Explore the most popular walking 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.

I can see why this hike is a lot of peoples favorite, including mine. Went up falling waters and came down old bridle, Whole loop took me and my Dog 7 hours with long breaks at the peaks. up falling waters trail was moderate in difficulty, my dog a Brittany Spaniel had no problems as he is an experienced hiker. Falling waters really inclines near little haystack. Perfect sunny weather, amazing views at the top really rewards you.

It was my favorite hike I have ever done. The view at the top is beautiful and the falls on the way up are amazing as well. The trail is busier than others I have done in the past but definitely not as trafficked as I was expecting it to be. We did the hike in about 5.5 hours roundtrip but we were definitely moving quickly. I definitely will be doing this hike again!

I loved this trail. It was hard though & I maybe found it more difficult as my last hike was in March so I had muscle soreness for a few days after & bad knees due to a fall. Nothing serious, just tired legs during the last 2 Miles. Amazing views throughout, the waterfalls are stunning. A very busy trail & need to get there early for prime parking. We ended up parking at the shuttle car park off exit 34c, which was fine. Took us 6 hrs 20, I’m in pretty decent shape & not been hiking for a good few months. We went up the falls trail & back on the old bridal path.

Hiked it in the rain today, couldn’t see more than ten feet in front of you up top. I honestly loved it, it wasn’t too hot or too cold, I didn’t find it challenging either. I frequently hike Monadnock and I think that’s a more challenging hike. We did get a bit lost and did 12 miles instead of the 8.5, but it only took us 6.5 hours

7.5 hours, lots of nice hikers. Beautiful views. AMC hut on Bridal Trail a bonus.

hands down my favorite hike I have made to date! absolutely gorgeous. I brought my dog and very quickly regretted it as we ended up having to life him and hoist him up a few rocky parts and he was not at all happy- but lesson learned that he is not as much an adventurer as I believed and from now on I'm doing a hike without him before I ever bring him on one!

other than my personal dog issues- this was certainly challenging and even more rewarding than expected. bring lots and lots of water tho! we did not make it to the hut because of my dog, so we were slipping into dehydration the whole way back down as we anticipated refilling at the hut.

Awesome hike with fun and somewhat challenging terrain, amazing views and beautiful water features. Doable as a day hike but have to be a moderately experienced hiker. Greenleaf Hut seems like a great option for those who want to extend the hike to a two day trip (it’s a lot like the refuges in the alps, complete with food and bunks and friendly folks to chat with). We did it as a day hike in ~7hrs in reverse of this guide (up Old Bridal Trail over the pass and down Falling Waters). Going down Falling Waters was great because it allowed us to take plenty of breaks on the final stretch down and take in all the water views. Bring a good camera to capture the waterfalls and the views.

Highly recommend this loop, so far my absolute favorite day hike in the Whites. Go for it!!

Wow! The views here were perfect. If you bring a hat, watch for the wind at the summit.

This is a great workout on one of the worst maintained trails in the Whites. Nice hard work going up and rather annoying decending with lots of silt. Still, a go-to hike if you're training for bigger climbs. And the view of the ledge on the way up is awesome. Be prepared for numbnuts who have taken the tram to the top and think it would be fun to hike down. I've seen barefoot walkers carrying Uggs and entirely unprepared tourists starting down with the idea that the tram was short, so how hard could it be? Believe me, it's not a fun descent for the inexperienced.

short and sweet. steep in areas but its a short hike so its not bad and view of echo lake is nice. for those who like hiking sticks this is a good trail for one. my son was only 4 and daughter 8. They did it and loved it.

hiking
5 days ago

Maybe I didn’t walk far enough but I walked till the trail ended. This is a Walk not a hike up a mountain. It is virtually 0 grade uphill. I would plan to come and sit on the huge rocks in the creek and enjoy the day, not do this as a hike for fitness etc.

One of the prettiest hikes I’ve ever done. A quintessential northeast hike, should be on everyone’s list. Well worth it.

My husband and I did this as our first hike in New England. Extremely challenging, but very fun. Very crowded day so couldn't see too much, but the ridge walk was a lot of fun and a nice reprieve from falling waters. Definitely start up falling waters. Will do again on a clear day!!

