To celebrate the first day of the year, Moose and Teton headed out to hike the famous Franconia Ridge. Located on the western side of White Mountain National Forest in Franconia Notch State Park in New Hampshire, this is one of the premier treks in the Whites boasting unbelievable views and spectacular ridgeline exposure.
The best part about hiking Franconia Ridge is its easy access, a perfect 9.8 mile loop exists from one parking lot. Prepared for a full day of hiking, we arrived at Lafayette Place, the trailhead parking lot. We put on our gear and headed up the Falling Waters Trail. This 3.2 mile ascent follows a frozen stream up the mountain side. It crosses paths with many beautiful waterfalls (hence the name), all of which were entirely frozen over in magnificent fashion.
Once we broke tree line, it was a short scoot to the top of our first mountain, Little Haystack (4,780 ft.). From there we headed north on the Franconia Ridge Trail towards Mt. Lincoln (5, 089 ft.). This is where the trail comes to life, entirely exposed with unbelievable views all around!
At the top of Mt. Lincoln we paused for a snack before continuing the final .9 miles to Mt. Lafayette (5,261 ft.)
After summiting the final mountain on our route we headed down off the mountainside towards the Greenleaf Hut via the Greenleaf Trail.
Happy to have successfully made it across the ridge we took a break for water and snacks at the Greenleaf Hut. We then joined up with our final path home, the Old Bridle Path. This trail offers spectacular views of Franconia Ridge as you descend.
We headed out on this hike with every intention of overnighting, but with only 2.9 miles left and plenty of daylight it seemed a little silly to stay out in the cold. Our decision to hike out was sealed once we struggled to find a sufficient spot to set up camp.