Pets allowed
Elevation Gain
3,963.00 ft (1,207.92 m)
Trail type
9.50 mi (15.29 km)
Please respect the outdoors by practicing Leave No Trace. Learn more about how to apply the principles of Leave No Trace on your next outdoor adventure here.

Nestled just outside Lincoln, beneath the watchful gaze of the once-famed but now-fallen Old Man On The Mountain, lies the trailhead to an adventure you will want to experience - the Franconia Ridge Loop. This hike, often overlooked but genuinely captivating, showcases steep trails, exhilarating rock scrambles, airy ledges, lush forests, thundering waterfalls, and an expansive, exposed ridgeline. Within its 9.5-mile loop, a world of natural wonder awaits, ready to be conquered in a few challenging hours for the average hiker or savored over a leisurely paced day. Prepare yourself for an unforgettable journey!

Parking for the day is conveniently available at the Lafayette Place parking lot. For those seeking an extended stay in the White Mountains, Lafayette Place presents a sprawling, fully-equipped campground that boasts modern conveniences such as toilets, showers, crackling fire pits, and a well-stocked general store for those last-minute necessities.

Embarking on this adventure is a mere quarter-mile stroll from the campground, opposite Styles Bridges Highway. Early on, hikers will encounter a fork in the trail, where Odd Bridle Path and Falling Waters Trail converge. Opting for either route leads to the same breathtaking ridgeline. The choice between Old Bridle Path to the left, which leads to the ACC Hut in a matter of miles, or Falling Waters Trail to the right, presents hikers with a forested ascent and a thrilling stretch with numerous cascades, culminating in a punchy rock scramble just before emerging above the treeline.

Once on the ridgeline, an array of peaks awaits your exploration. The journey leads to the summits of both Mount Lincoln and Mount Lafayette, characterized by their striking exposure. Here, shade is scarce for miles, and water sources are even lower. In the summer, be prepared for the tenacity of Black Flies, impervious to typical repellents. Consider packing a bug net to shield yourself from their persistence.
Amidst the exposure and the tiny tormentors, Franconia Ridge unfolds some of the most awe-inspiring vistas the White Mountains offer. Keen eyes can spot renowned peaks within the 360-degree panorama. Gazing westward, the immense rocky face of Lower Cannon Mountain stands as a tribute to the former sentinel - the Old Man On The Mountain - who once vigilantly observed the valley below.

Unearth the essence of adventure on the Franconia Ridge Loop Hike, where untamed nature and panoramic grandeur merge to create an experience that will etch itself into your memory.



Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)




Parking Pass

Day use fee

Open Year-round



Amazing views. Vistas. Steep trails. Water falls. Dense forests. AAC Hut.


Black fly season. Direct sun exposure while on the ridge.

Trailhead Elevation

1,797.00 ft (547.73 m)

Highest point

5,240.00 ft (1,597.15 m)


Near lake or river
Vault toilet
Big vistas
Geologically significant
Bird watching
Old-growth forest

Typically multi-day


Permit required



Nearby Lodging + Camping


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