GOOD GRIEF is this trail beautiful. Is it hard? Yes. Did I get about two hours in and start to huff and puff and wish I’d stayed home? I’d be lying if I said I didn’t. But when you clear the tree line and see the ridge that awaits you, it actually does take your breath away. I did this hike without trekking poles (I personally don’t like them) but most people I saw had them, so something to keep in mind. There is also the AMC Greenleaf cabin on your way down— great place to pee and grab something to drink. Bring tons of water and snacks, that’s a given. It took me about 6 1/2 hours with lots of little breaks, but no big ones. Descent is very rocky and slippery in places— hard on the knees. Don’t be afraid to slide on your butt. All in all, this was absolutely gorgeous, exhausting, rewarding, and I’ll be back for more.

Amazing trip with my brother and son (19). Hiked up falling waters to Haystack and camped at Liberty. Day 2 we walked the ridge to Lafayette (Mt Lincoln is just as beautiful) and down Bridal. 13 miles total. It was great to break up the trip in 2 days to enjoy the experience and hike roughly 5 hours per day.
Tip - Liberty Springs campground is 2 miles from Haystack and mostly downhill, which means 2 miles uphill the next day. Check the elevation. There are only 10 campsites, first come first serve and if you get a large platform you might have to share your spot. Cost is $10 per person.
One Love.

Whew!

On our first visit to Mount Lafayette we were greeted by a thunderstorm, strong winds, and cold. We made it to the Greenleaf Hut, then turned back around. We couldn’t wait to do this hike again under better conditions.

Of course on our return it absolutely poured. We once again did the whole hike from the trailhead up the Old Bridle Path to the Greenleaf Hut in the soaking rain. We decided to continue on, and we’re thankful we did. By the time we got to the summit of Mt. Lafayette the rain had stopped and the clouds broke for us. The views were spectacular.

We crossed over the ridge, and the down the Falling Waters trail, but unfortunately the clouds moved back in obstructing some of our views. The waterfalls on the way down the trail were amazing, especially after a rainstorm. There are some really small stream crossings, but we were soaked already so they weren’t that big of a deal. Some people recommended removing shoes and whatnot to do the crossing.

I would recommend doing the Falling Waters section of the hike first if I were to do it again. I would have preferred the steady incline of this section. It’s all personal preference, though.

Perfectly challenging and rewarding hike! I’m in pretty good shape and was able to complete it in 6 hours, with short breaks at each summit. I would not suggest this hike for inexperienced hikers, parts of it are technical. Make sure your hiking boots are waterproof. You have to cross the river and there is water on parts of the path. Overall, it was a great day hike and I would absolutely do it again. Take Falling Water trail up.

hiking
9 days ago

Best views in the park for the effort. A couple of steep grades where my dog needed help but other than that a doable climb. One of my favorites hikes in the notch.

Did this with my 10 and 1 year old in a backpack and it was pretty easy. A little long for the 1 year old, 90 mins up and 60 down. Beautiful view of the brook most of the way up and nice cool breeze. Will definitely be doing it again!

My favorite hike in New England so far. Finished in about 6 hours. Beautiful 360 degree views along the Alpine zone make this difficult hike 100% worth it. Make sure to bring lots of water, snacks, and a jacket. It can get windy along the ridge.

I've done a lot of hikes, which are more than 5000m but I must say that Franconia ridge Trail is one of the most difficult hikes i've done, lots of steep climbing and rocky footpath. It was a amazing hike though! We started late at 2:40 in the afternoon and took us a total of 7 hours. Plenty of food, water and trekking poles are a must.

Came all be way from Pittsburgh PA to do this hike.. we were NOT disappointed by any means. We went up falling waters and down old bridle path, as the reviews told us to do so, and this was for sure the way to go. We started the hike at around 10:30am and ended about 6pm. Bring plenty of food and water! If you run out of water, however, there’s a hut coming down old bridle path that offers free COLD water!!! Also, I don’t know how people hike this trail without trekking poles. We found that poles were a must to get through this rocky trail. The views at the top make it seem like you are in a different country!

Amazing hike with never ending staircases and boulders. Not great visibility on the notch, but lots of fun traveling through the alpine zone. Sun finally came out during our descent down old bridle, and we got to see the ridge line we had just traversed. Bring lots of water, hiking sticks and rain/wind gear. Hopefully your in shape.

