Mount Lafayette and Franconia Ridge Trail Loop

HARD 495 reviews

Mount Lafayette and Franconia Ridge Trail Loop is a 8 mile moderately 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
8.0 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
3937 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Loop

dog friendly

birding

hiking

nature trips

snowshoeing

trail running

walking

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
53 seconds ago

Started this hike at 10:40 am via the Falling Waters Trail. This is certainly a hike not to be taken lightly. Lots of boulders on the trail, along with the majority of the elevation gain on the way to Little Haystack make for a very challenging hike. The weather was sunny, mid 70s in the valley, so it was warm until just below tree line. For the most part the trails were dry. Windy at the top with in and out sunshine. Spectacular views nonetheless. 30mph gusts made for a windy traverse to Lincoln and Lafayette. Coming down was tedious on my knees (but aren't they all?). Made the loop in 6 1/2 hours.

hiking
6 hours ago

Absolutely stunning hike, and by far one of the best hikes outside the presidential range.

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1 day ago

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hiking
2 days ago

This was our second time doing this loop. Do your reading and research if you've not done it, and make sure you check the weather and bring everything you should have for this type of hike. We are "middle aged" (49) only semi-fit hikers who hike slowly and carefully. Everyone passed us, but we took our time deliberately and it was not bad at all. Poles made a world of difference from when I hiked it 2 years ago without them. I strained my knee that day coming down, but this time the poles took a lot of the stress and weight off of them. First time we hiked it in about 7 hours (8 including breaks) but this time we took about 9.5 hours at an enjoyable pace. Highly recommend beginning with Falling Waters Trail. While it's only slightly steeper than Old Bridle Trail, the location of the Greenleaf Hut is much more welcome when you're starting down and have a good deal of the hike behind you. My least favorite part of the hike is the very smooth, slippery-when-dry rock you sometimes encounter on Old Bridle. Go slowly, use poles, and use your head. :) We will be doing this hike again in the future.

hiking
2 days ago

My fiance and I did this one and had never hiked before. We realized how crazy we were upon speaking to other hikers at the top. Neither of us had researched and got a suggestion from a waiter at a restaurant on where/what to hike... we took the waiter's suggestion and were exhausted, but were thrilled we did it. It's a beautiful hike, although I have to admit I may've cried about half way up to the top... The journey to the top feels like it's never ending and is quite steep and painful if you aren't in superior shape. By the time we were coming up Little Haystack, his legs were cramping up and I was running out of water (had 3L bladders), but the pain is worth it! The majestic beauty at the top is amazing! The journey down is again... painful on the knees... but I wouldn't have traded it for anything. We're excited to make this one a reoccuring tradition throughout our lives and I'm looking forward to the next time, even now knowing what to expect.

Definitely recommend going up Falling Waters and down Bridle Path. The waterfalls on the way up, amazingly beautiful!! Was very crowded today because of the perfect weather but made it that much more fun meeting people!! If you go up Bridle Path and see what your in for with the four peaks, you may well turn around, it looks very daunting. And it is, I would definitely call the loop very challenging. Took us 7 hours with some stops at the tops of the peaks. The view absolutely can't be beat on a clear day!! Get there early. We started at 10 and finished by 5:30 average speed. Boots and poles definitely recommended!! Tough on the knees either way you go but knee pads helped a lot.

hiking
3 days ago

The view are excellent. The ridge isn't the 'knife edge' that the description makes it out to be. I'm not sure that the direction of the hike matters much unless it's very wet out. It's pretty steep both ways. It can feel crowded at times and the top in particular starts to feel like a conveyor belt, even on a week day, though it is peak season. Worth doing for the views at least. I'd try it again off season.

3 days ago

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5 days ago

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5 days ago

Beautiful hike. A bit windy at the top

hiking
6 days ago

I strongly recommend a start on the Falling trail to finish with the Lafayette descent. The first 3 miles is very very hard as we walk the bottom of a river; very steep humid rocks makes it a real adventure. The way back has its rocky sections as well but not as much; easier on the knees. Very nice views but excruciating if your not used to it!

hiking
6 days ago

hiking
6 days ago