Mount Lafayette and Franconia Ridge Trail Loop

HARD 1729 reviews

Mount Lafayette and Franconia Ridge Trail Loop is a 7.8 mile heavily trafficked loop trail located near Franconia, New Hampshire that features a waterfall and is only recommended for very experienced adventurers. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from April until October. Dogs are also able to use this trail.

Distance: 7.8 miles Elevation Gain: 3,776 feet Route Type: Loop

dog friendly

backpacking

hiking

mountain biking

nature trips

snowshoeing

trail running

bird watching

forest

river

views

waterfall

wild flowers

wildlife

blowdown

bugs

muddy

rocky

scramble

snow

washed out

This is a very popular full day hike for good reasons. On a clear day, you are unlikely to find better views in New England. Combine this with strenuous and nerve-wrecking hiking on the 'knife-edge' between Mount Little Haystack, Lincoln, and Lafayette and you have the recipe for a great day out. As a bonus you will ascend three peaks, including the highest mountain outside the Presidential Range - Mount Lafayette.

hiking
rocky
scramble
11 hours ago

hiking
21 hours ago

Done in autumn twice. Quite dangerous at the summit when conditions are harsh. 12inches of snow. and no visibility with extreme winds. Bring the mecessary equipement. Also done a little more early in september. Perfect conditions. Incredible view. Quite easy. High winds so bring a long sleeve shirt/vestido not to get cool. Bring necessary food and water for a 7-10h ride depending on your pace.

hiking
1 day ago

Went about 1.5 miles up on the falls side and then another 1.5 miles. Uoa on the pass side with a 3, 6, and 8 yo with no hiking experience. The falls were breathtaking. Slippery in spots and we had to be careful going down. However would not recommend the pass, too far for us to make it to and.no.views for the first mile or so. Total 7.miles or so and bugs were not that bad.

Super buggy on falling waters, bring bug spray. Tough hike up but worth it for the views on the ridge trail.

hiking
bugs
rocky
scramble
3 days ago

This trial is incredible! But it’s not 7.8 miles, it’s 9.4 miles. It took my friend and I 9 hours (both 24f). We started at 7:15 am on a Monday and there were about 10 cars in the parking lot ( lots of spaces left). The bugs on the Brindle path trail are the real deal. Bring layers and snacks and water and have fun!!

hiking
rocky
scramble
6 days ago

GREAT HIKE! This was the most amazing hike I’ve ever done. It was challenging and beautiful. I would definitely recommend leaving the pups at home. I took mine and wish I didn’t. Highly highly recommend this. The views are incredible.

hiking
rocky
6 days ago

GREAT trail. My wife and I started up falling water at about 8:30 (in parking lot by 8:15). It was a Tuesday and overcast, so there weren’t too many people on the trail. We hiked, ran, and scrambled as necessary. It was tough going at points but beautiful throughout. The waterfalls are amazing and the ridge line was great for running. Falling waters and the bridle path can be really tough in spots. Very rocky and steep. It is a tough day of hiking, but so, so worth it. Several people talked about bugs, but we didn’t experience that at all. I don’t think I saw a black fly, and event the mosquitoes weren’t bad. We did it in about 5 hours with about 1 hr of rest total. But we ran when we could. We also missed the turn from Mt Lafayette toward the Hut, and headed toward Mt Garfield. Total rookie mistake. That would have added several miles by the time we would have figured it out by ourselves. Fortunately, a couple of veteran hikers pointed out our error and turned us around without too much doubling back (many thanks!). The Hut is a great place to take a break, but bring some money if you want to buy some food or swag. If you have some fitness and a decent amount of time, this is a great hike.

hiking
rocky
6 days ago

First time hiking in US (from Sweden

hiking
rocky
scramble
7 days ago

incredible, insanely difficult hike with beautiful panoramic views on each peak. went up falling waters and down old bridal.

hiking
9 days ago

I loved this hike. It was challenging but well worth it with beyond amazing views.. This is a must do hike!

9 days ago

One of the best hikes I've ever done. Went up falling waters. It definitely whipped my butt. Beware the false summit when you get above treeline!

hiking
rocky
10 days ago

One of the most beautiful and challenging trail I have done. It took us about 10 hours to do all 3 summits, however that is with a lot of breaks and picture taking. Definitely worth the hike!

hiking
11 days ago

Easily the most beautiful, breathtaking trail I’ve ever hiked.

hiking
12 days ago

Perfect conditions today, took about seven hours altogether with a few short stops along the way!

hiking
bugs
muddy
rocky
scramble
13 days ago

hiking
scramble
13 days ago

My wife and I did this trail one week ago (June 12). It was a great day in spite of a VERY challenging weather. It took us roughly 8 hrs, including approx. 45 minutes enjoying the coziness of Green Leaf Hut. We started approx. 9:00 and went up falling water trail. Started with an overcast sky. By the time we were leaving behind the tree line and approaching the ridge it began to rain. We reached Little Haystack Mountain under very strong winds and a constant drizzle. Fortunately we had decent gear, including gloves, otherwise it would have been too cold. A couple of groups who we had cross on our way up (and, apparently, were not well equipped...) decided to turn back, as the ridge was too windy and foggy. We decided to try it out and were able to cross the ridge up to Mt. Lafayette, where wind was even stronger. We spent no time at the summit and continued on our way. Eventually we reached Green Leaf Hut, which was very nice to get out of the wind and rain. We had lunch, took off some our wet clothes for a while and, after that, continued our way down along Old Bridle Path. Going down can be tough on your knees, we are considering trying it clock wise next time (hopefully there will be a next time!). All in all, a great walk, beautiful views (of the water falls going up, as we could not see anything from the ridge) and a nice day walk. Clearly we did not have any issues with bugs, and confirmed that, even for this kind of day walks, being well prepared for changing weather is a must (including good hiking boots!).

