Kinsman Ridge Trail
ElevationAscent: 5,853' 1,784 m
Descent: -5,800' -1,768 m
High: 4,334' 1,321 m
Low: 1,931' 589 m
GradeAvg Grade: 15% (8°)
Max Grade: 61% (31°)
Current trail conditions
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“This 15 mile ridge trail begins from the Kancamagus Highway and ends at the bottom of Cannon Mountain by I-93.”— Tchelsea Grenfell
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.
Land Manager: USFS - White Mountain National Forest Office