Mount Lafayette Loop via Falling Waters Trail and Old Bridle Path

21 reviews #46 hike out of 490 in
8.2 mi
Distance
3 hrs 29 min
Time
terrain
3,422 ft
Elev Gain

Overview

Falling Waters Trail:

This is one of the most popular hikes in the White Mountains, complete with waterfalls and a beautiful ridge trail. If you are planning on taking the Falling waters trail up Little Haystack Mountain (the most popular way) the trail starts fairly gradual crossing rivers a few times and passing multiple waterfalls. about 1.5 miles in, the trail becomes moderately steep and remains that way until you reach the summit. about 2.5 up you will reach a trail for Shining Rock, it is .1 miles off the main trail but in the early afternoon it is a amazing spectacle with water constantly flowing down and the suns rays beaming off. after the shining rock split it is about .5 miles to the summit and onto the ridge.

Note: If you take this trail down you will run into many groups of people having to stop and move over every few minuets.

Franconia Ridge Trail:

The ridge goes all the way from Little Haystack Mountain to Mount Lafayette and stopping at Mount Lincoln between the two. from Little Haystack Mountain to Mount Lincoln is .7 miles and gaining 300 vertical feet, with spectacular views on both sides. ascending to Lincoln's Peak is fairly easy surrounded by steep cliff's on either side (but with a wide enough trail for little to no danger) after making it to the top of Mount Lincoln you get your first view of Mount Lafayette which from this perspective looks very prominent. the trail over is 1 mile but very mild. on a clear day you can see Mount Washington which is the tallest mountain in the northeast. halfway across is Mount Truman, it serves little challenge but also has spectacular views. after gaining 240 feet from Mount Truman's peak to Mount Lafayette you have reached the highest point of the climb and the views do not disappoint. This is also the highest point in New Hampshire outside of the Presidential Mountains and the Fifth highest peak in New England. on a clear day you can even see Mount Mansfield.

Old Bridle Path: ascending down this 3.8 mile trail is gradual and full of sights. after 1.1 miles you reach The greenleaf Hut owned by the AMC and a popular place to spend the night for an opportunity to see a once and a lifetime sunrise or sunset. or simply stop in for a meal and cup of coffee. after the hut the remaining 2.7 miles is spend gradually trekking down, with an occasional rock surface to tackle this trail makes a nice and easy decent but does take a couple hours. looking left as the trail cuts in front of the mountains you get a first person view of the entire Franconia ridge from far below, on a clear day this is one of the most breathtaking sights in the whole White mountains. after that viewpoint you head back into the woods for about another mile until you reach back where you stated.

Taking Children

This is a very safe hike for kids, but it is physically demanding. Approaching this way also allows you to turn around early but still enjoy the waterfalls or little haystack peak if the full trek is too much.



    Rate this Hike

    user_profile
    1 month, 2 weeks ago
    Love this hike in all seasons. In the winter I like to go up falling waters because there are a few stream crossings that can be difficult/impassable and you don’t want to have to bushwhack to the highway to get back to your car. If you go falling waters to bridal you can always get back. If you go bridal across the ridge and down falling waters you might struggle a bit based on water levels.
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    user_profile
    1 year, 3 months ago
    This hike is rewarding!
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    user_profile
    2 years, 1 month ago
    Nice high NH peaks with phenomenal views along the majority of the hike.
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    3 months, 3 weeks ago

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Public Tracks

user_profile
fred 1 year, 9 months ago
Lafayette via old bridle path RT
Charlie and I met at Forbes Road, stopped at McDonalds at Exit 20 per Charlie's request, missed Richard by 30 minutes, and chose to avoid Falling Waters Trail due to Charlie's expectation of swollen streams. Richard took Falling Waters and was ahead of us. The temperature was rising through the hike, but the the trail was quite good, no post-holes, good monorail. After Greenleaf Hut, the melting above tree line allowed us to skirt most of the remaining icy patches. Microspikes worked fine all the way, although I carried both snowshoes and crampons. At the Lafayette summit we met hikers who came up Falling Waters without issue. However, Charlie wanted to avoid it going down, so we headed back down to the hut from the summit. The peak was socked in, but clearing was evident on the descent to the hut. Richard caught up to us in the descent above the hut, and we were essentially together on the way down. By the time we reached the parking lot, the temperature was in the late 60s. The day cleared to bright sun, with the ridge open---quite a change from our stay (see pics). A good hike, just above book time..
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rogerhere 3 years, 6 months ago
Lincoln-Lafayette loop - July 3, 2017
Terrific loop hike. Mix of sun and clouds. Strong west winds on Franconia Ridge with temps in the 50s. The water crossings on the Falling Waters trail were manageable, being two days after the extreme rain fall amounts of July 1st.
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Westley 1 year, 2 months ago
Franconia Rigde Traverse
Winter hike of Little Falling Water, Franconia Ridge, and Old Bridel Path. Loop tags the summit of Little Haystack, Mt Lincoln, and Mt Lafayette. Wind speeds of 40mph and gusts of 50+ created well below 0 real feel temps.
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John Newton 4 years, 5 months ago
Franconia Ridge Loop
Created with Scenic, the iOS App for Planning, Navigating and Documenting your (Motorcycle) Trips. Copyright MotoMappers.com
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Michael 4 years, 7 months ago
Franconia Ridge Loop
Amazing weather and awesome views. This is a fun and challenging hike. One of the best views on the AT.
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Ashli 4 years, 7 months ago
Franconia Ridge Loop
Amazing weather and awesome views. This is a fun and challenging hike. One of the best views on the AT.
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ashli 4 years, 7 months ago
Franconia Ridge Loop
Amazing weather and awesome views. This is a fun and challenging hike. One of the best views on the AT.
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Michael 4 years, 7 months ago
Franconia Ridge Loop
Amazing weather and awesome views. This is a fun and challenging hike. One of the best views on the AT.
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MarjWallace 2 years, 5 months ago
Franconia Ridge NH 8/4/18 3:26:32 PM
Haystack, Lincoln and LaFayette with Jim
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Franconia Ridge
Jun 1, 2014 11:00 am
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François Ridge
Jun 1, 2014 11:00 am
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Franconia Ridge
2012-06-30 11:06 am
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Franconia Ridge
2012-06-30 11:06 am
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