Perfect morning on the ridge

Peak Summited2021 Mount Lincoln
Type of HikeDay hike
TrailheadLafayette Place Trailhead
Road ConditionsRoad suitable for all vehicles
Bug StatusNo bugs
Snow ConditionsIntermittent snow - not hard to cross
Trail ConditionsTrail in good condition

Franconia Range is range located in White Mountains of New Hampshire near town of Lincoln (and pretty much in my backyard, since is only short 10 mins ride from my place). Franconia Ridge is prominent ridge that forms backbone of the range, stringing together all of it's major summits. Franconia Ridge trail runs along the ridge and it's one of the most scenic trails in the country offering breathtaking 360 degree views on surrounding mountains, lakes and forest. This trail is also dubbed as one of the best trails in the world by National Geographic magazine (https://www.nationalgeographic.com/adventure/article/worlds-best-hikes-dream-trails).

I did section between Little Haystack and Mt. Lafayette, bagging Mt. Lincoln along the way. I started at Lafayette Place trailhead and took Falling Waters trail to the summit of Little Haystack. After that I rode Franconia Ridge trail over Mt. Lincoln to Mt. Lafayette. From the summit of Mt. Lafayette I hiked down on Old Bridle path and Greenleaf trail.

Weather forecast called for beautiful day so I started pretty early, around 5 am to avoid crowds on very popular trail and hike out before trails get too soft. Falling Waters trail was pretty solid and icy on the spots. Couple of beautiful waterfalls (Stairs falls and Cloudland falls) were covered in snow and icy, plus I hiked in the dark so it didn't matter. I reached summit of Little Haystack just little after the sunrise. It was windless and in high 20's so I was able to sit down and soak in great views. After this short break I continued along the ridge and reached Mt. Lincoln and after that Mt. Lafayette. From the later summit I hiked down to AMC Greenleaf trail. Here I decided to deviate from most common path down (Old Bridle path) and took Greenleaf trail down to the highway. After reaching the Greenleaf trailhead I took Franconia Recreational path and Pemi trail to get back to my car.

Trail conditions were fairly good. Trails were pretty well pack down and solid with some icy spots. On the ridge, there was a lot of bare stretches. I used microspikes all the way, although, I had snowshoes, just in case. Greenleaf trail was in little bit worse condition, since is less traveled, so trail wasn't as packed as other ones, but still solid enough to support my weight, so I didn't have to use snowshoes.

Whole hike was just bit under 11 miles and with 4000 ft of elevation gain. I took bit over 5:30 hours to finish whole hike (moving time 4:45 hours).

This was one of the best days I had on the ridge in a while. I am truly grateful to live in the Whites and so close to all these amazing trails.



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