Beyond gorgeous views once above the tree line. If you’re planning on doing the entire 8.5 mike loop, and you’re not in shape, be prepared for a long day. Plenty of great opportunities to take beautiful photos of the waterfalls and mountains. Make sure the weather is going to be nice because it’s a lot of climbing to not get the views that make it all worth it.

If you're physically fit, this trail is challenging and beautiful. There is some scrambling across granite slabs and lots of boulders with quick elevation gain.

If you're not in shape, it's going to be very hard. I would recommend that you try hiking just to the first viewpoint, as the viewpoint is breathtakingly beautiful and it is a shorter distance than to the hut or the summit of Lafayette.

I went on a sunny, humid, 92-degree day and suffered heat exhaustion about .4 from the hut. I was so, so disappointed, but made the right choice to turn around once the dizziness, nausea, and stomach cramps set in. This type of thing can happen on any hike on a hot, sunny day, but I just want to remind you that this hike in particular is hard and you need to bring an appropriate amt of water. I had 2 bottles and started well-hydrated, and this wasn't enough. And when I turned around to go back down (looking really ill and uncertain if I could make it), two saints gave me their water, a walking stick, and walked the whole distance down with me. Hikers are just the best people in the world.

One of the best hikes in NH. Not for beginners! Make sure you check high peaks forecast before climbing. There are good views everywhere. Falling Waters trail on the way up has nice waterfalls. The exposed ridge gives you views in all directions. Old bridle path on the way down gives you a chance to stop at the AMC Greenleaf Hut for a rest and refill on water.

Did the loop yesterday starting out with Falling Waters trails as others recommended here (thanks all!) and then onto old bridle. Falling waters trail was slippery and consecutively steeper each hour so I'm glad we started with that. I think it took us 2.5ish hours to get out of the tree line. It reminded me of 4 mile trail in Yosemite but without switchbacks. It was certainly exhausting and a bit monotonous after the waterfalls but we were glad that the ridge for the most part is easy walking for a few hours. The ridge was certainly the highlight of the hike- great sweeping views and being in the clouds. The thing that got us was the downhill on the way back as it was all rocky so we had to watch every step on the way down. We had some slips and falls though it seemed like a lot of other people were flying down the mountain with no problem. 2+ hours of rocky descent was really a bit much especially being in the tree line. At least there were some outlooks after the hut. Speaking of the hut, it's a great place to refill water bottles. We ended up drinking about 4-5 bottles each for the day (80 degrees and cloudy). Start at 9:20am, finished at 5:05pm. 4 stars for the amount of hours we were stuck in the tree line on slippery rocks. 5 stars for the ridge.

I went up and back down old bridle path. Didn't take the loop. Started too lat- around 11AM. Extremely difficult. Definitely wasn't a good choice for a first time hiker. (But do-able!) got back down around 7PM (with lots of short breaks and a 45 minute lunch break.) But can see why more experienced hikers love it. Lots of rocks that were tall that you had to climb up. Was beautiful at the top. Also thank goddess that there was the hut up old bridle to eat/go to the bathroom/refill water bottle/ rest. Would happily do it again once I become more advance. Would also start earlier in the day.

A great trail with a wide variety of things to see. We started out counterclockwise, heading towards Falling waters trail, weaving back and forth across a stream, up fairly steep rocky terrain. Once we got to Little Haystack Mt, the cool breeze and views were fantastic. The ridge walk to Mt Lafayette was magical and fairly technical. The walk back down towards the hut and lot (3.9m) is all downhill and will keep your eyes down at the feet. The trails are marked out well. We took 3L of water for 2 of us and finished it all. Total of 6h45m even with lunch on ridge line.

hiking
14 days ago

We went Bald Mountain first, then Artist's Bluff with three adults (one novice) and a 7-year-old. It was challenging enough to keep my daughter happy (she loved the scramble to Bald Mountain) but not too tough for my wife, who rarely hikes. I would strongly recommend poles for this one, and it's definitely a fair weather hike. Varied topography throughout, some excellent views, and interesting scenery, including a lot of relics from long-gone loggers.

A Favor if you go: My 7-year-old lost a classmate and friend recently, and she built a little memorial to him at the top of Bald Mountain. If you pass that way, please add a stone and send a picture to swordsmith at gmail so she can pass it on to his twin sister.

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