would not suggest this hike for inexperienced hikers, parts of it are technical. Make sure your hiking boots are waterproof. You have to cross the river and there is water on parts of the path. Overall, it was a great day hike and I would absolutely do it again. Take Falling Water trail up.

My favorite hike in New England so far. Finished in about 6 hours. Beautiful 360 degree views along the Alpine zone make this difficult hike 100% worth it. Make sure to bring lots of water, snacks, and a jacket. It can get windy along the ridge.

hiking
6 days ago

We did this with our two children age 3.5 and 5.5 y and it was a big success. The young one was in my back for the first half and then he wanted to climb on his own. It was a lot of fun. I recommend this trail for any family with minimum experience. Hiking boots are a plus since some sections are somewhat rocky.

hiking
6 days ago

I've done a lot of hikes, which are more than 5000m but I must say that Franconia ridge Trail is one of the most difficult hikes i've done, lots of steep climbing and rocky footpath. It was a amazing hike though! We started late at 2:40 in the afternoon and took us a total of 7 hours. Plenty of food, water and trekking poles are a must.

Came all be way from Pittsburgh PA to do this hike.. we were NOT disappointed by any means. We went up falling waters and down old bridle path, as the reviews told us to do so, and this was for sure the way to go. We started the hike at around 10:30am and ended about 6pm. Bring plenty of food and water! If you run out of water, however, there’s a hut coming down old bridle path that offers free COLD water!!! Also, I don’t know how people hike this trail without trekking poles. We found that poles were a must to get through this rocky trail. The views at the top make it seem like you are in a different country!

exhausting but beautiful. Great hike with family or friends.

Amazing hike with never ending staircases and boulders. Not great visibility on the notch, but lots of fun traveling through the alpine zone. Sun finally came out during our descent down old bridle, and we got to see the ridge line we had just traversed. Bring lots of water, hiking sticks and rain/wind gear. Hopefully your in shape.

Beyond gorgeous views once above the tree line. If you’re planning on doing the entire 8.5 mike loop, and you’re not in shape, be prepared for a long day. Plenty of great opportunities to take beautiful photos of the waterfalls and mountains. Make sure the weather is going to be nice because it’s a lot of climbing to not get the views that make it all worth it.

Fun walk. Short scramble at the top on they way down was a nice surprise

One of the best hikes in NH. Not for beginners! Make sure you check high peaks forecast before climbing. There are good views everywhere. Falling Waters trail on the way up has nice waterfalls. The exposed ridge gives you views in all directions. Old bridle path on the way down gives you a chance to stop at the AMC Greenleaf Hut for a rest and refill on water.

Really worth it!

Did the loop yesterday starting out with Falling Waters trails as others recommended here (thanks all!) and then onto old bridle. Falling waters trail was slippery and consecutively steeper each hour so I'm glad we started with that. I think it took us 2.5ish hours to get out of the tree line. It reminded me of 4 mile trail in Yosemite but without switchbacks. It was certainly exhausting and a bit monotonous after the waterfalls but we were glad that the ridge for the most part is easy walking for a few hours. The ridge was certainly the highlight of the hike- great sweeping views and being in the clouds. The thing that got us was the downhill on the way back as it was all rocky so we had to watch every step on the way down. We had some slips and falls though it seemed like a lot of other people were flying down the mountain with no problem. 2+ hours of rocky descent was really a bit much especially being in the tree line. At least there were some outlooks after the hut. Speaking of the hut, it's a great place to refill water bottles. We ended up drinking about 4-5 bottles each for the day (80 degrees and cloudy). Start at 9:20am, finished at 5:05pm. 4 stars for the amount of hours we were stuck in the tree line on slippery rocks. 5 stars for the ridge.

I went up and back down old bridle path. Didn't take the loop. Started too lat- around 11AM. Extremely difficult. Definitely wasn't a good choice for a first time hiker. (But do-able!) got back down around 7PM (with lots of short breaks and a 45 minute lunch break.) But can see why more experienced hikers love it. Lots of rocks that were tall that you had to climb up. Was beautiful at the top. Also thank goddess that there was the hut up old bridle to eat/go to the bathroom/refill water bottle/ rest. Would happily do it again once I become more advance. Would also start earlier in the day.

Great 3 hour hike. Recommend heading towards Frankenstein cliffs first. Steep climb through shaded area that pops you out onto gorgeous outlooks. It had just rained a day prior to this climb so Arethusa falls was going strong. There are a lot of side paths to other falls and small pools, so if you have time to explore, you could easily make this into a full half day hike.

A great trail with a wide variety of things to see. We started out counterclockwise, heading towards Falling waters trail, weaving back and forth across a stream, up fairly steep rocky terrain. Once we got to Little Haystack Mt, the cool breeze and views were fantastic. The ridge walk to Mt Lafayette was magical and fairly technical. The walk back down towards the hut and lot (3.9m) is all downhill and will keep your eyes down at the feet. The trails are marked out well. We took 3L of water for 2 of us and finished it all. Total of 6h45m even with lunch on ridge line.

Awesome begginer hike to get you fitted for more bigger hikes. Trail gets steep for a ways. Beautiful lake and hut. Recommend doing the full trail around the lake. Great views!

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