Mount Lafayette and Franconia Ridge Trail Loop

HARD 2158 reviews

Mount Lafayette and Franconia Ridge Trail Loop is a 8.6 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: 8.6 miles Elevation Gain: 3,822 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
30 minutes ago

This hike has been one of my favorites! The ridge is quite an experience.

hiking
3 hours ago

What an incredible hike! Perfect weather! Amazing views! we started from Falling waters trail and took almost 3 hours to reach the little Haystack mountain.. the last leg(30-45min) of the trail was difficult rather strenuous due to big rocks.. but worth the hike..we got beautiful views..Cloud was clear.. From their its 1.7mi to Mt.Lafayette which requires 1.5 hours to hike.. view from Mt.Lafayette was covered with mist..very chilly.. However got a beautiful view as and when the clouds were passing... hike down via Old Bridge trail..trail was steep due to rocky terrain and it was stressful on the knees.. Take lot of water and Dry fruits!

hiking
rocky
scramble
3 hours ago

hiking
5 hours ago

What an incredible hike. I'd put it up against anything in the Rockies! Went up Falling Waters Trail and down Old Bridle Trail, and completed the hike in exactly 5 hours. Looking forward to doing it again and again!

hiking
rocky
5 hours ago

Awesome trail, gorgeous views and unique path atop the peaks. Pretty difficult on the knees on the way down.

hiking
rocky
15 hours ago

What a trip! Was not ready for this hike but it was well worth it. I need to be in better shape next time I go. Pictures do not even begin to do it justice. Absolutely recommend going up Falling Waters trail as it climbs pretty quick.

hiking
rocky
scramble
15 hours ago

hiking
1 day ago

Incredible and respect for the mountains. My girlfriend and I are 60 years old and this trail was a challenge for us physically, psychologically and spiritually. Must start early if you don't want to finish in the dark like us. That being said very rewarding for the views, the fauna and the people we met on the trail. We did the trail Thursday and Friday we had a planned massage each...good idea.

hiking
scramble
1 day ago

Most strenuous, but rewarding hike I’ve done yet. Started up Falling water trail at 7:20 am, first summit was reached at 9:40am and the 1.7 miles to Lafayette took about an hour or so due to tired legs! Left the summit at 11:15 and reached my car via the Bridle trail by 1:50pm. It was amazing to hike above the clouds. Highly suggest bring enough water to at least get you to the cabin on the bridle trail where they have water provided and pack a coat for the summit as it gets quite chilly!

hiking
1 day ago

Started early morning on a weekday. It get crowded on weekends and afternoon. Parking may be difficult. Very good trail. But chilly on the top. Water falls are amazing.

hiking
rocky
2 days ago

hiking
2 days ago

Overall great hike on the 8.8 mile loop. Total time of ~7 hours with moving time of ~6 hours. Started up toward the hut and Mt. Lafayette and thought the route was overall strenuous but manageable. Would totally recommend, the views on the ridge were absolutely tremendous. Great day trip but make sure to bring enough water and some lunch!

hiking
2 days ago

I hiked down this trail after going up the Falling Water trail. I chose to do it this way because it was a shorter distance to the top and then a more gradual incline to Lafayette. The three peaks are all awesome and worth seeing. Check out my full trip report along with some things to look out for. eastcoasthiker.com/trails/lafayette

hiking
3 days ago

Up Falling Waters to little haystack, Lincoln, and Lafayette. Then down Old bridle path

hiking
rocky
3 days ago

hiking
rocky
4 days ago

I’ve been hiking this trail for almost 30 years and I have never seen it so busy! Having said that, still my favorite trail in the East. Had my German Sheppard with me and he did great. Had to help him in one section but other than that he never even seemed phased. Didn’t need to break out the booties.

hiking
4 days ago

Best hike in the east I have ever done. Beats anything at the smokeys. So we did this hike with a 3 and 6 years old, had one carrier hiking bag. Took us 11 hours but we did it. No switch back, just straight up on rocks. Kids were "rock climbing". Our kids were the only little ones up there. The waterfall on the way up was awesome. Loved the views from ridge to ridge, feels more like out west and actually on top of a mountain with no trees. Hut was a nice break on the way down. Few times I felt defeated with 40 precious lbs on my back but I would do it again as it was worth it.

hiking
5 days ago

Did this with my 75lb lab. I had to lift him two times on this loop. Definitely need protection for dogs feet either wax or boots if not used to the rocks. I brought a gallon and 2 liters of water for us and we went through it no problem. Would not suggest bringing a dog that isn’t used to rough steep trails. With that said this is my favorite hike in the northeast so far. Views are unreal. Will hike again.

hiking
rocky
6 days ago

amazing views!

hiking
6 days ago

It was a great day for a hike! I loved hiking up Falling Waters and all the waterfalls. (I’m such a sucker for a waterfall!) Be expected to cross periodically. As it had rained the night before, a lot of the trail was wet which made walking on rocks slippery. We did have piles which helped. Walking along the ridge gave us some spectacular views. We enjoyed a nice stop at the Greenleaf Hut. Two warnings: We came across a lot of unleasehed dogs despite signs. One didn’t even have the owners nearby. Bring water! There was a boy on trail with dehydration and an EMT was called. It’s a long hike and several liters per person are needed.

hiking
bugs
no shade
rocky
6 days ago

One of my most favorite hikes ever. I’ve done this and others around this ridge several times and it never disappoints. The description is very accurate. You will be hard pressed to find better views in New England!!!

hiking
rocky
7 days ago

My boyfriend and I completed this hike today! It took us 8 hours, including generous breaks at the top for lunch. It’s a bit steep going up, but so worth the views. The descent was a bit slick today because of the rain earlier, but not too bad. Definitely recommend for anyone up for a challenging hike with great views.

hiking
muddy
rocky
scramble
7 days ago

A bit wet in places and overcast but still a great hike. My wife, dog and I completed in just under 6 1/2 with a breather at the Hut. Tough going down with the rocks for sure. Going up Falling Waters is the way to go if it’s the least bit slick. Well worth the effort!

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