Hi-Cannon Trail to Kinsman Ridge Trail

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Franconia Notch State Park

Hi-Cannon Trail to Kinsman Ridge Trail is a 4.2 mile moderately trafficked loop trail located near Franconia, New Hampshire that features beautiful wild flowers and is rated as difficult. The trail is primarily used for hiking and walking and is accessible year-round.

Distance: 4.2 miles Elevation Gain: 2,345 feet Route Type: Loop

hiking

forest

views

wild flowers

no dogs

Great Views of Northern Presidentials. AMC Hut and mountain lake. 4K Peak. Park at the Lafayette Campground, and climb Hi-Cannon Tr up (yellow blazed). It has some exposed rocky overlooks that allow you to appreciate the presidentials even before reaching the summit. Just before reaching the top, you will merge with Kinsman Ridge Trail for a very short distance. At the top, enjoy the views from the observation tower. There is an old/historic tramway that bring non-hikers to the summit. Once you enjoy the possibly crowded summit, return using the Kinsman Ridge in the south direction. Go past the intersection with the Hi Cannon Tr, and on the next intersection with the Lonesome Lk Trail, turn left into it. Soon you will discover that as rocky as Hi-Cannon Tr looked, it wasn't as difficult as Lonesome Lk Tr would have been on the way up in this section. You will reach the lake. If you have time, it is worth going around it on a loop trail it has. You may visit the Lonesome Lk AMC Hut.

hiking
muddy
rocky
1 day ago

Went Monday, June 1st. Started out sunny, soon become clouds, but was a great view and ascent nevertheless. Mostly dry, some muddy areas on the way up! Took the Lk trail down and the rocks were tough, but once you got through it, smooth sailing. Challenging hike and lonesome lake was just beautiful. Would love to have been able to spend more time if we didn’t arrive too late. Also, bring some layers for the summit! Was chilly.

hiking
blowdown
icy
muddy
over grown
rocky
scramble
10 days ago

Trail was a little bit all over the place! First 0.8 on the Hi-Cannon trail has some blow downs, is not incredibly well marked, and at times was difficult to follow. Definitely must keep an eye out otherwise you may step off. Dodge-Cut Through was great and provided quick view of the lake! The next 1.2 on Hi-Cannon was slow moving. The monorail has decayed to the point it is just ice and rock, making spikes not helpful and the trail a little slippery! Taking it slow is fine, but definitely must be aware! Last 0.4 on Kinsman Ridge was great! Monorail exists although narrow! Took one step off and postholled but was okay! Some areas have significant snow melt so you had to step around puddles, but aside from that was good! Overall a wonderful day and everything is doable! I brought spikes but never used them! Just be aware of conditions and leave yourself extra time!

hiking
icy
muddy
snow
22 days ago

Looked like a gorgeous trail, but only managed about a quarter of the way today--very very snowy and icy. Will come back next month with tracks!

You’ll take the lonesome trail at the back of the campground up to the high cannon trail. The high cannon trail is quite steep and is what makes this trail hard. That’s said, it’s not that hard and it ends up being pretty short for a 4K footer. There is a look out at the top where you can see a great view of Franconia ridge across the highway. Overall great hike.

hiking
7 months ago

Use Hi Cannon to summit Cannon and then continue on the Kinsman ridge trail to summit both Kinsman peaks. Hi Cannon gets right down to business. Steady elevation gains over a short distance. After a week of rain and cooler temps I ran into lot of ice covered rock. The ice which was now seeing the morning sun was beginning to melt making slippery conditions. Not a big deal but something to consider with this trail. Luckily for me there was no traffic at the summit from the Tram. I did go up to the top of the watch tower for a moment to peak at Franconia ridge before heading off towards the Kinsmans.

hiking
7 months ago

48 /48 Done! what's next.....

hiking
muddy
7 months ago

Went up Hi-Cannon to KRT. A couple blowdowns but otherwise clear. Great views up top, no clouds. A lot more people than on most summits. Took KRT back down to Lonesome Lake. Very slippery in spots but overall smooth sailing.

