Explore the most popular wildlife trails in White Mountain National Forest with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

Second time I've done this trail. The first time was on a rainy day with basically no views at the top. I decided to do it again for the views, and I was not disappointed. Hiking this loop on a clear day made the experience that much better. Gorgeous waterfalls on the way up, and absolutely incredible views at the top. Definitely strenuous for anyone new to hiking, but totally worth it! Easily one of the best and most scenic trails I've ever hiked. I will be back a third time!

This was my 5th time hiking Mount Lafayette. It was my 2nd time hiking it alone.

It's a great hike and as of today other than there being a little bit of ice and snow at the top of the Falling Waters trail, it's pretty much clear of all ice and snow.

It was very windy and it is still pretty cool up on the ridge for this time of year so make sure you bring at least one sweatshirt.

Today was the 1st time I went straight up the path to the green leaf hut and then straight to the top of Mount Lafayette. For anyone who has never done it that direction, just know that it was significantly more difficult because you basically do not get a break from the moment the mountain begins to go vertical. If you take the Falling Waters trail 1st, it gets pretty tough right after the water but after about 2 hours or so of hiking, you hit the ridge and then you gradually make an ascent to Mount Lafayette. And then from there it's down the rest of the way.

But making a direct line for the summit of Laffeyette added a significant degree of difficulty to the hike. So, just be aware of that.

But I would say from this moment forward the loop at Lafayette is open for the season. Enjoy!

Hiked this loop today counter clockwise. The Falling Waters Trail is as beautiful as ever. The snow and ice are almost completely gone, and no traction devices were needed. The Ridge Trail was a little windy, blowing from the west at about 40 MPH. The views from all 3 summits are breathtaking, with Lafayette the jewel in that crown. Highly recommended, but do your research first. This is known as one of the toughest day hikes in the Whites, and for very good reasons.

Nice trail. Fairly easy. Saw lots of squirrels and chipmunks. Wonderful evening weather.

A great plug-and-chug hike or mountain run. Very cool and different experience, as there is some borderline rock-climbing at the start of the alpine zone and you are traversing a completely exposed ridge. You can watch your progress behind you for the entire time above the tree line, which is miles. This loop would be quite a challenge in the winter and dangerous in wet or cold conditions. Similar to many of the 4,000-footers, the wind up there is constant but exhilarating. My most important pointer is that I would leave most dogs, especially small dogs, at home. My dog has climbed six mountains with me in the past two weeks and even she was scrambling down the bare rock at some points and came home with her front feet bleeding. Small dogs would have to be lifted over ledges while you maintained your own balance. Beautiful trail, though, not too cold this time of year (t-shirt and flannel even at the summit) and no snow or mud. I even saw two moose!

Hiked this on easter with a couple buddys, great hike almost no snow. A littile ice here and there..

Beautiful views from the top, a nice spot to lay in the sun on a blue-sky day. No snow, barely any mud, and a gorgeous stretch of forest near the tree line. My only complaint about this trail is that it is poorly marked at the base of the Caribou trail and at the summit. Otherwise, this is a very manageable hike for anyone in decent shape, and I would not rate it as hard.

Hiked up Short Line trail and back down Air Line trail after summit of Adams. Very windy at summit 50-60 mph. Short Line trail is very difficult for the last mile or so especially with the lingering ice. I hiked alone which I would not recommend on this trail as one misplaced foot can lead to serious injury. Air Line trail would have been a much easier hike up.

First, don’t turn where this tells you to for directions. Go almost a mile past (or before) till you see a sign for Downes Brook Trail Head - turn there. Second, lots of trees down so watch for blazes very carefully. Make sure you have a GPS map. We barely got off trail due to trees and couldn’t see any blazes. Luckily we were able to use our GPS to find our way back. You can tell they have cleared many trees already but winter really did a number!
It took us 2 hours and we are beginner hikers with a dog. Our shepherd struggled in some spots to make a jump or climb over trees. Terrain is lots of roots and large rock face.
Beautiful views! Lots of little spots to break off a few feet and see the views.

Great trail, easy to follow, challenging, not crippling, rewarding. Took piper to Hammond to wematoo, took 6 hours

hiking
3 days ago

Brutal climb.

Started easy enough, nut once you reach the junction, we took left and started with the North peak. It is a gain of over 1100 feet on 0.7 miles. Problem was not the climb but the trail itself. Fallen trees, gnarly roots, eroded trails. So watch your footing. The ridge run b/w the 2 peaks was fun and there were great views from the outlook points on both the S&N peaks. And the then the descent began - same level of steepness, except that there was ice on the trail. What fun. :)

Microspikes are a necessity if planning to climb down the south peak as the ice is pretty slippery at most places. Again, watching the footing.

happy hiking, stay safe.

hiking
3 days ago

The trail is fine except there are quite a few spots where I wasn’t sure where to go, it’s not marked very clearly. Even on the top, remember where you came up because it’s hard to tell where to go. VERY buggy and still muddy in some areas. Awesome view at the top.

Absolutely love this hike! In March/ April we definitely needed micro spikes due to snow and ice, but when we did it again in May, the weather was wonderful.

