Mount Lafayette and Franconia Ridge Trail Loop

hard 2812 reviews

Mount Lafayette and Franconia Ridge Trail Loop is a 13.8 kilometer heavily trafficked loop trail located near Lincoln, 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: 13.8 km Elevation Gain: 1,165 m Route Type: Loop

dog friendly

backpacking

hiking

mountain biking

nature trips

snowshoeing

running

forest

river

views

waterfall

wild flowers

wildlife

bugs

rocky

scramble

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. As a bonus you will ascend three peaks, including the highest mountain outside the Presidential Range - Mount Lafayette.

hiking
icy
snow
2 days ago

hiking
icy
snow
6 days ago

Did it in 5.5 hours. The snow was packed down, no need for snow shoes. Aggressive micro spikes or better yet, crampons (what I used) are a must. The views along Franconia Ridge are amazing. Once atop the ridge it’s easier going. I hit Little Haystack first and then Lincoln and Lafayette last. If you can get yourself up in time for sunset, it takes about 2.5 hours from the parking lot to Little Haystack. Plan on getting to the top 30 minutes prior to sunrise for the best show... WOW!

8 days ago

Trail was mostly well packed so we only used the microspikes. The summits and ridge walk were extremely challenging due to whiteout conditions and high winds. Fortunately we had the appropriate gear and and a leader who could navigate in those conditions. Going down via bridle path was a lot of fun and straight forward.

hiking
snow
9 days ago

Hiked it on Feb 16th, cloudy day, foggy and windy on the ridge walk, no visibility from the ridge trail and summits. We did it in 4.5-5h, with very short breaks (very cold temperatures). Challenging hike due to weather conditions. We used the microspikes all the way. Very nice hike going up via Falling Waters Trail (frozen falls WOW). Going down via old bridle path was a lot of fun, running and sliding in the snow. Wonderful landscape with trees covered in snow. Loved it. Muscle soreness started driving back home ;) Will definitely go back

hiking
flooded
icy
rocky
scramble
9 days ago

Hiked 11/02/19. Recent rains produced 7+ water crossings on the appropriately named Falling Waters trail on ascent (had to remove boots and socks to strain out water) and then cooler temperatures had frozen some of that water higher up, leading scrambling over icy rocks. Hiking poles and micro- or nano-spikes a must at that time of year. At least weather was clear so we did enjoy the breathtaking views on the ridge! Ascent took longer than planned, meaning that we had to hustle on our descent from peak of Mt. Lafayette to try to beat the dark. Last 15-20 minutes in dark. Headlamps helped but glad we did not have to do an hour of descending with those! A fantastic hike, probably better earlier in fall and not after any recent rains. Would definitely do again just for ridge views.

hiking
snow
13 days ago

very hard trail to doin snow. will do it again in the spring or summer. it kicked my butt

hiking
rocky
snow
15 days ago

One of the best hikes in New England, certainly the premier hike in New Hampshire. Travelling from mountain peak, to peak, to peak in addition to multiple waterfalls is a site all those who visit the Granite State should see. Weather is completely unpredictable and can go from warm and sunny to windy and snowing in 30 min....

hiking
icy
rocky
snow
23 days ago

Micro spike are enough but crampons are better. No need for snowshoes. Packed trails with ice layers. Mixed snow crust and rocks at the top.

hiking
rocky
scramble
snow
24 days ago

Took the Falling Waters Trail up the loop, and Old Bridle Path down. You can leave your snowshoes at home, or give them a free ride up and down, since the trails are in good enough condition (and solid enough) that all you'll need are microspikes. I did notice softer snow near the summits of Lafayette and Haystack, but nothing significant. The peaks, and ridge, of the three mountains are nearly bare rock in some spots, which is strange to see in January. Overall, in the current weather conditions, this trail is the best it will ever be in the Winter. Get out there! Be prepared though, the hike is closer to 10 miles long, and the hike up Falling Waters gets a little intense with the pervasive steep inclines.

hiking
27 days ago

Really fun great hike. Amazing view at the summits.

hiking
29 days ago

Excellent hike. Trails are packed snow with some ice. Spikes are a must have. Views along the ridge were incredible. Extremely windy at each peak. I’d recommend goggles across the ridge. Having extra layers and being prepared for any weather will make this hike unforgettable.

30 days ago

Report: 20-30 degrees. Only needed hat gloves and coat above treeline. Blue skies. The 2 mile ridge trail has been scoured down to bare rock by the winds. 30-50 MPH headwind along the ridge. Ice bridges were solid over the water. No blow downs. Trails are incredible; picture a city sidewalk and now put a thick but firm oriental carpet on it and now have it on a gentle incline and then walk up it. Very easy and comfortable. Wore microspikes the whole hike but not sure even needed them.

hiking
1 month ago

bausse de sucre au sommet

Winter hike is great, but bring spikes and poles!

hiking
1 month ago

Snowshoed up Little Haystack, then booted across Franconia Ridge and down Lafayette. Trail up and down under tree line was lots of good snow, could have either booted or snowshoed down. Was 7.5 hrs car to car. Saw a number of folks going up Haystack side but everyone appeared to turn around once they got there rather than cross the ridge. Didn’t see anyone between Little Haystack and about 1.5 miles to the bottom. Most of the snow on the ridge was blown away with a few large snowdrifts - mostly rocky with mixed textured (and surprisingly grippy) ice. Windy and cold - water supply froze heading into the wind on our way down Lafayette - with some snowfall to keep the views hidden. Didn’t run into any serious problems though warm gloves / hats / layers and ski goggles were a must.

hiking
1 month ago

I had to turn around after the first peak, little haystack mtn. The wind with lots of moisture was brutal. Because of rather high temperature, the ridge trail after little haystack mtn. was melt and pretty wet. I don't normally make a u turn in anything but after the wind blew away my hat and I couldn't even see where it landed, I said, that's it. It was quite dangerous today.

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