Mount Lafayette and Franconia Ridge Trail Loop

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White Mountain National Forest

Mount Lafayette and Franconia Ridge Trail Loop is a 8.6 mile heavily trafficked loop trail located near Lincoln, New Hampshire that features a waterfall and is only recommended for very experienced adventurers. The trail is primarily used for hiking, mountain biking, and snowshoeing and is best used from April until October. Dogs are also able to use this trail.

Length8.6 miElevation gain3,822 ftRoute typeLoop
HikingMountain bikingSnowshoeingDog friendlyForestRiverViewsWaterfallWildflowersWildlifeRockyScramble
Description
Waypoints (11)
Contact
Tips
Getting There

The shuttle service had been temporarily suspended in 2020 due to COVID-19 concerns. Please visit the following page for more information https://www.nhstateparks.org/activities/hiking/franconia-notch-hiker-parking. 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. The hut closes during the wintertime.

USFS Pemigewasset Ranger Station, Plymouth, (603)536-1310

As always, bring good footgear, rain clothes, and extra clothes. This is a long and strenuous hike, so make sure to bring plenty of food and water.

Park at the Lafayette Place parking area. Trailhead is on east side of road and is well marked.

Weather
UV Index
Daylight
Reviews (4,553)
Photos (7,409)
Recordings (3,288)
Completed (9,574)
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Rúben Sousa
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HikingGreat!

My favorite hike! Microspikes and poles did the job.

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Allen Dotzenrod
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Hiking

Perfect. Must have microspikes and poles. No need for snowshoes.

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Brett Bowersox
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Hiking
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Andrew Switzer
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Hiking

awesome hike, didnt get to do much but, will be back soon

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eric gage
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Hiking

Did last summer: enduring. Took me 8hrs to complete. Starts with following big waterfalls with lots of wet rocks. Few spots where you had to climb over a 4’ shelf. Spectacular views all across the ridge, except laffayete which was in the clouds. More views facing back at the mountain on the way down. Very crowded.

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Erin Percel
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Great!RockySnow

Beautiful weather today! No wind or clouds. Hit the jack pot. Hiked up to shining rock with spikes on then switched to snow shoes. Changed back to spikes from little haystack to Lincoln because there were more bare rocks than snow. Switched back to snow shoes heading to Lafayette. Trail conditions are great on both falling waters and old bridle. Views of both summits are the best heading down old bridle. 9am start 4pm finish with breaks. Epic day!!

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Shawn Concannon
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Hiking

Amazing day! Barely any wind. All spikes the whole time.

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Conor Noonan
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Hiking
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Fleurane Myfun
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Hiking

Ok

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Nicholas Ramirez
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Hiking

Hiked this trail on 1/22/21. Trail was deep with snow a majority of the way up. Microspikes and trekking poles a MUST HAVE. Conditions were calm and beautiful while in the tree line, but very dangerous once I reached the alpine zone at Little Haystack. White out conditions and heavy wind were present along the ridge. DO NOT go alone in those conditions! I had to turn back once I reached Mt. Lincoln as the wind was getting too strong. Will definitely return to complete the full loop in the Spring.

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Scott Trafton
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Hiking

Wore microspikes entire time. Fought drifts above treeline all the way to Little Haystack,. Packed trail down Falling Waters. Sub zero wind chill at summit.

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Hanan Wiseman
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Hiking

Trail was packed well, VERY COLD and windy, knee to waist deep drifts after breaking out of tree line. It started snowing on the way down so depending on how much it snows, snowshoes may be necessary going forward.

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Trudy F
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Up to Haystack, over to Lafayette,, down to hut, finished on Old Bridal. Packed down enough that loop can be completed with just boots and poles, but spikes would would be nice. Ridge was windy and chilly, but good enough visibility. Just pay attention to tracks, watch your steps. Tracks on the ground were hard to make out sometimes, but luckily there was pee in the snow to confirm I was on the right path, lols. Started at 1pm, arrived back at 7 pm, nice little twilight hike.

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Jon Sheehan
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HikingSnow

Route - up to Little Haystack to Lincoln to Lafayette Duration - 4 hours 30 minutes, 8.8 miles Weather - light snow for entirety of hike; very strong winds along ridge line; very low visibility along ridge line and above tree line Conditions - identifiable trail until tree line (true for ascent and descent); recent heavy snow fall (~12") made for intermittent deep snow starting at 2.5 miles through 5.5 miles; snowshoers had sufficiently packed down enough of the trail that only micro-spikes were used, but snowshoes could have been beneficial between mile 2.5 through 5.5 Hiked with two other physically-fit, high-fitness guys. Micro-spikes, layers, and snowshoes are recommended. The ridge line stretch is NO JOKE. Do not attempt leisurely, nor alone. Hut is closed, too.

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Will Bittrich
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HikingScrambleSnow

Amazing hike on a great mountain. Went Falling waters up and Old Bridle down, as a PSA, if it is snowy conditions finding Old Bridle Path with the iced over signs is very difficult. Cairns are small and hard to find in low visibility. Very windy on the ridge (obviously), but make sure you don’t have any exposed skin during the winter months, my friend got frostbite! Overall, great winter hike and highly suggest microspikes. Our trek took us 5 hours while getting lost for about 30 minutes, but we do tend to hike fast.

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Al Sochard
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Hiking

Never dull

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Paul Giroux
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Hiking

One of my favorites.

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Elvira Fleury
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Hiking

Beautiful!!! Micro spikes and layers are must atm

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harriett polymeros
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HikingSnow
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Samantha Shupe
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HikingIcySnow
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Mike Hamilton
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Hiking

Great condition. Well packed. Spikes only. We went up falls.

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Brandon Reichert
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HikingIcy
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Alyssa Curtis
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HikingIcySnow

Up falling waters; little haystack -> Lincoln -> Lafayette. Micro spikes needed after about 1 mile. Water crossing near falls not totally frozen over so caution not to fall in. Summit weather report said 20 mph winds at the top however we think it was about 40 in reality. Still great views, just had to wait to eat until back in tree line.

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Allison Roets
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HikingGreat!IcySnow
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