Mount Lafayette via Skookumchuck Trail
This is a moderately difficult out and back trail to Mount Lafayette in White Mountain National Forest.
This trail goes by North Lafayette.
Ample parking is available on Rte 3, Twin Mountain exit off Rte 93 north. This is also the northern terminus of the Pemi Bike Trail.
The trail leaves from the north end of the parking lot, paralleling the highway for the first mile or so until it turns and starts uphill alongside the brook. Footing is a mix of rocks, roots, and dirt, often quite damp or muddy. The trail climbs alongside the brook for another .8 mile before turning away and beginning a steeper climb on a series of rock steps, over 100! The trail moderates a bit and heads into a more open pleasant woods, rocky at times with more steps, and with a few smoother, softer sections. Some views to the north can be found before the trail bears right and begins a long traverse below the Garfield Ridge. The trail turns uphill again and becomes steeper and rougher, with some ledges that often are damp from seepage. There is one spot where the ledge is chest high and drops sharply, but there is a by-pass to the right if the rock is icy or wet. From that point it is fairly moderate going until you come out of treeline and intersect with the Garfield Ridge Trail. Head south to North Lafayette, which is sparsely marked with white blazes (Appalachian Trail) and some cairns. From North Lafayette the trail drops into an open col, then climbs gradually to the summit of Mt. Lafayette. The time shown for the hike is accurate for a pace of 1.7mph.
If you do a car spot at the Falling Waters or Cannon Tramway lots you can do a loop by descending the Greenleaf Trail to the Greeleaf Hut, which is open seasonally. From the hut take the Greenleaf trail back to the tram lot, or the Old Bridle Path back to the Falling Waters lot.
This would be a tough hike for young children, due to the amount of elevation gain and the roughness of the trail. Experienced young hikers who have done some of the higher 4000 footers in the White Mountains would be fine.
I don't recommend it otherwise for children under 10.
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