Franconia Ridge Hike

Franconia Ridge Hike

Franconia Ridge Hike

Franconia Ridge Guide Important Information

Trail Map: Trail Map 1, Trail Map 2
Difficulty: Strenuous due to length and elevation gain
Distance: ~10 Miles
Elevation Gain: 3390 ft

Trail Breakdown
Falling Waters Trail – ~3.2 miles
Franconia Ridge Trail (AT) – ~1.7 miles
Green Leaf Trail – ~1 miles
Old Bridle Path – ~3 miles
Duration – Took Us 8+ hours

mapmyhike stats
Note: The information is just an approximation.

Parking Lot

Parking Lot Coordinates are: 44.1420796,-71.681308699


The Start Of The Journey

falling waters trail forest

The forest was thick and old. The aged trees towers upwards, they were the skyscrapers of the valley. In this forest, the sky vanishes almost completely. The sunlight peers through the cracks illuminating our path. I could see pieces of the blue sky scattered in different places among the trees but that was all they were, pieces. I could hardly make out anything. All the trees were very tight together, like a web of life all around me, only the trail made by man sets them apart.

The scent of the morning dew filled the path. The moisture and wetness of the trail made the air cool and enjoyable. The rustling of the leaves and the sound of the river made it clear that I am very far from civilization. There was always something about nature and its solitude that gave me peace and serenity. Also gave me excitement and anticipation for the adventure that was just around the corner.


Falling Waters Trail

falling waters trail waterfall

The river gathered pieces of wood, leaves and pebbles in its current. The river flows amidst all the confusion of the outside civilized world. It always moves onward, without any hesitation towards its destiny. This river will meet up with the ocean becoming part of something a lot bigger. It is amazing if I look at it like that. I am so far away from home, but in this land surrounded by green leaves, tall trees, clear waters, and my friends, I am home. Exploration is my home.

A white curtain of water can be seen from a far. The water tumbled from one rock to the next creating a thunderous sound. The waterfall flowed from the top to the bottom. It never stopped as if water coming from a bucket pouring down except the bucket never ran out of water. It was beautiful to the eyes and the sound was somewhat calming to the ears. The lush green forest surrounded the waterfall giving more vibrant colors to the landscape that I was admiring so much. I leaned to touch the waterfall. The water was cold to the touch, but I was too excited to even care. I reached in with both of my palms and splashed myself. The tingling sensation of water dripping from my head to my body was surprisingly good for this traveler.

There is something we can learn from nature. The trees stand tall, standing side by side, like a community helping each other. The same thing can be said with the river, billions of droplets of water moving towards one direction, carrying any passengers willing to go on board. Perhaps humanity can become one someday and not separated by pride and indifference.


Little Haystack Mountain

Little Haystack Mountain

It was a world of blue mountains and plant life, out of which a brown serpent of trail road looms onward forever and ever, without a hint of end nor beginning. Little Haystack Mountain was the first viewpoint we reached and it was magnificent. The landscape stretched across the horizon, pumping blood into my veins, filling my body with excitement forever forgotten the strenuous ordeal I went through to get here. Sounds of laughter can be heard coming from my group. They were having fun as I knew they would. Nothing more fun to a hiker than beautiful landscapes of blue serrated mountains over the distance. It was not something we see everyday. It was a view not something we will see anywhere else for that matter.

I dropped my backpack, took off my jacket and marveled at the views before me. I moved from one corner of the mountain to the other with big smile on my face. “I wanted to fly”, that was the thought that reached my mind. I wanted to fly over those ridges, those mountain, feel the wind beneath my wings and fly over everything as if I have dominion over them. I couldn’t but seeing nature in this form was not bad at all. Yup, it was definitely not bad at all.


Mount Lincoln

Mount Lincoln New Hampshire

My stomach growled and my throat was dry; itching for some form of carbonated drink. My body felt heavy as my feet dragged it across the serpent road. I checked my bag earlier and forgot two of my sandwiches for lunch. It was an error I was not accustomed to having but this was the first time I led a group on a trip. I was more worried about them than myself. The road seemed to stretch forever while I would have been more appreciative of its beauty in normal times, my body was too hungry to even form a thought of appreciation.

