The Kinsmans

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  • Driving Distance: 75 miles
  • Hiking Distance: 12 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.

Hiking Directions

Your trailhead is at the back of the Lafayette Place Campground - check out one of the maps at the entrance to see exactly where to go. Take the Lonesome Lake trail up to the AMC Hut at Lonesome Lake, then the Fishin' Jimmy Trail (AT) up to the junction by Kinsman Pond Campsite. From here, follow the ridge trail south to North Kinsman, with stellar views down over Kinsman Pond and out over Franconia Ridge. Less than a mile further down is the peak of South Kinsman, also with some nice views. Return the way you came, or add Cannon Mtn by staying on the ridge trail past Kinsman Pond Campsite and returning by the Hi-Cannon Trail. If you do this, allow extra time, since the ridge trail stops being the AT past this junction, and becomes steeper and more rugged.

Trip Report


Group: Ursula Jongebloed '18 (leader), Emma Doherty '21 (heeler), Benedikt Lorch (exchange student), Kieran Ahern '21, Ben Zdasiuk '21, Adam Burnett '18, Mary Joy '21

Weather: 30-40 ˚F, partly cloudy but with views of Franc Ridge

What brought us there: Get up the Kinsmans and see some great views

Summary: We left campus at 7:10 and arrived at the trailhead before 9. The trail was packed down, but not icy – it was perfect for hiking. Lonesome Lake was frozen solid so we walked across it rather using the trail. It was windy at the summits so we had to layer up, but it was not cold. The views were beautiful. The hut at Lonesome Lake is open in the winter and the bathrooms were available for use. If you take the Fishin Jimmy Trail from the hut up to the North and South Kinsmans and then back down and then go straight to the parking lot then the hike is only 10 miles, not 12.

1/28/2012 - 1/29/2012

Group: Farzeen Mahmud '12 (heeler), Melinda Tascarella '14 (co-leader), Sam Kernan '14, Rosemary Shay '13, and -- upon arriving at Billings Lodge -- several graduate students from Princeton University Mountaineering Club including Kevin Miller '11. And Eric Ross '11, visiting.

Weather: Cold, clear, blue skies. Recent snow on trail, some ice.

What brought us there: We drove to Billings on 1/28 at 7 PM, had dinner, slept, and packed up and left Billings in the morning 1/29 to get to Lafayette Campground. We got back at 5 PM on 1/29.

Summary: We picked the Kinsmans when we arrived at Billings because it was an exciting hike with lots of possible stopping points along the way, and beautiful things to see, such as Lonesome Lake, Kinsman Pond, and the generally persistent view of Franc Ridge before getting to Lonesome Lake. And the AMC hut is awesome. The day was gorgeous and blue, and while there was good snow on the ground, we didn't need snowshoes and there was still enough ice that microspikes were really handy (footy?). Fishin' Jimmy was not too steep for the first ~1.5 miles, but very close to Kinsman Pond it began to get incredibly steep and was totally iced over, with no available bushwacking routes that didn't seem like potential tree-collision opportunities, so we turned back before Kinsman Pond and had a lovely hike back down the trail we came up! To keep going safely, we would have needed actual crampons. The group enjoyed a whole bunch of singing, ranging from classic CnT songs, to general pop, and Yorkshire anthems. We also enjoyed a time of silence several times on the trail, and several of us became incredibly connected through the journey of this trip.


Group: Malcolm Salovaara '17 (heeler), Anna Knowles '16 (co-leader), Perri Haser '17, Eli Brewster '17

Weather: Springy, cloudy in the morning, beautiful from 11 through the rest of the day.

What brought us there: two 4000 footers!

Summary: We got to the parking lot around 10:30am, having left Hanover around 9:15. The ice and snow was ubiquitous on the trail from pretty early on, so we had microspikes on almost the entire day. Pretty easy going up to the AMC Lonesome Lake Hut, and the mile or two after it on Fishin' Jimmy is super easy and flat. Then it kinda goes straight up for a mile or so, crossing a lot of waterfalls and what not. We had lunch at the shelter by Kinsman Pond, which was pretty sweet, only .1 miles off the trailer. From there it was just a half mile up the ridge to the Northern summit, which had some righteous views of Franc Ridge and some other mountains on the Western side of the Pemi Wilderness. The turn off to the viewpoint isn't the most obvious thing in the world, and our group got separated as the front pair turned off and the caboose pair kept going towards the southern summit. fortunately we were reunited shortly later, and had a cathartic haul back down to the car, which we reached by 5:30 or so, home at 7, a bit later than expected. All in all a great trip!


Group: Renata Hegyi'16 (heeler), Adam Schneider'15 (leader), Daniel Pomerantz '18, Rosie Mahoney '17, Michelle Dundek '18, Emily Robertson '18, Julia Cohen '18, Hanna Markowitz '18, Robert Sylvia '18.

Weather: Clear skies, high 50s.

What brought us there: Cannon Mountain

Summary: We left Hanover around 9:15. Parked at Lafayette Place Campground. Ascended via Lonesome Lake trail and Kinsman Ridge trail. The ascent went smoothly, Lonesome Lake sparkled in the sunshine. We ate lunch at the top, with spectacular views of Franconia Ridge. Chocolate chips in tortilla wraps were a hit. For the way down we took Hi-Cannon Trail. It was rather steep and slippery, full of obstacles. There were several difficult stream crossings, vertical slabs of rock, and wet roots. Much slipping and sliding was involved, but we all made it down safely before sunset. We were back on campus by 6:45.

More Information

White Mountain Guide