I was lucky enough to grow up exploring the mountain ranges and gorges of the Franconia Notch State Park and I along with its estimated hikers per day have totally fallen in love with the famous Franconia Ridge Loop Trail. One of my favorite things about this hike is that it is truly a labor of love and doable for cautious and prepared hikers of all levels. All you need is a little determination and willpower — oh, and snacks, definitely bring the snacks. This means packing out all of your garbage, being respectful to others on busy trails, and following the established rules.
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Commonly called the Recreation Path, the 8. The paved path roughly follows I through the pass. Heading south from the Skookumchuck trailhead, the spectacular views of peaks and forests will remind you that the Notch is indeed a mountain pass between the Kinsman and Franconia Ranges. The elevation changes are also a reminder, as the trail gains about feet to the foot of Cannon Mountain, then drops feet to the terminus at Mt. Pemigewasset trailhead. As satisfying as it will be to descend the hills you crest, observe the mile-per-hour speed limit on the trail.
The main attractions are marked with walking-only signs for trail users, and they are wheelchair accessible. The route is often shaded as you reach these locations, thanks to the steep mountainsides and trees lining the path.
Bring your camera because, in addition to the major sites along the route, you soon will be treated to dazzling vistas at the Sunset Bridge.
The trail follows the lake 0. Although it detached from the cliff face back in , the park has provided informative signage and a viewing platform that re-creates the appearance of the stone face on the cliff for visitors. The trail heads mostly downhill for the next 3. The final 2 miles take you to the cascading waters and granite walls of the iconic Flume Gorge and Visitor Center before delivering you to the end of the path at the Mt.
Pemigewasset trailhead and parking lot. Bike rentals and shuttles are available at the Tramway. To reach the Mt. The trail starts at the north end. Have anything to add about this trail?
Best Trails in Franconia Notch State Park
But those days are far and few between which ups the difficulty and potential peril of this hike. The hard part of a Franconia Ridge Traverse is getting up to the ridge because it involves several thousand feet of elevation gain over very challenging and rocky trails. Doing all the peaks in one day can also be challenging because a full traverse makes a very long loop hike about 16 miles or requires multiple car spots at the beginning and end of your route. The advantage of climbing from south to north is that the route is protected from bad weather by tree cover until just before Mt Lincoln, giving you the option to climb Mt Flume and Mt Liberty in less than perfect weather, before committing to hike Lincoln and Lafayette which are above-treeline peaks. Water is also available from a spring just three tenths of a mile below the Liberty summit, so you can refill your water bottles before heading above treeline. The Old Bridge Path climbs over a series of humps called the Agonies.
Trail Maps and Information
Commonly called the Recreation Path, the 8. The paved path roughly follows I through the pass. Heading south from the Skookumchuck trailhead, the spectacular views of peaks and forests will remind you that the Notch is indeed a mountain pass between the Kinsman and Franconia Ranges. The elevation changes are also a reminder, as the trail gains about feet to the foot of Cannon Mountain, then drops feet to the terminus at Mt.
Mount Lafayette and Franconia Ridge Trail Loop
Trail Guide: Franconia Ridge Loop in the White Mountains