Mount Lafayette and Franconia Ridge Trail Loop

HARD 1,412 reviews

Mount Lafayette and Franconia Ridge Trail Loop is a 8.5 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
8.5 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
3,805 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Loop

dog friendly

backpacking

birding

hiking

mountain biking

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
9 minutes ago

My favorite place to go hiking thus far.

hiking
3 hours ago

Beautiful hike in NH with fantastic views

hiking
6 hours ago

The most beautiful hike in NH

1 day ago

Great Hike with awesome views !! Must go ..

hiking
1 day ago

Ma plus belle randonnée !!!

1 day ago

Ian not a experienced hiker but I did it in 9 hr it was great day I enjoyed it views were not great we were in the clouds but I will do it again can’t wait

3 days ago

Loved it. Very strenuous. So worth it. Bring more water then you think you need.

hiking
4 days ago

Actually breathtaking views. My girlfriend and I were able to finish the loop in about 8 hours. It was tough but it was one of the highlights of my year. I am from Jersey and the huge plus was when we camped out the stars were absolutely unbelievable. Great way to end the night! Us Jersey people are not used to seeing shooting stars and such view able sky's. If you are even considering this hike I would recommend pulling the bandaide and getting the plans together, you will not regret it.

6 days ago

Must be fit!!!

6 days ago

Awesome experience and will definitely be going again!

hiking
6 days ago

Such an impressive and gorgeous trek. This hike is no joke, it would be very challenging to do without physically preparing yourself. Well worth it! Once you summit, you are exposed to some truly marvelous views for miles along the ridge. As was suggested to my group, ascending via Falling Waters was a good idea since the rocks were slippery, and descending Old Bridle Path was more comfortable considering our tired legs. That way, too, you can stop at the Green Hut to refill on water (bring plenty!!!) and grab something to eat if you need. Overall, one of my favorite hikes to date and plan to return!

hiking
7 days ago

What a great hike. Waterfalls and outstanding views. Yes, the hike was difficult but very rewarding once you reach the top. I’m 45 and my buddy is 44. We took rests along the way and spent some time at the top. In all, we took about an hour in rest time. The hike itself took us around 5.5 hours. We were hiking at a descent pace. I was thankful to have hiking poles. The trail going down (after Lafayette) was aggressive and tough on the legs after a while. Overall, a great hike. One of my favorites.

hiking
7 days ago

Amazing views but the hike WAS as difficult as previous reviews say. Probably one of the most difficult hikes I’ve ever done. Very rocky trail and pretty steep in parts but it levels off a lot once you get onto the ridge and that’s also when the views open up and are beautiful for about 2 miles. GPS watch clocked it at 8.8 miles total 4,000 ft elevation gain. It took us 6 hours but we didn’t take many breaks. Definitely worth the effort. Come prepared with food/water and the ridge was windy and pretty chilly when we were there so I was happy to have brought a jacket. Poles would have helped but we didn’t bring any. We were able to get great parking in the lot at the trail head when arriving at 7:15am on a sunday.

hiking
7 days ago

Beautiful hike but very challenging. Start early and be prepared with PLENTY of water and food. I drank about 3.5 liters on my own.

My girlfriend and I went up Old Bridle Path. I know its less popular but I would do it again that way. We started around 7:00 and the viewpoints in the morning sun were absolutely serene. It's the quieter trail at that time so we got to enjoy the views mostly by ourselves and our legs were a little more fresh than had we gone up Falling Water. Doing the loop this way means your descent is much steeper which was admittedly tough after an already long day. But Falling Water is now quieter by the afternoon and the waterfalls made for a great treat and a beautiful change of pace, in terms of scenery, at the end of the hike.

hiking
7 days ago

Hiked this loop on 9/16. I just recently got into hiking, and made these my 4th and 5th of the NH 48. I took my time and this loop took me just over 8 hours, but I relaxed at the top for about an hour as I ate lunch and took in the view. The clouds were rolling through so I got a fun mix of clear skies while also hiking through the clouds, which was a first for me!

hiking
8 days ago

All I can say is wow! And ouch! I didn’t expect to do the loop but I ended up doing it counterclockwise on the suggestion of the park lady. Glad I did - what a hike! The worst part imo is hiking up to the ridge. Once you’re on the ridge it seems easier to me - maybe it’s just because the view is so amazing that you forget your hiking. Plan on a full 8 ours though - it will take you that long! This was the second hardest hike I have ever done - the only one harder so far was Mt. Washington.