hiking
muddy
rocky
scramble
washed out
9 months ago

It’s steep, it’s rocky, it’s wet, it’s muddy, it’s crowded at the top and it’s difficult at times. It’s also incredibly rewarding with a beautiful view and did I mention there’s a bar at the top? You will need boots, your ID and a couple bucks for drinks. Not recommended for dogs.

hiking
muddy
rocky
10 months ago

Great challenging hike, pretty steep for the first couple miles, then flattens out once you hit the ridge. My husband and I are In fairly good shape but not seasoned hikers. Trail is a switchback design, very narrow so you won’t be walking side by side with anyone. The Trail is Muddy on the ridge, so pack extra socks. Great view of lonesome lake and the surrounding mountains, only thing is spectators can take a tram up to the summit so it’s very crowded on a nice day. I would recommend making your decent down lonesome lake trail as the hi cannon trail can be a dangerous decent due to large steep boulders. IPA’s at the summit was a nice touch though! Gave it a 4/5 only because the summit is very crowded with tourists.

hiking
muddy
rocky
scramble
10 months ago

I took this route up and thoroughly enjoyed the challenge, there were a few spots where you could get a good view of the notch and a few technical spots as well. I decided to take lonesome lake trail down though as this trail will beat you up a bit.

hiking
11 months ago

Very nice hike, has an observation tower at the top so you can get a better view of the surrounding mountains. Also on the way up is a couple outlooks to view Franconia ridge and lonesome lake. Only problem I had with this hike is that people can take a lift to the top, so the top can get crowded.

hiking
muddy
rocky
11 months ago

Started from the Lafayette parking area. To start the hike go find campgrounds 93/95 and you’ll see a sign for the Lonesome Lake and this begins your trek. It’s pretty easy for maybe .3 miles then it’s all intense uphill. It’s like that almost the entire way and the switchbacks are incredibly narrow (two people can’t comfortably walk side by side), and the elevation gain is bananas. Once you get up you’ll see a bald mountain face where most of the photos of Lonesome Lake are taken. This area is PHENOMENAL and almost better than the summit (only the summit has beer so you really can’t beat that with a stick). After that you’re still not done. Go up the ladder and the forestation starts to change to that of more rugged terrain as you’re nearing the top—this is mostly flat. Only a little bit further to the observation tower, which is packed with tourists from the tram. The cruel irony that you have to climb four flights of stairs to get to the top of the lookout did not escape me. Then it’s just a short walk to heaven, aka, the beer taps at Cannon Lodge. Bathrooms, food, and have I mentioned they have alcohol? NBD. OKAY. What I have not read, and a huge takeaway is this: go back the way you came if you want to go to Lafayette campground again. If you go to the Kinsman ridge trail to the left, you will go down the other side of Cannon where the Tram is. Different trail head completely. It will take a 2.2 mile walk down the Pemi to get back to Lafayette, or you can get a shuttle for $5. So be sure to go down the same path you came up BUT to follow the Lonesome trail instead of back down Hi-Cannon. I hope this makes sense. I’ve been hiking a long time and this was confusing for me so hopefully I save someone some trouble. Love ya’ll.

hiking
snow
Sun Apr 28 2019

hiking
Sun Jul 15 2018

A fairly difficult trail even for a seasoned hiker like me particular on a hot and humid day. It's easy going on Lonesome Lake trail but once you get to Hi-Cannon then comes it gets steep all the way. And once you get to Kinsman Ridge it gets steep and scramble all the way. The Cannon Mountain cafe is full service with all kinds of food and even beer but the view is dissapointing.but the view from the observation tower is much better. I had a pulled pork sandwich which was bland the chili was tasty but gave me stomach pain later. The most scenic view I think is from the various scenic overlooks. On the way down I decided to take a detour to Lonesome Lake via the Dodge Cut-Off trail and enjoyed a swim there and friendly chat with AMC hut staff there. I think this trail has to be done with a pit stop at Lonesome Lake otherwise all that steep climbing and scramble will be hard to justify. It does add to the mileage but it's an easy flat hike to the lake.

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