Explore the most popular forest trails near Franconia with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

Hiked this loop today counter clockwise. The Falling Waters Trail is as beautiful as ever. The snow and ice are almost completely gone, and no traction devices were needed. The Ridge Trail was a little windy, blowing from the west at about 40 MPH. The views from all 3 summits are breathtaking, with Lafayette the jewel in that crown. Highly recommended, but do your research first. This is known as one of the toughest day hikes in the Whites, and for very good reasons.

Absolutely love this hike! In March/ April we definitely needed micro spikes due to snow and ice, but when we did it again in May, the weather was wonderful.

We hiked up on the Falling Waters trail and across the ridge. Of course we had to stop at the Greenleaf Hut on the way down. The facilities were clean and everyone was friendly.

The view from the top was STUNNING. If you’re anything like me and never want to leave the top, I suggest bringing a headlamp for your journey down. We stayed on top of he mountain so long we had to race the sun. No one wins in a race with the sun.

15/10 would do this again and again. One of my favorites.

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.
http://www.eastcoasthiker.com/trails/lafayette

very short and a little steep! it’s pretty much a rock staircase most of the way up! beautiful views of cannon and echo lake! my pup did great, even though it’s a little bit of a rocky scramble!

hiking
5 days ago

Beautiful piece of trail and picked a perfect day to do it. Would never do it in bad conditions (way too exposed). Trail conditions now are pretty good but watch out for slippery slabs. I would strongly recommend that if the weather is good, take the detour to lonesome lake, a really good place for bird watching.

hiking
7 days ago

Beautiful hike. Some steeper sections but generally an easy grade. Had some blow down damage but was able to walk around. Didn’t quite make the summit due to icy snow melting. So we didn’t experience the vistas. We passed two other couples who experienced the same. Still a lovely hike.

Hands down my favorite hike in the Whites. Beautiful views from above the clouds on the ridge.

Hiked this in the first week of May. Definitely the prettiest hike I’ve done in the northeast. Highly recommend. Spikes were helpful on the ascent and descent.

Great hike. Just hiked the loop. There's still snow on the trail up to Little Haystack. Spikes would have been helpful. Some snow also on the way down the mountain after the Greenleaf Hut. Great day for a hike and will definitely do it again!

Hard trail for a first hike so this really feels good and challenging! Our only mistake I guess is we hiked up the falling water trail and hiked down the old bridle path which is very steep and slippery going down. That caused some hematoma on my big toenail but hey, it was worth it!

hiking
17 days ago

Between the waterfalls and the ridge it was an easy to rate this 5 star...awesome. Be prepared for winter conditions during the spring months. Check out my write up along with some other things to look out for.
http://www.eastcoasthiker.com/trails/lafayette

very difficult but so worth it

on April 28 2018 My daughter 22, her husband 27, and myself 52 left the trail head parking lot at 11:15 in a light rain We hiked up the old bridle path to the Greenleaf hut. hut . We had snacks and continued on to the summit . The Sun came out of the clouds right as we summitted . We had the right gear in case the weather changed, so we decided to go for the traverse. It was truly spectacular. We went down the falling waters trail which was steep and a mixture of packed snow and Ice. We got back to our car at 7:30 . So it took us about 8 hrs round trip. I would definitely recommend you pack the right gear. we saw many people in jeans and sneakers with no extra gear.
It is still winter on those mountains . I would strongly recommend crampons or shoe spikes like yaktrax, the snow is so packed and slick in areas that falls are likely. Also if you are sliding down the trail on your butt. be careful. i lost control and hit a tree I was lucky that all I received was a bruised rib. There is probably 5 feet of snow base at the hut . About 1/2 hour before we got to the car it started to pour rain. I would strongly suggest hiking up the old bridle path and down the falling waters. Be aware that you do 5 water crossings when you hike the Falling waters trail. these are becoming more dangerous right now because the melting snow is making the streams rage.

I can never get enough of this loop - it's fantastic from the middle of winter to the middle of summer!

Great view at the top. Very steep climb, trekking poles and micro spikes were VERY helpful. When I went last month the snow was 3-4 feet deep (off trail) and the trails were packed snow/ icy. Would hike it again once the snow melts.

Short, easy walk on paved path to Profile Lake. Great views and a really nice monument paying tribute to the “Old Man” and where he resided.

Hiked this last fall with a friend - a little bit icy towards the top, but overall a fantastic experience and great views! Miss New England

hiking
1 month ago

We hiked the ridge loop yesterday, starting up little haystack and ending with Lafayette. The weather was great! The whole trail had a layer of snow, nothing too deep but spikes were a huge help. We did the loop in about 5 hours with a few breaks.

Amazing views, and easily accessible right off Route 93. We took our time for pictures and snack breakd and made a full day of it, 8:30-6ish, but more motivated climbers would be able to this in far less time. Do this hike!

Nice hike, we did this in about 4-5 hours late September 2017. The trail was in good condition and easy to follow. The ridge part is great. This can be a longer day hike if you do a bigger loop including mount Flume (start with mount flume) and walking down the valley back to your car.

Nice hike, we did this in about 4-5 hours late September 2017. The trail was in good condition and easy to follow. The ridge part is great. This can be a longer day hike if you do a bigger loop including mount Flume (start with mount flume) and walking down the valley back to your car.

I did this hike in mid-April 2018 in winter conditions. Spikes are a must. The trail is difficult. We ascended via Falling Waters. There are stream crossings, so wear waterproof boots. Near the summit, the trail becomes especially steep. Views from the summit are spectacular, my favorite in the Whites. We encountered high wind gusts and freezing rain as we crossed the range. Thankfully we had goggles, and these saved the day. What is special about this hike is that you keep these beautiful views across the whole range and as you descend via Greenleaf trail. I can’t recommend this hike enough.

hiking
1 month ago

Great trail with great views of Echo Lake and Cannon ski trails. Trail is still icy in parts, made the descent somewhat tricky. Wouldn’t attempt again for a few weeks until the ice is clear.

One of the best and most memorable hikes I’ve done.

hiking
1 month ago

Definitely recommend doing the short, but steep hike up to Bald Mountain. Adds a little bit of distance and a lot of elevation, but worth the work. I recommend spikes on the loop. Hiked this today and the trail conditions vary all around...snow, then ice, then mud, then ice covered in snow. I'm sure this will continue the next couple weeks as the weather warms up, so just use caution.

Fabulous! Would happily do it again!

Went in really late at 3 PM. Summit at 6 PM. Parking lot at 8PM. The wind at the top was very strong. Good views. Bring spikes.

One of the most difficult day hikes I've done in my life. Particularly loved the section on the Franconia Ridge Trail. I was glad to have ascended on Falling Waters.

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