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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!!

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.

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.

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.

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!

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.

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.

We did it in 2 days, 53km (we went the wrong way for 5km ). Very nice hike but not that easy as we did a lot of km each day. Views on the 7 summits are breathtaking. Don’t worry for the water, there’s a lot of place to refill all the way to Galehead Shelter. Make sure to have enough water at this point because the next water supply is on the way down. So you must have at least 2L from galehead to the end of the hike ( if you do it in 2 days ). Many campsite are available all the way. Make sure to not have to much weight in your backpack and hike sticks. For the rest, you must be in shape to do this trail. Definitely recommend.

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.

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.

it's really really hard

This is truly a beautiful hike! We started early in the morning at about 6am. We went up Falling Waters and down Old Bridle. The ridge is worth every moment of the hike!!! It is absolutely stunning. We finished around 3pm, but we took a long break at Lafayette for lunch.

I had a great time on this hike yesterday! It was pretty well trafficked, even on a Tuesday. I'm getting into hiking more on my own, so I was sort of looking for a trail where I wouldn't be totally alone. I'm in OK hiking shape--this was my first longer hike this year. The hike up Falling Waters took me about 2.5 hours with several breaks. The whole loop took almost 7 hours including lunch. I took 2 liters of water with me and refilled at the hut. Bridle Path is a pretty easy path down. Don't forget cash if you want to buy some lemonade! All in all a great day hike. Well worth the drive from Boston.

Absolutely breathtaking. The view along the ridge will knock your socks off. Nothing like it. Definitely recommend doing the counterclockwise route - falling waters on the way up, and old bridle on the way down. Altogether, just like others have said, it was really hard especially on the way up, but so worth it. Went up with my boyfriend, came down with my fiancé!!! Took us 8 hours total! Hope this helps. Would def do it again.

Beautiful hike despite both peaks being in the clouds. Our first time up but wont be the last. Thinking this would be a great early Fall hike. Old Bridle Path is a bit of a pain but does offer some nice views. Hike took us longer because we lingered at both peaks hoping for the clouds to disperse.

First time hiking this trail. A beautiful day on a Sunday morning Started at 10:30 ended at 5:30 pm. Recommended by the park rangers to travel up water falls and down bridle. Highly recommend this as the rocks are wet and slippery, far better going upward! The ridge is breathtaking!

My favorite hike! Amazing views once you break through the treeline (which took my buddy and I about an hour and a half)

Great workout. Up Falling Water down Old Bridle, suggested by ranger. This way is more workable when the trail is wet, however you might have more traffic towards to the same direction. Bring rain gear and also at least one pole to support the rocky trail. We had lucky weather, all clear at top on Jul 28th.

I have done a lot of hikes, Pikes Peak, Grand Canyon, Mount Katahdin, Angel's Landing The Narrows and various places in Yosemite. along with various other climbs throughout the country. I will say this is one of the top 5 most difficult times that I've done. the views were outstanding, and it was quite an accomplishment upon the completion of the hike. We started at 7 a. m. and ended around 2: 20 p. m. I would strongly suggest if you're going to do the loop to take on the waterfall Direction first because it's most difficult climbing up and that was very arduous to say the least long strides and stepping upward rock to rock. however I could not see coming down that way safely if the path is wet. I would suggest starting early in the morning, because many people arrive late and the trail gets fairly populated. it's so was worth driving from New York to do this hike with my son Eric....

hiking
18 days ago

A VERY challenging hike on a hot day and the day after a rain storm. Much more challenging than the White Dot, White Cross trails because it's a lot longer...8.8 miles. Don't do it on a 85 degree day like I did.

Attempted Lafayette summit 3 times. Failed once due to a friend's leg cramp, failed next due to weather, third time was the charm this July 15th finally made it. It was worth 3 visits from New York City over 2 years. Up Falling Waters and down Old Bridle. Tough hike. Be prepared.

Awesome trail, would totally recommend adding this to any trip to the Whites if you haven't done it already. By far my favorite hike ever.

I just found my hiking jounal entry from this trip: This was probobly one of the highlights of all my hiking. Although this is an absolutly amazing loop, it was more about the company I kept for this 2 day hike. I brought my 10 year old son for his first overnight hike on this trail. He carried his own 20 lb pack did some orienteering and line of site compass markers as well as learning his first, LNT skills. We had one of the most memerable times we've ever had. Talking, sharing, stopping, to take in the wonder of God's creation. setting up camp off trail and feeding chipmunks from our hands( I know!! .... but it was just a few nuts) and my son was blown away that a "wild animal"...lol would come right up to him. I absolutly love this memory and will cherish it for ever.

2 brothers 2 sisters, 4 kids. We Brought poppy's ashes to the top of Mt. Lafayette to honor him and his last climb which he was 76 yrs old. It was a beautiful hike and we made it to Mt. Lafayette where we left his hammer, his walking stick and ashes. He would have loved it and he will be there forever!! NYPD Detective Joseph Sahlstrom RIP. We love you!!

Very hard. If you think you’re not in shape enough, I would avoid. I’ve done numerous hikes in the Catskills and this was by far the hardest hike I’ve ever done. Beautiful views for miles when you get to the ridge, but you are still ascending on the ridge if you start with falling waters AND constantly in the sun if it’s a nice day. Wear a hat and sunscreen. On the way down we came across dog owners that had to carry their dog down- my advice would be if you’re questioning if your dog can do this hike, don’t bring the dog. The hut was pure relief, I ran out of water half way through the hike. They provide fresh drinking water, snacks etc. I feel very rewarded finishing this, something to look back on and be proud.

I’m tempted to downgrade this hike to 4 stars because of the endless throngs of hikers as we descended. The forest staff person counted 700 people ascending falling waters trail from 7 am to noon when we met him. As an unabashed peak bagger well into the 111 this was one my most favorite hiking days ever. It was slightly marred by our very slow descent bc of all of the hikers.
Blue bird sky, nice strenuous ascent up Bridle trail. The reward was incredible, with views on the way up, that’s a great treat. Leave early to get Lincoln and Lafayette before the masses. Little haystack is mobbed. Loved this hike.

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