Mts. Lafayette and Lincoln
Hiking/Walk DATE: 06/22/2013 - 06/22/2013
Trip/Event Location: Lincoln, NH
Max # People: 15
Trip Guiding / Event Fee: No, I will not be asking participants for money
Difficulty Level: Strenuous
Mount Lafayette [5,260'], located just east of I-93 in Franconia Notch, is the crown jewel of the Franconia Ridge and the highest peak outside the Presidential Range. It is the sixth highest peak in...
Driving north on I-93 entering the Franconia Notch Parkway, note your mileage as you pass Exit 34A. Continue on the parkway for about 4 miles to an exit with signs for Trailhead Parking. If you are driving south on the Parkway, take the exit for the Lafayette Place Campground and Trailhead Parking, about 2 miles south of Exit 34B for the Cannon Mountain Tramway. A pedestrain underpass connects parking on either side of the parkway. We are driving a blue FJ Cruiser and will meet you at the trailhead.
We awoke to cloudy skies with threatening thunderstorms around us. However once we met at the Old Bridle Path/Falling Waters parking lot the sun came out and we were ready to get going at our designated time.
Heading in at 9:15am we felt pretty good and excited to head above treeline for a good portion of the day. Some members had never done this hike before. We like going up Old Bridle Path since it's not all that crowded because everyone else is going up the Falling Waters Trail.
The Old Bridle Path I find to be a great trail to put your head down and go through the bottom section but once it starts opening up with view points towards Mt. Lincoln, ravines and Agony Ridge; one cannot help but start slowing down. We went up through the rock climbing areas, one which is a trough so to speak with one side walled to your right. Greenleaf Hut was in front of us pretty quickly, around 11:30am, and we went inside the Hut to find that they were giving away leftover pancakes. We took a snack break and filled up our water bottles in preparation for the final push to the summit of Lafayette, 1.1 miles away. Looking at the ridge from the Hut it looked like a hedgehog with all the hikers on the Franconia Ridge.
We passed cairn after cairn and took breaks to snap a picture here and there. We arrived at the summit around 12:30pm so it took us over 3 hours from the parking lot to the summit of Mt. Lafayette. This was going to be an incredible day indeed and I couldn't have been more correct!
We took photos of the traditional across the ridge shots. There were about 30-40 people on the summit and a little windy so we descended a bit from the summit and found some rocks to provide a windbreak for lunch. It was hazy, humid and dark clouds were lurking around the summit so the views were not as great as they could be.
Off we went towards Mt. Lincoln, with the sun reappearing and the breeze keeping the bugs away making great time to our next destination not far away. We took photos along the way and looking down the Lincoln Slide towards Owl's Head. We made great progress and it felt like we magically appeared on Mt. Lincoln and by this point started to meet up with the hikers who ascended up the Falling Waters Trail traveling in the opposite direction. The skies were getting dark with thunderstorms threatening so we did not linger for very long wanting to be off the ridge before the storm arrived.
Despite the weather, superb views in all directions, haze filling in the further away peaks but Cannon, Garfield, Bondcliff and a few others were begging for the attention they rightfully deserve. On to Little Haystack we go, hiker freeway it seemed like but as we entered the Gargoyles there was only one person climbing up on the rocks having their picture taken...yup it was me! :-) We started to feel some raindrops so we picked up the pace.
The trail after here to Little Haystack is very well laid out, a path of rocks on both sides of the trail to the exposed outcroppings of rocks and the Falling Waters Trail just to the side with hikers appearing like a stream of water. The rain started to pick up so we put on our rain jackets.
We headed down the Falling Waters that starts steeply at first but eventually levels off. We saw 5 people heading up toward the ridge and Mt. Lafayette at 3pm? What's up with that? Towards the bottom we enjoyed one waterfall after another beginning with Cloudland, then Swiftwater and ending with Stairs. Everyone came back to our house afterwards for a delicious barbecue of grilled chicken and sausage, rice, potato salad and a green salad...ending with Jon's fabulous strawberry shortcake trifle!!!
What a fantastic day above treeline on some of our favorite mountains! It was nice to catch up with everyone and make some new outdoorzy buddies as well. We look forward to future hikes!
~ Mike Boisvert
There are 59 photos in Album (Note: Move mouse pointer over larger pic and click on NEXT for better viewing)
What Members Are Saying About This Trip/Event
- This hike was a classic White Mountain Adventure with stellar views, alpine environment and waterfalls to boot. Thankfully the heavy rain held off till we were driving home! - JDNnh
JDNnh Jun 24, 2013 at 6:01 PM
Comment: This hike was a classic White Mountain Adventure with stellar views, alpine environment and waterfalls to boot. Thankfully the heavy rain held off till we were driving home!