Explore the most popular lake 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.

05.16.2018 - Hiked up to the lonesome lake via the basin cascade brook trail. The river crossing was difficult. We ended up bushwhacking to find a good place to cross. After about 25 minutes off trail we ended up taking our boots off and wading across and got back on the trail. There was some snow in places. However, it wasn’t really a problem. No micro spikes needed. We ended up going down via the lonesome lake trail to Lafayette place and hiked the pemi trail 2 Miles back to the basin.

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.

Summited on 4/24. It was an unbelievable day,65 degrees and sunny. We went counter clockwise on the loop. With the warm temps and feet of snow still left, I was very glad I had my snowshoes. Wearing the snowshoes, my waterproof trail runners, and gaiters with them I was fine. Other groups had micro spikes, but I know mine would have been balling up. The way down from Cannon on the backside was quite steep, and with the heavy wet snow butt sliding was involuntary yet mandatory. With the warm temps we dried out quickly and were able to laugh about the short lived ordeal. Perhaps clockwise would have been a steeper ascent, but kinder descent. The views were fantastic, and as always, every slippery step was worth it.

on Lonesome Lake Trail

1 month ago

nice trail, great views, lake is frozen
steep hike at two spots

hiking
1 month ago

We did this back in late September. Nice and easy trail, this was to complement our day on the franconia ridge. It's a nice stroll by the lake, but not spectacular.

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.

The ascent is moderately steep, but it is fairly level at the end. We did this in February, we walked straight across the lake. The views aren’t fabulous, as you are surrounded by mountains that are taller than you, but it is still pretty and unique.

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

do this. every one who is able should do this. so.amazing. if you do it in winter go into the middle of the lake and look all around you. and if you're able, do the kinsmans. it's beautiful. went in late February and didn't need snow shoes because the trail was packed down. but did need cramp ons

The trail at this time of year was very snowy. Combined with a steep incline, you definitely need some sort of crampons or snow shoes.
Views were amazing going up and even better at the top. The lake was frozen enough to walk across, which make for cool photos.
Definitely recommend.

hiking
2 months ago

We went up the Lonesome lake trail and down the Dodge Cut-off. Very mellow. Didn't need snowshoes, only our foot spikes. We passed a family headed up to stay overnight at the hut.

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....

snowshoeing
3 months ago

Awesome snowshoeing! Lake frozen so you can walk on it. Visit the hut, great people.

hiking
3 months ago

Great easy winter hike. Snow is packed on the trail. No need to use snow shoe. It was nice to cross the lake and take a break at the hut!

hiking
3 months ago

we did it January 28great footing temps in the high 30sgreat hike

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

hiking
4 months ago

Love it! It’s better to hike with crampons than to snowshoe in the winter since it is usually packed down due to heavy travelers

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.....

hiking
5 months ago

Hiked to lonesome lake hut with my son a bit strenuous for me but a walk in the park for him all in all it was well worth it the experience and the views was great

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!

Moderate hike. Nice lake at the top for swimming in the summer. The hut had food and cold lemonade. Pretty crowded in the summer, but fun and worth it.

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.

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.

walking
7 months ago

Unplanned and Unknown about this trail, stared as a small walk but it felt to be harder. Decided not to return did complete and the view and experience is great. Really worth.
Suggestions: Carry some energy bars and water to have on its way. Having the walking sticks is nice to have.
I did it during fall and loved the fall experience
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