Explore the most popular backpacking trails in Franconia Notch State Park with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

hiking
1 day ago

I hiked down this trail after going up the Falling Water trail. I chose to do it this way because it was a shorter distance to the top and then a more gradual incline to Lafayette. The three peaks are all awesome and worth seeing. Check out my full trip report along with some things to look out for.
http://www.eastcoasthiker.com/trails/lafayette

This trail is not bad, it’s probably great in the summer/fall, BUT, if you’re going there anytime soon, please bring some micro-spikes because there is still a ton of ice and about 2/3 feet of snow in some areas. I did this with some friends today and it took us so long because we were all terrified of getting hurt. We had good hiking shoes and trekking poles, but that didn’t save us from the intense postholing, slipping, and bruising for at least a third of the trail. The trail is shaded so that’s really nice, and there’s not much to see until you get to the summit/pass by the lake. We went up to Mt. Cannon summit via the Hi-Cannon trail (not well marked FYI) and made our way down via the Lonesome Lake trail - the views were cool and the lake was a nice reward after surviving the ice.

Amazing views, and easily accessible right off Route 93. We took our time for pictures and snack breakd and made a full day of it, 8:30-6ish, but more motivated climbers would be able to this in far less time. Do this hike!

Nice hike, we did this in about 4-5 hours late September 2017. The trail was in good condition and easy to follow. The ridge part is great. This can be a longer day hike if you do a bigger loop including mount Flume (start with mount flume) and walking down the valley back to your car.

Did it on 4/7/18. It was a beautiful day with good sunshine. It had snowed 2-3 inches the previous day and so there was some fresh snow. There is a ledge near the North peak which had some amazing views. We spent around 1.5 hrs on the South peak. It was snowing slightly on the way back. Made for an awesome sight at Lonesome Lake.

About the trail, it's pretty straightforward with a few icy spots. I used microspikes on the way up and snowshoes on the way down.

Time spent hiking, excluding the 1.5hr break was 8hrs.

Went in really late at 3 PM. Summit at 6 PM. Parking lot at 8PM. The wind at the top was very strong. Good views. Bring spikes.

Great hike! I got rained on hard out of no where on my way to the summit of lincoln, then as I’m coming down from lafayette I watched another storm pour on the same spot I was at earlier but miss me, it was so awesome to see and be that close to a storm but not get hit!

loved this. don't let your brain trick you into thinking you're almost there. just enjoy the path. after the lake it narrows into the forest before going up Kinsman. there are a couple places going up I would highly recommend turning around and taking in the view. on South kinsman there are two summit looking places. this was a challenging but fun hike. the dogs managed to navigate around the really steep parts both up and down. cramp on for sure but didn't use snow shoes. removed crampons once near the top cause it was so packed down. fun day hike! if you have time check out the kinsman pond while you're up there. it took me 6.5 hours with 40 minutes at the top and alot of "I think my lungs collapsed" breaks up. but so good

Strenuous but beautiful hike. Did it on Feb 11, 2018, trails were well packed but relatively warm day and needed showshoes for entire hike, everyone else I saw on the mountain had the same. Word of caution, pulling out in the dark from the Lafayette campground area I accidentally went straight into an unplowed side lot that is restricted to snowmobiles. Called AAA who sent a truck and charged $300 to pull me out since it was technically a snowmobile trail rather than a lot. Driver said he pulls 20 people out a weekend, nice little cash cow for the local tow service. Went back afterward and small posted signs say "No Highway Vehicles Allowed", $300 later I now know what that phrase means....

hiked to the lake soaked up some sun then took the hi cannon loop trail. was a tough hike in snow and ice. so happy to have micro spikes on. the hike was wonderful and there are many views along the way. it was neat to see and use the ladder on our way down. a few really steep sections.
all in all I loved it and the weather was great. about mid to lower 30's

Awesome loop but be prepared for snow in June. best done when days are long and no chance of lightening.