We hiked up on the Falling Waters trail and across the ridge. Of course we had to stop at the Greenleaf Hut on the way down. The facilities were clean and everyone was friendly.

The view from the top was STUNNING. If you’re anything like me and never want to leave the top, I suggest bringing a headlamp for your journey down. We stayed on top of he mountain so long we had to race the sun. No one wins in a race with the sun.

15/10 would do this again and again. One of my favorites.

Hiked up in glorious sunshine, with dry rocks and no bugs. It is quite a scramble up and down, but when conditions are good it is a blast. If you really are having trouble on the way up you can always get traction in the woods.

There was no snow on the Livermore ascent to the summit, a little bit between the summits (including lots of moose poo, and some blow downs) and nothing on the way down. There is some loose rock on the decent, but more at the bottom of the climb.

Yes, summit views are not the best, but the views going up and down are out of this world!

A great trail, but be prepared for a challenge. Ascending either route up - via the Mt. Morgan Trail or Mt. Percival Trail - has challenging steeps near their respective summits. We chose to ascend Mt. Percival first, which ended up being the better route as the descent via Mt. Percival trail would’ve been much more difficult. “Caves” on Mt. Percival trail should be taken with care, and there are alternative routes up once you’re there but aren’t much easier.

Great payoff views and a nice challenging hike for intermediates, but not recommended for young kids or dogs.

hiking
4 days ago

Beautiful trail - varied terrain. Lower portion is a smooth dirt path with constant but mild ascent. Upper portion is increasingly rocky, giving way to open rock expanses and views of the surrounding scape. As others have said, the climb is moderate. Some steeper sections but good breaks between. No real scrambling on the way to North Moat. My pup (45lb hound) did this trail easily. Watch yourself on the rock if it's wet - we found it to be very slippery in bareboot. All ice is gone and spring/summer bugs are out in force. :) Can't wait to do this one again all the way to North Moat.

awesome trail and views!!! will definitely do it again...took 4 hours!! great hike!

hiking
8 days ago

Beautiful hike. Some steeper sections but generally an easy grade. Had some blow down damage but was able to walk around. Didn’t quite make the summit due to icy snow melting. So we didn’t experience the vistas. We passed two other couples who experienced the same. Still a lovely hike.

Hands down my favorite hike in the Whites. Beautiful views from above the clouds on the ridge.

Hiked this in the first week of May. Definitely the prettiest hike I’ve done in the northeast. Highly recommend. Spikes were helpful on the ascent and descent.

This was a fun trail! Pretty steep and rocky at times with some scrambling closer to the summit but it is not overly challenging! There were several neat views along the way. I like the “first summit” view. I took the blue trail up and down. Just take it slow because it is easy to lose the trail, at one point I was off the trail but easily got back on it when I saw some hikers.

hiking
10 days ago

The weather was absolutely perfect and lucked out that the bugs weren't bad! As stated in the review below mine the trail is not marked clearly...there were several times I was unsure if I was on the trail, but luckily I have good direction and my dog helped keep me on trail. This is definitely one of those trails you need to take note of your surroundings and be attentive as to not go off the trail. The information in the review below mine was a big help...you go over many streams and to my delight the top portion smelled like Christmas trees which was a pleasant surprise. Also, noticed some moose skat in several spots in the top portion (last mile close to the summit). It took approximately two hours from bog road/caribou mt trail to the summit and 1.25 hours on the way down. The views at the top were absolutely stunning, made for a lovely and rewarding picnic spot.

Great hike. Just hiked the loop. There's still snow on the trail up to Little Haystack. Spikes would have been helpful. Some snow also on the way down the mountain after the Greenleaf Hut. Great day for a hike and will definitely do it again!

Great trail. well marked great views.

Did this yesterday it was a beautiful day and it be moms day saw several moms and daughters hiking it! A number of women trail runners as well. You go girls!
Wanted to visit Camp Penacook as this is a wilderness leanto and like many of its kind wont be around for ever. It’s an longer then expected difficult hike up and away from the piper so I opted to bushwack to the main trail doable lots of cool ledges but not recommended! I descended traditionally so I could check out the whole trail. Beautiful.

For inexperienced hikers like me I’d recommend preparing a bit more before tackling this trail. We went up Morgan and down Percival, taking the ladders up, which was cool. I just don’t know if going down the caves was our best decision- it got a little dark and scary in those!

hiking
12 days ago

hike, not for beginners
good 360 views, completed in 3.4 hours with a break at summit
not a good trail for bad knees

TRAIL WAS WELL MARKED AND MAINTAINED. GREAY VIEWS OF SQUAM LAKE. FELT LIKE A TRAIL MORE IN THE WILD THEN IT IS. THE RIDGE BETWEEN MT. TOPS IS A SHOULDER WIDE TRAIL THROUGH SPRUCE TREES ON ROCK. NICE SPRING WARM UP TRAIL.

Not for the faint of heart! Strong and endless elevation gains after the first 20 minutes of the trail. Beautiful scene at the summit makes it all worthwhile. We were hot on the trail but conditions were cool and windy up top, so layers are a great idea. Enjoy!

North Peak Trail was a great hike in and out hike, I didn’t take try the yellow trail. North Peak was steep at times but very enjoyable, great views at the top. Quicker trip than planned.

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