Mt Lafayette & Franconia Ridge NH


• 5-star hike
• 7.9 mile loop
• Medium difficulty | Gain 3,800 feet
• Franconia, NH | White Mountains
• Driving directions: Trailhead

Certainly! The image presents a panoramic view of a mountainous landscape under a clear blue sky with scattered clouds. In the foreground, there are dense green trees, predominantly conifers, framing the scene. The middle ground reveals rolling hills and valleys with varying shades of green vegetation. In the background, a range of mountains stretches across the horizon with their peaks creating a jagged profile against the sky. The vastness of the view and the contrast between the verdant landscape and blue sky contribute to its beauty and serenity
Looking South along Franconia Ridge towards Mt Lincoln.

New Hampshire 4,000 Footer Mountains Logo
New Hampshire 4,000 Footers
The Trailspotting map of all 4K peaks, and routes to help plan your own adventures.

Combine the huge peaks of Mount Lafayette and Mount Lincoln with the spectacular, wide panoramic views of Franconia Ridge and you have yourself an epic hike, and for some an epic challenge.

We chose a counter-clockwise loop to tackle the steepest part of the route first, and so we’d get the best views of several great waterfalls along the Falling Waters Trail. Stairs Falls leads to Switftwater Falls, then on to the even taller Cloudlands Falls. Though the Falling Waters Trail involves some stream crossings, they’re easy to navigate and though you’ll want to tread carefully the rocks were not slippery. The last part of Falling Waters Trail is the thigh-burner, but you’re quickly rewarded by the satisfaction of reaching the first of three summits – Little Haystack at 4,760 feet.

Mt Lafayette & Franconia Ridge Expand Map
Elevation Profile

Mt Lafayette & Franconia Ridge Loop 5★
7.9 mi loop, Medium, Gain 3,800 ft
Trailspotting Map at AllTrails

Hopefully you’ve picked the right day to hike this trail, because on a clear day you have 360 degree views of the famed New Hampshire White Mountains as you follow the rocky Franconia Ridge first to Mount Lincoln (5,089 ft) then on to Mount Lafayette (5,249 ft). If the weather’s not perfect, then you might like to take shelter in Lafayette’s rock-wall refuge for a reconsitutional break, before the long descent of Greenleaf and Old Bridle Path to complete the loop.

We labeled this hike as medium difficulty because aside from the last part of Falling Waters, the trail elevations gain is relatively gradual. Just as long as you are aware that the total climb on this hike is equivalent to just under four Empire State Buildings! Trail was around 85% to 90% rocks underfoot.

Trailhead is immediately adjacent to the I93 freeway, and because of the popularity of this trail the large parking lot tends to fill up pretty quickly, so an early start is recommended.

Route Summary (counter-clockwise):
• Falling Waters Tr > Franconia Ridge Tr > Greenleaf Tr > Old Bridle Path

On the left, there’s a cascading waterfall surrounded by green foliage with a person in hiking attire standing at the base, looking up towards the waterfall. On the right, there’s a rocky mountain summit with several hikers resting and enjoying the view of a vast landscape under a clear blue sky. Both scenes depict outdoor recreational activities in nature, highlighting the beauty and tranquility of natural environments.
Falling Waters trail | Sheltering atop Mt Lafayette.

The image presents a panoramic view of a mountainous landscape under a clear blue sky with scattered clouds. In the foreground, there are dense green trees, predominantly conifers, framing the scene. The middle ground reveals rolling hills and valleys with varying shades of green vegetation. In the background, a range of mountains stretches across the horizon with their peaks creating a jagged profile against the sky. The vastness of the view and the contrast between the verdant landscape and blue sky contribute to its beauty and serenity.
Looking up at the ridgeline from Old Bridle Path.

Tangents:
• AMC 4,000 Footer List: #6 Mt Lafayette, #7 Mt Lincoln
• Trailspotting: Day Hikes of NH's 4,000 Footers
• Public Maps at AllTrails: Franconia Ridge Trail Loop

More photos, leave a comment:
Facebook Icon Trailspotting Facebook Group

White Mountain National Forest
This trail is part of the 800,000 acre White Mountains managed by the US Forest Service.

New England Summits (Welch Dickey)
New England Summits
Explore mountain-top hikes around New England with Trailspotting.

Rail Trail Map of New England
Rail Trails of New England
The first and only complete rail trail map. With photos, reviews and downloads.
Bluesky Icon   Facebook Icon    Flipboard Icon   Instagram Icon   Mastadon Icon   Reddit Icon   RSS Feed Icon   Threads Icon
Subscribe for new trail reviews weekly

Trailspotting is non-commercial, ad-free and for the public good. Share and enjoy!
Content provided without warranty of accuracy. Copyright © 2005-2024 Stuart Green all rights reserved. Reproduction requires explicit consent.
About Trailspotting.