Hiking Project Logo

Kinsman Ridge Trail

Difficult
 4.0 (6)

This 15 mile ridge trail begins from the Kancamagus Highway and ends at the bottom of Cannon Mountain by I-93.


Your Rating:      Clear Rating
Your Difficulty:
Your Favorites: Add to Favorites · Your List
Zoom in to see details
Map Key

15.1

Miles

24.3

KM

Point to Point

4,334' 1,321 m

High

1,931' 589 m

Low

5,853' 1,784 m

Up

5,800' 1,768 m

Down

15%

Avg Grade (8°)

61%

Max Grade (31°)

Dogs Leashed

Features Fall Colors · Lake · River/Creek · Views

During the winter months, the section of the Kinsman Ridge Trail between Kinsman Pond and Cannon Mountain can be quite difficult to follow due to few trail blazes and many downed trees.

Description

A good portion of the Kinsman Ridge Trail is along the Appalachian Trail. Climbing moderately from the Kancamagus Highway, you reach the small peak of Mount Wolf (3500 ft) after about 4 miles. This first part of the trail brings moderate-to-difficult grades ranging from 2-30%. From the top of Mount Wolf, prepare to descend just under 1000 feet through beautiful dense woodlands. Roughly 2.8 miles later, the trail reaches the Eliza Brook Shelter. After reaching the shelter, get ready for a shockingly steep ascent up to the South Peak of Kinsman Mountain. The South Peak is exposed and has great views of the Franconia Ridge, Moosilauke, and Vermont on clear days.

Following the trail down the side of the South Peak, you enter a wooded area that winds along the side of the North Peak of Kinsman Mountain, which is roughly 65 feet smaller than its sister. The ascent up to the North Peak is moderately steep, both up and then down toward the Kinsman Pond Shelter. From the top of the North Peak, there is a pronounced rock ledge that faces Franconia Ridge, offering an excellent view of Lafayette, Lincoln, Liberty, and Flume.

After descending and reaching the trail juncture, the Appalachian Trail continues along the Fishin' Jimmy Trail while the Kinsman Ridge Trail continues north toward Cannon Mountain. This section of the trail is densely wooded at times, and in the winter it's filled with snow and tough patches. The traverse begins with a steep ascent up to a 3,812 foot nameless peak, which is highly windblown and contains many downed trees. The trail then descends steady grades, dropping roughly 300 vertical feet and continues in a narrow fashion.

The Kinsman Ridge Trail continues through more wooded areas and traverses across the Cannon Balls toward Cannon Mountain. The trail reaches a low point at 3288 feet before continuing up a very steep grade until merging with the Lonesome Lake Trail at 3,750 feet. The trail then drops 300 vertical feet to the base of Cannon Mountain, where it climbs at extreme grades (reaching 60% at times) until hitting the juncture with the Hi-Cannon Trail.

From here the summit of Cannon Mountain is just 0.4 miles, at which point you can climb a tower that offers you an amazing, 360-degree view of the surrounding area. Just below the tower is the summit lift for Cannon Mountain Ski Area and the Aerial Tramway Station.

From here, the trail descends on the other side of Cannon Mountain, along the path for the Aerial Tramway, to reach the southbound side of I-93 and the trail's end.

Flora & Fauna

Experience this area in the autumn to see its hardwood forests erupt in fiery fall color.

Contacts

Shared By:

Tchelsea Grenfell

Trail Ratings

  4.0 from 6 votes

#7795

Overall
  4.0 from 6 votes
5 Star
17%
4 Star
67%
3 Star
17%
2 Star
0%
1 Star
0%
Trail Rankings

#178

in New Hampshire

#7,795

Overall
442 Views Last Month
10,014 Since May 24, 2016
Difficult

0%
0%
14%
0%
71%
14%

Photos

Boots and views.
Sep 5, 2016 near Franconia, NH
From the top of Cannon Mountain.
May 24, 2016 near Franconia, NH
Panoramic view from the ledge on North Kinsman.
Apr 25, 2017 near Franconia, NH
The view of North Kinsman Peak and Kinsman Pond below from South Kinsman Peak.
Apr 25, 2017 near Franconia, NH
View of Echo Lake.
Sep 5, 2016 near Franconia, NH
The view of Franconia Ridge from Cannon Mountain.
Apr 25, 2017 near Franconia, NH

Weather


Current Trail Conditions

Update Conditions
Unknown See History
Add Your Check-In

Check-Ins

Jun 13, 2020
Consuelo Valdes
Aug 18, 2019
Eric Taverna
up to cannon summit
May 31, 2019
Sarah Caldwell
The rocks were very wet. Be sure to take the scramble slowly to avoid injury and fall blue trail markers! Overall great and easy 4000 ft to accomplish 4.9mi
Jul 8, 2018
Wenjun Song
Jun 8, 2017
Aleksandar Petakov
Apr 23, 2017
Tchelsea Grenfell
9.9mi
Sep 4, 2016
Ashley Paradis
Jun 25, 2015
Aleksandar Petakov
From Lonesome lake to Cannon Mountain