As the Interpretive Ranger at FNSP I also staff the Hiker Information Cabin at Lafayette Place Campground. I talk to hikers about lots of things. You can imagine…hiker stuff like routes, estimated times, safety, weather, water, maps and, of course, the location of the restroom.

A really popular hike leaving right from Lafayette Place is a loop along the Franconia Ridge which combines Little Haystack (4840 feet), Mount Lincoln (5089 feet) and Mount Lafayette (5260 feet). It’s popular for good reason too! It includes the three most notable summits of the Franconia Range. To start hikers often begin with the Falling Waters trail, which includes a few brook crossings and can be slippery so it’s better to ascend than descend on. This trail leads to the summit of Little Haystack. Then continue north along the Franconia Ridge Trail – were you’re above tree line (for nearly 2 miles!) summiting Lincoln and then Lafayette. Descending from Lafayette via Greenleaf Trail to the Greenleaf AMC Hut and then the remaining via Old Bridle Path. This challenging 8.9 mile hike offers beautiful waterfalls and fantastic views from the ridge. But anyway that’s actually not the hike I want to talk about here. You can tell I talk about it often, huh? Even when I don’t intend to I do!

Another loop hike on the Franconia Ridge Trail combines Mount Flume (4328 feet) and Mount Liberty (4459 feet). I recently did this hike for the first time and I’m eager to share! I climbed up the Flume Slide Trail. Here I mean climb literally…you must use your hands to climb up parts of the steep rock face. Please note: guide books are correct…this route is definitely not suitable for descent.

I assure you it’s steep…why can’t photos capture it?

Then summiting Mount Flume. From there across the ridge and below tree line again to Mount Liberty. Both mountains offer a fantastic view from the summit. I could even spot the Hiker Information Center from the peek of Liberty! Had lunch in the sun on the rocky top of Liberty.

A great view of Cannon Cliffs
A great view of Cannon Cliffs

Then I descended from Liberty via the Liberty Springs trail. It was a tough hike but well worth it. I feel so good on the way down I’m nearly bouncing. So there you have it…another remarkable spot to have fun along the Franconia Ridge! Hope to see you in the Notch soon.

By Nicole Juppe, Interpretive Ranger at Franconia Notch State Park

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One thought on “Fun on the Franconia Ridge!

  1. This sounds perfect for my next backpacking adventure with my son! He’s obsessed with climbing 4,000+ footers!

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