Difference between revisions of "Lafayette & Lincoln (hike)"

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-Steph Crocker '12 & Jen McDonald '11 CnTOR
-Steph Crocker '12 & Jen McDonald '11 CnTOR

Revision as of 18:13, 17 December 2010

Mount Lafayette and Mount Lincoln is a strenuous hike of about 9 miles.


  • Driving Distance: 75 miles
  • Hiking Distance: 9 miles
  • Difficulty Level: Strenuous

Driving Directions

Take 91 North from Hanover, get off at Fairlee and take 25A to 25 to 118 as you would to go to the Lodge. Continue on 118 past the lodge until it ends at 112. Take the right fork to get on to 112 north, which you will follow to I-93 North. Take I-93 through the Franconia Notch and get off at the Lafayette Place exit across from Lafayette campground. The exit is marked with a TRAILHEAD PARKING sign.

Alternatively, you can save time and follow Google Map's directions. Take 91 North from Hanover, get off at exit 17 and take 302 East. Follow the signs for 302 East vigilantly and it will take you to I-93 which you take south until exiting at the Lafayette campground (the trail head for Falling waters and Old Bridal Path is on the East side of the interstate). Just be sure on the return trip to Hanover to wait for the 302- WEST exit off of I-93. There will be a 302 East exit before the 302 exit that you want.

Hiking Directions

After a short distance, the trail will diverge into the Old Bridle Path, which is the trail you want, and the Falling Waters Trail, which you will take on the way down. Proceed up the Old Bridle Trail three steep miles up the side of the ridge to the Greenleaf AMC hut. From here, it is just over a mile to the summit of Lafayette. At the summit, you meet up with the Franconia Ridge Trail (AT). If conditions are good, follow this trail for 1.7 beautiful above-treeline miles over Lincoln to Little Haystack, where you'll meet the Falling Waters trail. Enjoy the pretty waterfalls on your way down the ridge and back to your vehicle

Advice & Anecdotes

Partway down the Falling Waters trail, there is a short spur to Shining Rock, which is a great place for belly-sledding, at least in the early spring. It also has some gorgeous views, so definitely check it out, no matter what season.

If hiking in the winter or early spring when it can be cold and snowy, consider which direction you want to do the Lafayette Lincoln loop in. The Falling Waters trail is steeper which makes it better to go up in the winter than to come down. However in the early spring of 2010 we had to forge across the (quite high) stream many times in the beginning of our hike because we went up the Falling Waters trail that crosses the same stream about seven times. The Old Bridal Path doesn't have stream crossings, so in cold weather I would suggest hiking up Old Bridal Path to avoid wet feet for as long as possible.

Trip Reports


What a wonderful spring hike in Franconia! Our route: Falling Waters trail to the Ridge trail to Old Bridal Path. We chose to do the loop in this direction because the Falling Waters Trail is steeper and thus harder to go down when snowy than Old Bridal Path. There was snow on the trail after about the first 1/4 mile so we used crampons for most of the climb up. During the first mile and a half there are probably six stream crossings- Falling waters trail is aptly named. With all the snow melt in early spring, the water was fairly high. For the first crossing we hiked up the side of the stream and found a better place to cross. Feet inevitably got wet, but we had a warm day, so the damp socks didn't cause any problems. Once up on the ridge we had glorious views all around. We had a yummylicious lunch of cucumbers, hummus, and cheese on pitas on Lincoln and then we continued on to the big mamma mountain, Lafayette. Coming down Lafayette was tricky, because of the slushy snow (the temperature was probably in the upper sixties, low seventies). Putting crampons on made the downhill easier, but some tripees opted for the sliding technique, which is fun albeit slightly dangerous. By the end of the hike we were all low on water (despite having more than 2 liters per person between all nine of us). We should have filled up at one of the many streams we crossed, but we managed to eke out enough water between all of us to make it down with out needing to refill. Overall we had an awesome hike!

-Steph Crocker '12 & Jen McDonald '11 CnTOR