My love for photography kicked in to save the day. Clouds hovered over the distant mountain and gave a picturesque look. It was as if the clouds were caressing the peak like an adult would pat a child’s head. I took out my phone and clicked as often as I could. I almost forgot that I had to save its battery for the trail map. The hunger was gone, and my body was filled with renewed energy in anticipation of the things to come. It was an eerie sight as if we were from a medieval fantasy novel trekking through unknown land to slay a dragon at the end.

franconia ridge clouds beyond


Mount Lafayette

The clouds were looming over the distance as we were taking pictures on Mount Lafayette. I watched it closely from time to time. It was as if the clouds were a form of a man eating predator, it watched over us, staring at our movements, creeping slowly, prowling underneath the edge of the mountain, waiting to strike. I felt a gust of wind and my skin crawled with fear. I zipped my jacket and looked at the corner of my eye. The white clouds that were once very slow, moved fiercely towards us. It moved faster than a cheetah trying to kill a deer. But in this case, we were the deers.

It was a sight to behold as the clouds engulfed us inside its mouth. It was as if a billion marshmallows formed into one shape or being and it wanted to eat us alive. We were surrounded by white streaks of a big giant fluffy marshmallow. It was not exactly terrifying predator that we would fear but as it blurred our vision and our trail, I knew we should be careful as well. A puff of gray and white clouds enveloped us. How many times in my life would I be able to say that? How many times can I say I was inside or above the clouds? It was not be something I will experience every day. My group closed off their jackets followed the trail straight to the belly of the beast as if they were yelling, “Here I am storm clouds, come and get me. I will bravely go forth inside of you”.

Three words entered my head at that time, “WOW SO COOL!”. It was so cool to experience a force of nature like that. It was because of that experience, that I can still say today that this was one of the best hikes I have ever done.


Mount Lafayette Undercastmount lafayette walking to the cloudsmount lafayette trail downwardsmount lafayette view


Old Bridle Path

old bridle path fall colors overcast

The lush forest of green could be seen about 1000 feet below but I was here before in the fall, the colors were completely different back then. A carpet of gold could be seen from the farthest east to the farthest west. The clouds hovered just above my head as if I could jump up and touched it. Back then, this view was a different monster. It featured one of the best colors of New Hampshire. The vibrant colors of nature was shining at that time and I was in the middle of it.

I could sit on that ledge all day and never get bored. It was the first fall foliage hike I have ever been to and was not prepared for the sights that I saw. It was as if nature knew how to paint and the earth was its canvas. Patches of gold, green and rust below while an eerie white smoke hovers on the top. If nature could take money for its painting, it would have been priceless. It was there for everyone or anyone to see. It could not be owned or claimed by anyone. It was for us to appreciate and enjoy and nature was not asking anything in return. If nature was a living organism that can feel emotions, I wonder if we would be so kind to it instead of just using it to further cultivate food and dump waste materials.

old bridle path sitting downold bridle path fall foliage


Miscellaneous Important Information

Before beginning the hike, be sure to eat lots of breakfast full of carbohydrates since they’re digested most rapidly and are your body’s preferred fuel source. The hike consist of a lot of climbing up or going up the steps. This will take a whole lot of your energy. You will feel it if you do not exercise enough. Small amounts of protein will help stave off hunger during the later miles. You will need a lot of carbs so that you do not feel fatigue, or tired during the hike. Be sure to also bring lunch as giving your body more nutrients will help it perform better.


Taking Pictures

A lot of people over the Internet got really bad pictures. If you want to take amazing pictures, you need to look back. If you are coming from the Falling Waters Trail, looking back will let you see the Franconia Ridge in all of its glory. If you keep taking pictures of the things in front of you, it will still be great but the best pictures come from when looking at the direction of the Little Haystack Mountain.

Franconia Ridge Clear Day


Getting Lost

There are two parts on this hike in which people can easily get lost. One part is at Mount Lafayette. You can easily get lost with the views and magnificence of the Franconia Ridge trail. In this part, if you keep going straight, you will undoubtedly continue going through the Franconia Ridge trail but the way to the parking lot is by going down Mount Lafayette. So keep in mind that you need to go down Mount Lafayette and not continue moving to the ridge trail.

After going down Mount Lafayette, you will reach the Greenleaf hut. In there, you can take a rest, enjoy the views and relieve yourself in one of their bathrooms. After you are done, you will see a couple of signs on where to go. There will be a couple of forks on the road. The correct path to the parking lot is the Old Bridle Path.


Note: The information is just an approximation. Trails, weather, distance, difficulty, views and all other information on this hike can change in time. You are responsible for your own safety. Please look at our terms of use/service page for more information.

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