Mount Lafayette / Mount Lincoln, Bridle Path Loop

Loop • 8 mi • 3500 ft

Trailheads located within yards of an interstate highway seldom promise extraordinary mountain adventure. All the more special, then, is this classic loop hike that departs the Franconia Notch Parkway and intersects the most thrilling mile of Franconia Ridge, an elevated knife-edge walk that’s a hallmark of New Hampshire hiking. Much of this route is exposed to the elements, but the isolated segment that ventures out onto Franconia’s narrow crest carries you almost a mile from even minimal protection. For safety and enjoyment, be sure that your time on these marvelous heights corresponds with favorable weather. Special attractions: Exhilarating panoramas from mounts Lincoln and Lafayette, the knife-edge excitement of Franconia Ridge, and the calming waters of beautiful Cloudland Falls.
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Activity Type: Hiking
Nearby City: Littleton
Length: 8 total miles
Elevation Gain: 3,500 feet
Trail Type: Loop/Lollipop
Skill Level: Moderate, but requires stamina.
Local Contacts: Ammonoosuc Ranger Station
Local Maps: USGS Franconia quad.
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Recent Trail Reviews


This was a great hike. Wyler and I decided to hike up Lafayette and cross Lincoln to Little Haystack and down Haystack. Glad we chose that path. First, it is less traveled. Most seem to climb up Little Haystack. Although it may be tougher and little longer to reach the summit the views up Lafayette are beautiful. Plus a little over half way there you can stop at the AMC hut and replenish water (although free for that bring a little cash with you for a tip). Getting there is little steep and on bald rocks. After making it across the Notch from Lafayette, Lincoln to Little Haystack we began to hike down. Very rocky and steep so watch footing. Eventually you come to waterfalls. Gorgeous and COLD. The rocks going down at some points do get wet and so Wyler had a few slips but learned his way around. I had a few slips. I would recommend carrying maybe water sandals if want to take a dip in the small pools near falls because slippery rocks. It was a great way to end the long hike with a little cool off. Would have missed that if we reversed direction.


Great day hike in the White Mountains of N.H. Stunning views of surrounding mountains/valley from ridge line.

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