hiking
bugs
rocky
scramble
14 days ago

This was a super fun hike up falling waters trail (some beautiful water falls) with a spectacular view on little haystack mountain. However, if you come in June, once you get above the tree line, you will be swarmed by black flies all the way through mt Lincoln, mt Lafayette, and down to the Greenleaf Hut. The hike down the Bridle path was long and tough on the knees but doable! I suggest wearing an insect net, wearing special oils, or waiting out the black fly season!

hiking
bugs
rocky
15 days ago

This was an INCREDIBLE hike. Easily one of my favorites. Definitely need to be in really good shape and even though it’s dog friendly, I would advise against bringing your pup unless they’re also experienced at hiking - I saw a lot of folks struggling with their dogs and felt bad for everyone. That aside, it’s a very challenging but infinitely rewarding hike. Pack a lunch and eat it at one of the summits. I hiked Falling Water to OBP instead of the other way around and think I would prefer that anyway (to avoid doing the water crossings on tired legs!). Pack bug spray!! The biting gnats were pretty bad.

hiking
bugs
rocky
15 days ago

Simply amazing!!! I did the hike today and started around 8:30 am. I got dropped off but I saw few parking spots left. I wouldn’t arrive later than 8:30 to get a spot. I went on falling waters as I was advised by the park ranger. The ascend is shaded for the most part and the waterfalls are surreal! It is rugged and steep terrain but doable if you are fit of some sort. You are gaining 3850 ft elevation after all. The ridge part is breathtaking. Mild up and down but the view will make you forget about anything. The descend is rugged and steep similar with the ascend. Do stop at the Hut, they have refreshments, water and a spectacular view behind it of a pond and the Franconia ridge. Bugs on all portions of the trail. Lots! Must have: insect repellent, sunscreen, hat, layers, water, food. The ridge was not too windy today (12 mph) but typically the weather is crazier. I was ok with one layer up there. Hiking shoes highly recommended. It took me 8h including stops for food, pictures etc. I enjoyed myself very much and I suggest you take your time too and take in this beautiful trail. I went solo but there are lots of people on the trail. Enjoy!

hiking
bugs
muddy
rocky
scramble
15 days ago

6/10/19 - Started the hike @ 7:30 w/ only 5 other cars in the parking lot. Started the loop via the Old Bridle Path trail. Elevation gain starts almost immediately. The views of the ridge are beautiful when you peak up over the tree line. Shortly after this you reach the Greenleaf hut. Great spot to sit and rest and refill water. From hut to summit of Mt. Lafayette its 1.1 miles but you gain 1500 ft in elevation, this is where the ass kickers starts. Surprisingly the bugs weren't bad until this section, not sure if it was the open cliff faces, time of day but the black flies became fierce. The views at the Summit of Mt. Lafayette are phenomenal, the day we went was 75 degree and sunny. Views of the entire white mountains were amazing. Ridge walk is about 2 miles, you summit Lafayette, Lincoln and then Little Haystack. We went down the Falling Waters Trail, which is fairly rocky and steep. The trail follows along a river and basic rock hoping for crossing the river a few times. You see at least 3-4 waterfalls which I was super surprised by, with the spring rains the water flow was impressive. Defiantly a hard hike for athletic/ experiences hikers. Bring plenty of water and bug spray. All and all great hike and worth the pain!

hiking
15 days ago

This was the most difficult thing I’ve ever done. I’m 49. I went up falling waters last April and turned back at top of little haystack because I was not prepared for the Arctic like temps and wind at the top. After training for months I finally did the full loop. Parking lot was packed before 8:00am (There is a shuttle from a nearby parking lot the next exit up). Falling waters is incredible with picture perfect waterfalls and gorgeous woodlands. However make no mistake. It is steep! Once up I huddled from the wind behind a rock where I had hot soup from a thermos. Then the Ridge to Lincoln and Lafayette. So beautiful but hard won. Getting very fatigued by Greenleaf with couple hours to go (2.9 mi) to parking lot. Seemed a bit treacherous for me on the decent. Was well worth it but knees are very sore. You will love it but get in serious shape first. Trust me.

16 days ago

Awesome tail, probably one if the best in NH. Great views, beautiful, well maintained trail, and not super muddy or overly rocky. Make sure you pack for weather changes, it was sunny and warm (shorts and t-shirt) at bottom, but at top, needed a mid weight winter jacket due to wind. Dog friendly for large dogs used to hiking. Don't bring small dogs, older dogs, dogs not used to long walks or hiking, etc. Kid friendly for kids used to hiking. Nothing super dangerous or hard, but you will be on the mountain if you do the entire loop probably 6 hours plus, even in decent shape. Bring food and water.

hiking
16 days ago

I been to this place third times already, it’s a very nice place

hiking
16 days ago

Super fun! It was WINDY at the bald peak, so bring a light wind breaker. I highly encourage you to take the loop Counter-Clockwise like this app suggests. There is a hut on the descent where you can refill your drinking water and use bathrooms. If you go Clockwise, you’ll pass it when you’re only about a quarter or third of the way finished. Also the terrain leading to the hut is better to descend than clamber up.

17 days ago

This is an amazing hike! The point of views are spectacular! We did it in roughly 9 hours but we stopped about 1 hour for lunch and admiring the gorgeous scenery. We suggest starting up with Old Bridge Path then down with Falling River. Be prepared for a tough but rewarding journey. Only experienced hikers should attempt this loop. Have fun!!

hiking
rocky
17 days ago

hiking
17 days ago

Best hike east of the mississippi! Rivals any national park, esp on the east coast.

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