Lonesome Lake: A family friendly hike in Franconia Notch State Park

By: Madelaine Hunt. Franconia Notch State Park Interpretive Ranger

Got a day in Franconia Notch State Park? Head up to Lonesome Lake – one of the most beautiful spots in the park! This is a 3 mile round trip loop on the Lonesome Lake Trail that should take about 3 hours to complete. Be sure to bring water, snacks or lunch, a warm layer, rain gear, sunscreen, map, compass and a bathing suit!  Print the map from the link below.

           Franconia Notch State Park Trail Map

The Lonesome Lake trail head is located at the parking lot in the Lafayette Place Campground. Stop by the Hiker Information cabin to get information on trail conditions and weather before you head up.

The trail starts off relatively flat as you hike through a yellow birch and beech tree forest. You will cross two bridges and tackle some mild rock scrambles along the way. Check out this birch tree at the beginning of the trail!

The trail will begin to steeply ascend, but no worries! There is a switchback that will ease the haul up. Keep in mind, the trail will flatten out once you get closer to the lake.


Once you get to the lake you have the choice of going left or right. For the purposes of this hike, head right in order to enjoy a flat path around the lake.

Check out the plants for meadow-sweet, Labrador tea, Sun Dews and Sheep’s Laurel. The creeks are teeming with lake trout! Did you see them jump out of the water trying to catch flies? The bog bridges are pretty cool too!


Stop in to the AMC Lonesome Lake Hut for a little dose of civilization and cold water from the tap if need be! The platforms just outside the hut are great for a view.

A swim in the lake will sooth any sore muscles from the trek up. Check the water for red spotted salamanders, and check the sky for dragon flies! Have fun!

Stay Tuned… we will be offering a Ponding Program called “Life in the Shallows” for kids of all ages at Lonesome lake every Sunday and Wednesday in the month of August. Our complete program schedule for August will be posted on our Franconia Notch State Park Programs webpage at the end of July! Hope to see you there!


Discover Power of Parks SCA Interpreters

Discover the Power of Parks is presented by New Hampshire State Parks in collaboration with the Student Conservation Association and AmeriCorps and made possible by generous financial support from Eversource. The program offers a look into the natural world through hands-on programming. Interpretive programs focus on connecting participants with nature and building appreciation for New Hampshire's unmatched natural heritage. Programs include guided hikes, interpretive tours, and imaginative environmental workshops for children and families. Programs are offered free to guests with paid park admission fee. No pre-registration is required.

4 thoughts to “Lonesome Lake: A family friendly hike in Franconia Notch State Park”

  1. Standing on the frozen lake in the fog gave it a sense of being in our own little world, our own little Lhasa.

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