As the Interpretive Ranger stationed at the Hiker’s Cabin in Franconia Notch State Park, I provide hundreds of visitors with information about our trails, attractions and wildlife each week. While talking to a couple of hikers about moderate trails with beautiful views, I realized that Mt. Pemigewasset is often overlooked. This moderate, 3.3 mile out and back trail is rumored to be easier than Lonesome Lake and offer spectacular views of the surrounding mountains. However despite all of this, I struggled to find more than a handful of Franconia Notch State Park staff or visitors who had actually done it themselves. Intrigued, I decided to experience the trail myself.
After work on a Saturday afternoon, I began my adventure! Leaving the Lafayette Place Campground, I headed south for 2 miles and took Exit 34A to the Flume Gorge. Parking for this trail is located in the north portion of the parking lot near the Recreation Path (Warning! Cars can’t be left here overnight!). After walking on the Recreation Path for a few minutes, I found myself at the trailhead.
From the trailhead, the path crosses under the interstate via two tunnels before beginning its climb. Keep an eye out for the blue trail blazes on rocks and trees to find your way.
The trail features stone stairs, bridges and numerous switchbacks to keep your mind and body active on the way to the top. When you aren’t concentrating on your footing, take a moment to look around! Although most of the hike occurs in the forest, there is still a lot to see including flowers, fungus, chipmunks, water and even funny looking trees.
This gradual climb continued for 1.5 miles before I arrived at the summit. I knew I must be getting close when it got cooler and it started to smell like Christmas trees. After an hour and 15 minutes, I emerged from the treeline onto the summit of Mt. Pemigewasset! The views were breathtaking! I thought this was an amazing hike and would definitely recommend it to those looking for a moderate trail, good views and adventure. If you have any questions about this trail or any other, feel free to stop by the Hiker Cabin in Lafayette Place Campground and ask me!