Franconia Ridge Loop

 48 votes

8.6 Miles 13.8 Kilometers


100%

Singletrack

3,705' 1,129 m

Ascent

-3,717' -1,133 m

Descent

5,227' 1,593 m

High

1,802' 549 m

Low

16%

Avg Grade (9°)

73%

Max Grade (36°)

All Clear

14 hours agoUpdate

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

Francis Fontaine

Overview

**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.
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!
Features: Fall Colors — River/Creek — Views — Waterfall — Wildflowers
Dogs: Leashed

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.

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4.9 from 48 votes


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Your Check-Ins

Check-Ins

Sep 17, 2017
Asia Korecka
9mi
Sep 9, 2017
Olivia Salamy
awesome!! fog came and went... beautiful hike and not too intense 8.6mi
Sep 7, 2017
Ben Patrick
8.4mi
Aug 30, 2017
U.Shankar Bandi
Challenging climb with awesome views above the tree line. 8.8mi
Aug 26, 2017
Zachary Deziel
Aug 25, 2017
Brent Millichap
Unreal hike.. brought my mom and brother out and we had a killer day! Defiantly a work out and worth it if your anywhere in driving distance! Enjoy! 11.5mi
Aug 14, 2017
Trevor Marburger
9mi
Aug 10, 2017
Landon Crawford

Trail Ratings

  4.9 from 48 votes

#4

Overall
  4.9 from 48 votes
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Rankings

#4

Overall
3,133 Views Last Month
16,354 Since Mar 21, 2015
Intermediate/Difficult Intermediate/Difficult

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Conditions


All Clear 14 hours ago
Dry, Muddy, Snowy, Mostly Dry, Some Mud
Update ConditionsHistory

Getting forecast...

One of my all time favorite hikes! This is an article my girlfriend & I wrote up along with our photos - timetoclimb.com/hiking/hiki... Jun 25, 2017


what is the average time to complete the loop? is there any recommendations for campsite? Jul 3, 2017


Beautiful Hike yesterday the view is 360 degrees,stayed at Greenleaf Hut last night and traversed down today July 24,2017 Jul 24, 2017


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