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Franconia Ridge Loop

Difficult
 4.9 (146) RECOMMENDED ROUTE

A classic strenuous route that takes all your energy but gives so much in return!


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Map Key

8.3

Miles

13.4

KM

Loop

5,208' 1,587 m

High

1,824' 556 m

Low

3,566' 1,087 m

Up

3,564' 1,086 m

Down

16%

Avg Grade (9°)

78%

Max Grade (38°)

Dogs Leashed

Features Fall Colors · River/Creek · Views · Waterfall · Wildflowers

**Stay on Trail** once you are above treeline, the alpine zone is very fragile and you can kill the plants by simply stepping on them.

Overview

This loop offers everything you can expect. Steep hard rocky terrain, yet superb panoramic views on an exposed ridgeline for a long mile! During the descent, you'll cross several waterfalls.

This is a strenuous and steep trail. You'll want to be in shape for this one!

Need to Know

About 3/4 of the way to the top, you'll get to Greenleaf hut, which is perfect for filling your water bottle with drinkable tap water. The hut also sells things like muffins, candy and coffee. It's a perfect place to eat your lunch.

The hike to the top is really rocky, so please do not use sandals - hiking boots or running shoes are really necessary here. On the summit you are exposed to full weather so bring windstopping clothes.

During the descent you'll follow a river and cross several waterfall so you could bring some water purifier and refill your water bottle there.

Keep to weight to a minimum and yet never ran out of water!

Description

Since it is a loop, you can do it both ways, but I like to start with the Old Bridle Path trail that goes to the summit of Mt. Lafayette. Going this direction offers several advantages, like water refilling and the views seem to be at the right time and place.

I like to split this into three parts, where the first part (4 miles) is the ascent. Start with Old Bridle Path and Greenleaf Trail, from the Franconia Notch Parkway (wich is an AMC Shuttle stop). It's an easy start for the 2 miles and gets much steeper after. You'll get really nice view of Mt. Lafayette. After 2.9 miles you'll arrive at Greenleaf hut. A rest there will be appreciated just before the summit pitch.

The second section is a push between four summits with 360 views for the next mile and a half. Be sure to take a rest at the first summit. Starting early in the morning will assure that you get the full view. You don't want to rush this part. It's a great place to take pictures of the wild.

The last part of the route is 3 miles long and is simply wonderful. It is steeper than the ascent though, be prepared! The trail follows a river and passes several waterfalls. Since I always do this part last, I get the golden sun of the late afternoon blazing through the forest... simply great.

Contacts

Shared By:

Francis Fontaine

Trail Ratings

  4.9 from 146 votes

#2

Overall
  4.9 from 146 votes
5 Star
91%
4 Star
8%
3 Star
1%
2 Star
0%
1 Star
0%
Recommended Route Rankings

#2

Overall
8,013 Views Last Month
113,584 Since Mar 21, 2015
Difficult

0%
1%
4%
1%
92%
3%

Photos

Franconia Ridge
May 25, 2016 near Deerfield, NH
Franconia Ridge Trail.
Apr 14, 2016 near Deerfield, NH
Descending off of Mt. Lafayette.
Mar 25, 2015 near Deerfield, NH
Climbing Falling Waters Trail
Mar 25, 2015 near Lincoln, NH
The summit of Lincoln offers a beautiful view looking south.
Jun 25, 2017 near Deerfield, NH
The summit of Mt. Lafayette looms out of the clouds ahead.
Aug 20, 2016 near Deerfield, NH

Weather


Current Trail Conditions

Update Conditions
All Clear 17 days ago See History
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Check-Ins

Aug 6, 2020
Jeremy Stark
Aug 1, 2020
Yanbo Zhang
Jul 25, 2020
Kelsey Song
5h 45m
Jul 16, 2020
Sandy Kobrock
In the clouds along Ridge, never saw Lafayette. Quite a few people, narrow Trail. Great hike. Did it counterclockwise. Then to Rek Lis Brewing in Bet 8.3mi — 6h 44m
Jul 6, 2020
Ethan Gingerich
Jun 23, 2020
Megan Phillips
8.5mi — 7h 00m
May 28, 2020
Jack Wilson
May 13, 2020
Michael Rinaldi
Super snowy, icy, and windy at the top- but sunny and a blast. 8.7mi — 5h 20m