I love the Bridle Path. Not very steep and a great way to access or exit the Franconia Ridge. Minus one star because the descent seems endless every time. Longest 3.4 mi trail around on the way out.

trails were packed untill we were .2 miles from the kinsman campsite.
made the nKinsman north summit in knee to neck deep snow...
views on lafayette and franconia ridge + cannon are amazing on the way down from north kinsman

Great hike last Friday in snow storm with some friends. Micro-spikes were needed, didn't put on snowshoes, snow was light and wispy. Stay on packed trail, deep and hidden holes if you step off trail in spots, mostly on hidden bridges. Hut was open, not heated. Great Day.....

SNOW! It is official the trails are covered in snow. I wasn't exactly prepared (mentally) for the snow and ice on the trail. Luckily I had layers and cheap crampons ( I will be investing in some better ones). I have never been on a snow hike but this was manageable. Actually more difficult on the way down than up especially when we hit some of the steep ice slabs. I have no idea what this trail looks like not covered in snow but I would imagine it being a fairly wet trail. I actually found the views at North Kinsman better than south. Less obstruction on North even though it isn't a 360. It was a great day barely any wind and decent views throughout. Bring layers and traction!

This was a worth while hike. Absolutely amazing views but it wrecked my body. The descent was the most challenging part. I did the whole trail in about 5 hours with short breaks. It was brutal on the body but would absolutely do again.

backpacking
7 months ago

Unique hike. Not to be missed. Stayed in lean-to at top. Last hiked in 1990. Took a group of teen and younger kids. Hard hike, but they enjoyed it.

Very strenuous but the lakes and view from South Kinsman is totally worth it. I would suspect really slippery if raining.

Great trail. The Hi Cannon trail’s blue blazes were very faded. We probably saw 3-4 along the path that were evident. The trail is steep but it’s a quick climb to the top. The ladder was a nice addition and there were wonderful views along the way. Lonesome lake coming down was great. Steep in the beginning while going over large rocks but that kept it a fun adventure! The blazes on this trail were well marked. Seeing the lake towards the end was beautiful.

hiking
7 months ago

I was not impressed with this trail at all. It was very boring and not even remotely challenging. It was steep but had plenty of steps to assist you up this trail. If you are out of shape I could consider this to be a tough trail but if you’ve been hiking all summer it was actually quite easy. No scrambling was ever used; the trail was pretty straight forward. I actually wanted to hike the Mt. Flume slide trail instead but it was too dangerous to hike due to the rain.

Added Kinsman Pond Trail and Cascade Brooke (back to Lonesome Lake) to this hike. Challenging with slippery rocks, but beautiful hike.

Nice hike but you never know that you’re on North Kinsman but the lookout was nice, and South Kinsman has an open summit and a nice size cairn marking the summit. The hike in was socked in but the hike out the clouds had lifted.

Awesome views!

Awesome views!

Awesome but grueling hike you better be in shape for this one!!!

Breathtaking views! The rocks were so fun! Great day for it. People say this is a challenging hike but I thought it was easy! Really it was great and totally mellow.

I went up the Old Bridle and down Falling Waters with a couple of friends and 40ish lbs of gear over the course of 2 half days and one full day. The hike was great and exactly as challenging as advertised. A word of warning though, the descent down Falling Waters can be extremely rough on the knees, so you might consider coming down Old Bridle Unfortunately, it was foggy for almost the entire day, but when the weather had an opening the views were breathtaking.

The only reasons it lost a star were that camping is limited, and there were huge amounts of trash on the trail. Much of the loop is in the Alpine Zone or other protected areas, so we ended up descending 3/8 mile down Green Leaf for the first night and finding an area more than 200ft off Falling Waters for the second. I also ended up packing about a pound of other people's garbage(mostly tissues and hopefully unused TP) down the trail, and even skipped over particularly gross pieces, so it didn't quite have a pristine wilderness feel.

did this whole trail last week....just about 8 hours. one of the most beautiful hikes in NH.

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