Franconia Brook Trail

Grafton County, New Hampshire

Elevation Gain1,249ft
Trailhead Elevation2,158ft
Elevation Min/Max1448/2203ft
Elevation Start/End2158/2147ft

Franconia Brook Trail

Franconia Brook Trail is a hiking trail in Grafton County, New Hampshire. It is within White Mountain National Forest. It is 5.1 miles long and begins at 2,158 feet altitude. Traveling the entire trail is 10.3 miles with a total elevation gain of 1,249 feet. The trail ends near the Thirteen Falls camp site. This trail connects with the following: Lincoln Brook Trail, Lincoln Woods Trail, Twin Brook Trail and Owls Head Path.

Franconia Brook Trail Professional Reviews and Guides

"This is the very best of White Mountain cycling: stunning scenery, sparse traffic, breathtaking descents, and opportunities for sightseeing and recreational stops. The route takes you through two of the Whites’ famous “notches.” For serious riders it’s a solid workout in a heavenly place. Weekend vacationers could even stretch it out over a couple of days, with sightseeing/hiking stops along the way and an overnight in Franconia.

A kiosk at the visitor center explains that a “notch” is a V-shaped passage between mountains. Early settlers thought those passages looked like the notches they cut when felling trees. In other states these passages are called “gaps” or “passes.” But in the White Mountains, they’re almost always “notches.” This ride takes you through two of them: Franconia Notch and Kinsman Notch."

"A well-marked, gently rolling ride crisscrossing the Pemigewasset River through Franconia Notch to its headwaters at Profile Lake. See the famous Old Man of the Mountain (he's there till late every night) and the Basin, a 30-foot-wide, 15 foot- deep pothole that Samuel Easton described in his 1958 white Mountain Guide as " of the beautiful haunts of nature. A luxurious and delicious bath fit for the ablutions of a goddess."

This ride is popular with families and offers many excellent picnic spots. Tread: 6.9 miles on paved bike path. Location: 0.1 mile east of Interstate 93 (Franconia Notch State Parkway), exit 1, in Franconia Notch State Park."

"The size of the 160-car Lincoln Woods parking area is a clue to the immense popularity of this easily accessible trailhead. Attracted for decades by the “wilderness ” label, long-distance hikers flock to the Lincoln Woods and Wilderness core trails that serve as pedestrian expressways into the backcountry. Such traffic should not necessarily keep you away.

Long, easy trails quickly disperse visitors into 45,000 acres of marvelous backpacking territory and along a variety of routes that radiate into the mountainous rim of the wilderness. The popularity is well deserved. Just don’t expect to enjoy it alone. Special attractions: Wildlife, wetlands, wilderness camping, remote 13 Falls, and views of Franconia Ridge above the Lincoln Brook Valley."

"Franconia Notch—home to Echo Lake, the Old Man of the Mountain, the Basin, and the Flume Gorge—is one of the main attractions of the White Mountains. The huge cliffs of Cannon Mountain and the high, alpine ridgeline of Mount Lafayette and Mount Lincoln create the walls of the notch, which were formed by glaciers during the last ice age.

The bike path was created in the 1980s when the road through the notch was being redesigned as an interstate highway. The AMC and other environmental organizations advocated successfully to preserve the integrity of the notch and the road was built as the only segment of an interstate highway to be designed as a parkway. The wide, paved bike path is easy to ride and can be accessed from several parking areas."

Franconia Brook Trail Reviews

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If you like water you'll enjoy this trail. There are a bunch of water crossings and you're going to get wet for sure. Having a hiking stick is probably a good idea especially if you're not comfortable with water crossings. The waterfall on the trail is nice although not huge. The trail isn't too hard but stepping over the railroad bed in some spots was tiresome and it can be rocky and uneven in some spots. Still this is a great trail, especially in summer since you're guaranteed to cool off in the water.
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Nice, but you're walking along a railroad bed most of the way, so it's not very out-in-the-woodsy. Definitely take a slide & dip in the pools at the end, though!

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Trail Information

Grafton County
Nearby City
Franconia Notch State Park.
Local Contacts
Franconia Notch State Park Recreational Trail Map (available at Flume Information Center); USGS Lincoln and Franconia
Local Maps