8 days ago

nice trail lots of people

hiking
8 days ago

Absolutely wonderful hike. We are somewhat but not super in-shape, so the hike was challenging, but doable. We took Falling Waters up and Green Leaf down. It had rained heavily the night before and one of the river crossings was a bit tricky with the powerful stream on Falling Waters, we were glad to have waterproof shoes and wished we had brought a hiking pole. Breathtaking views for miles once you clear the tree line. It took us about 7 hours with a number of short breaks and a stop at the top of Lincoln for lunch. We went through water pretty quickly but refilled at Green Leaf Hut, and had some refreshing lemonade there as well. My legs were sore for days but it was totally worth it.

10 days ago

My new favorite hike. Definitely would recommend Falling Waters going up and Green Leaf coming down for the best views. Fraconia Ridge is beautiful and has some nice challenges. Great hike.

hiking
10 days ago

My wife and I did this hike last weekend on Sunday and it was absolutely amazing! We started counterclockwise and it was definitely the right decision as ending off by the Hut was a great rest stop. The hike up we were warm but at the top we put on our pullovers. This was the second weekend in September. At the top we were able to see all the vistas and take in the beauty of the White National Forest! Notes: Bring a lot of water. Have cash only for the Hut. Take your time. Walking sticks for your way down.

I grew up in Jim Thorpe, PA but this was definitely the most difficult hike I have ever done.

Once again absolutely beautiful and so worth it!

hell ya was really fun hehe

hiking
12 days ago

The best hike I have ever done in my entire life. The views are incredible. Just be sure to bring a jacket as hiking along the ridge can be pretty windy.

hiking
15 days ago

This hike was amazing. It was hard but if you take your time it can be done. Thanks Mark from Pembroke for the conversation. #hike603

hiking
15 days ago

I finally bit the bucket list bullet and hiked the "Ridge". Was on the Falling Water trail at 530 and didn't see many for the first hour. A steep and tough climb, but well worth the effort. The ridge was full of hikers on this holiday. Was able to reach Lafayette by 1200. Had lunch with a couple of friend and headed down Greenleaf and home on Old Bridle path.
A long day with 9.5 miles and couple of sore knees.
Still glad I finally can say I've got that one off my list.

16 days ago

One of the best hikes I've ever done! The elevation gain is a great workout and the scenery will keep you going. I highly recommend this one.

16 days ago

Very challenging hike, I am not an experienced hiker but still completed this hike. The views are amazing, and worth every step!

17 days ago

We have only been hiking about 8 times and this was our first visit here. We did this hike with 3 teenagers, a 10 year old and 3 adults

We went up bridal path trail to the hut then back down.

It was absolutely beautiful and we loved it!!! It’s steep! We are all in good physical condition and still got pretty winded and required many breaks.
Not sure I would want to do this hike if the trail was wet after a rain.

We will definitely return to stay the night and do the whole hike but, without the kids.

Our teenagers slept well on the way home after our hike and they promised to never hike with us again LoL

hiking
18 days ago

Hard but simply amazing!!!

18 days ago

The most incredible hike i’ve ever done, although very hard on the knees on the way down. Went up Falling Waters and down Old Bridle Path. Will definitely be doing this trail again!

hiking
18 days ago

Best hike I have ever done. Gets busy, so best to leave early. Took us 8 hours with a few breaks and stopping at the AMC lodge for lunch. It is work, but well worth it. Most incredible views of the Whites, even though it was cloudy at the top the day we went. We plan on hiking it again in hopes of a more clear day. We found the descent much more difficult than the climb, but by far the most beautiful hike to date. Glad we didn't bring the dog since it is more suited for small, agile dog-o's. Enjoy!

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