Mts. Monroe and Franklin Hike
Hiking/Walk DATE: 07/06/2013 - 07/06/2013
Trip/Event Location: Bretton Woods, NH
Max # People: 15
Trip Guiding / Event Fee: No, I will not be asking participants for money
Difficulty Level: Moderate to Strenuous
This 4,000 peak is an excellent alternative to its more famous neighbor, Mt. Washington, offering superb views! We will ascend up the Ammonoosuc Ravine Trail with a stop at Lake of the Clouds and the...
We are meeting at the Edmands Path trailhead and then carpool to the Ammonoosuc Ravine trailhead. To reach the Edmands Path, turn off US 302 at Fabyan onto the Base Road leading to the cog railway's base station. Soon Mt. Washington and Mt. Monroe comes into sight. Drive on the Base Road about 5 miles to an intersection. Turn right. You are now on the Mount Clinton Road. Drive 1.5 miles from the four corners. And drive carefully; there's a startling 90-degree curve around 0.5 miles before the trailhead. The parking area is on the left. It fills up quickly so we may have to park along the road.
This 8.2-mile semi strenuous loop will show you some of the best above tree line hiking that New Hampshire has to offer.
Our plan was to take the 3.1-mile Ammonoosuc Ravine Trail to the Lakes of the Clouds hut. From there we would do a 2 mile ridge traverse, along the Crawford Path, bag Monroe (5,384 ft) and Franklin (5,001 ft but not an official 4,000 footer) along the way. We would then cruise the 2.9 miles down the Edmunds path to where we spotted a car.
The weather gods provided us with summits socked in the clouds as we took off from our point of departure…the Cog Railway hiker parking lot around 10:30 am.
the Ammonoosuc Ravine Trail starts out with 30 minutes of rolling and flat terrain in a shady forest like many White Mountains trails do. This was fine as it provided a chance to warm up. This trail truly distinguishes itself because it is right next to the Cog Railway and alongside the Ammonoosuc River.
We were soon treated to a crystal clear pond called Gem Pool fed by a tiny waterfall that is something you don’t see on every hike. This was a great place to take a break. A brief rain shower passed us by. Many other hikers passed us by while we were having a break.
From here the climbing began with a steep and sustained ascent on rock steps. Shortly into the climb we took the small side trail on the right that leads to a gorge. If you do this hike then take this side trail! Only 100 yards from the sign we were treated to one of the most amazing waterfalls you will ever see in the White Mountains.
Take a look at our pictures and video. Do you think that is worth hiking 100 yards for? CLICK HERE FOR TRIP PICTURES AND VIDEOS
The climb continued at a sustained pitch as the rock steps evolved to rock slabs. It was during the section that we reached the clouds.
The Lakes of the Clouds hut came into view after a little more climbing. This was a great sight because it meant we were close to Mount Monroe. We had lunch inside the hut.
After sandwiches, chips and Jim’s homemade cookies we felt it was time to make our summit bid. The wind started to pick up so we put on our shell jackets. The climb to the Mount Monroe summit was certainly steep. We remained in the clouds and the humidity was certainly 100%. The great thing about the wind is that it kept us cool since was over 80 degrees at the base of the mountain.
From here we had a perfect ridge to traverse over Mount Franklin. The clouds kept many hikers away but we did encounter a few along the way. From here the hike became a classic above tree line White Mountains ridge traverse with a narrow cairn lined path that is surrounded by alpine vegetation. The clouds provided a surreal environment. The clouds forced to take a closer look at the alpine flowers at our feet including Canada Mayflower, Mountain Sandwort, Three-Toothed Cinquefoil, Mountain Avens, Bunchberry and Mountain Cranberry. As we descended from Mount Franklin the clouds disappeared and we finally got some views including Eisenhower directly ahead. We were happy to get some views for our efforts!
The descent to the Edmunds Path treated us to a whole new perspective on the ridge that we had just traversed. At first the Edmunds path was a stone filled ledge and with the clouds gone we were able to enjoy some amazing scenery.
Before long we were back in the tree line and back at the car. Despite hiking 8.2 miles and bagging 2 peaks we felt like the hike flew by; that is the sign of a great hike. I highly recommend this hike for anyone who wants unbelievable views for a moderate effort. We didn’t get the views in this outing, but spending substantial time above tree line in the air conditioned clouds has its own just rewards.
Following the hike the majority of the guys made their way back to our house for snacks/drinks on the deck; then dinner consisting of chicken shish-kabobs, sausage, rice, potato salad, vegetable salad followed by strawberry shortcake; and the grand finale, fireworks.
There are 19 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
- Thanks to Mike and Jon for everything they did to make us feeing confortable. About the hike, I really enjoyed that part that i have never been in Between Monroe and Eisenhower... Also, the group sinergy was great. It went by too fast!!! - Stephinmtl
- This was a hike into the clouds - literally! The natural AC was a welcome relief to the heat we've had. It was a beautiful and mystical journey at 5000 + feet. - JDNnh
- Brian,I am with you but what can be steamier than 12 guys hiking on a muggy day in the foggy mountain ;) Personally, this hike was like connecting 3 broken bridges to me. Some old and recent memory on Ammonoosuc and Edmonds paths + new foot step on Monroe and Franklin made a perfect trilogy to me. Thank you John and Mike for leading another great trip and hospitality and thank you everyone for great company. See you soon in that brilliant nature! - liketodo
- This was a great hike. I must do it again with the full sun. Thank you Mike and Jon for a great day! - WalkaboutBrian
Stephinmtl Jul 19, 2013 at 8:42 PM
Comment: Thanks to Mike and Jon for everything they did to make us feeing confortable. About the hike, I really enjoyed that part that i have never been in Between Monroe and Eisenhower... Also, the group sinergy was great. It went by too fast!!!
JDNnh Jul 8, 2013 at 8:07 AM
Comment: This was a hike into the clouds - literally! The natural AC was a welcome relief to the heat we've had. It was a beautiful and mystical journey at 5000 + feet.
liketodo Jul 7, 2013 at 10:19 PM
Comment: Brian,I am with you but what can be steamier than 12 guys hiking on a muggy day in the foggy mountain ;) Personally, this hike was like connecting 3 broken bridges to me. Some old and recent memory on Ammonoosuc and Edmonds paths + new foot step on Monroe and Franklin made a perfect trilogy to me. Thank you John and Mike for leading another great trip and hospitality and thank you everyone for great company. See you soon in that brilliant nature!
WalkaboutBrian Jul 7, 2013 at 10:34 AM
Comment: This was a great hike. I must do it again with the full sun. Thank you Mike and Jon for a great day!