Franconia Ridge

Greenleaf Hut and Mount Lafayette

John and I took advantage of beautiful September weather to hike a classic loop in the Franconia Range of the White Mountains (NH).  This 8.8-mile loop climbs from Franconia Notch up the Old Bridle Path to Greenleaf Hut, run by the AMC, then to Mount Lafayette.  The day was warm and the breeze friendly, with just a few puffy clouds brushing the summits as they passed through New Hampshire.  Check the photo gallery.

Although our original goal was simply to summit Lafayette and return, we reached the summit by 12:30 and the southbound ridgeline beckoned to us.

Southbound along Franconia Ridge

We popped south along the ridge, over an unnamed bump and then Mount Lincoln, reaching Little Haystack mountain by about 1:45pm.  We then fell down the Falling Waters trail to our starting point at Lafayette Place.  I’ve always wanted to hike the Falling Waters trail; aptly named, it passes five or ten gorgeous waterfalls in its lower reaches.   However, I learned one painful lesson: one should always hike this steep trail uphill, never downhill!  [My knees were screaming this lesson to me all the way down, and throughout the next day.]

John and David pause at a waterfall

As it was a gorgeous day on a Sunday in early September, there were many other people out on the trail.  I estimate that we passed about 60 other people, most doing the same loop in one direction or another. On the summit of Lafayette we watched one youthful group repeatedly pose for a group photo, pants dropped and butts bared, the photographer using a self-timer so he could join the picture.  Ah, I remember those days 😉

Author: dfkotz

David Kotz is an outdoor enthusiast, traveller, husband, and father of three. He is also a Professor of Computer Science at Dartmouth College.

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