Franconia Ridge is one of the best hikes in the Whites, but when I went over it on my thru hike, I had no views at all. Despite it being spring already, and the hike therefore not counting toward any new list since I’ve already hiked in it non-winter, I wanted to do it again with clear weather. A perfect day appeared on the forecast, and a perfect day it turned out to be.

Chuckles and I hiked up the Falling Waters Trail, a little over three miles to get above treeline and onto the ridge at the summit of Little Haystack Mountain at 4780′. It was very warm at the bottom, and we certainly worked up a sweat climbing about 2800′ up. Surprisingly, it was just as warm above treeline. We were in totally clear skies with sunshine and no wind! The visibility was fantastic and we began moving very slowly to take it all in, stopping every twenty feet or so for new photos. I love hiking on narrow ridges with expansive views because it feels like you’re on top of the world.

Falling Waters Trail

Falling Waters Trail

Almost to the ridge

Almost to the ridge

On top of Little Haystack, Mt Lincoln behind

On top of Little Haystack, Mt Lincoln behind

View of Mt Washington

View of Mt Washington

Looking back toward Little Haystack, Liberty and Flume behind

Looking back toward Little Haystack, Liberty and Flume behind

Next along the ridge was Mount Lincoln at 5089′. We stopped for a break soon after, actually sitting down and enjoying our snacks for at least fifteen minutes, without adding lots of layers like has been the case all winter whenever I stopped for much less time than that, only to hurry off frozen any way.

On top of Mt Lincoln, Lafayette behind

On top of Mt Lincoln, Lafayette behind

Chuckles coming down Lincoln

Chuckles coming down Lincoln

Taking a break above treeline without eight layers, no big deal

Taking a break above treeline without eight layers, no big deal

It was a little bit of a longer stretch to Mount Lafayette at 5260′ then, and we finally got some wind towards the top of that. The wind was blowing maybe 30 MPH tops, and not constant either.

Heading up Lafayette

Heading up Lafayette

Mt Lafayette summit, Washington behind

Mt Lafayette summit, Washington behind

Cairn on top of Lafayette

Cairn on top of Lafayette

Summit photo

Summit photo

We left the ridge then and headed down to the Greenleaf Hut, and on down the Old Bridle Path the rest of the way. We ran into a few people on the way down but had had the whole ridge to ourselves. We were in spikes the whole day as the trail was very packed down, although the snow was getting pretty melty on the Old Bridle Path. It was an amazing end to my hiking in the Whites this winter, and I even got a little sunburned.

A look back at the ridge from the way down

A look back at the ridge from the way down

Heading towards Greenleaf

Heading towards Greenleaf

Icicle tinsel

Icicle tinsel

Greenleaf Hut, Cannon behind

Greenleaf Hut, Cannon behind

View back to Lafayette

View back to Lafayette

Heading down

Heading down

Chuckles with ridge behind

Chuckles with ridge behind

See so many more photos here.

Written by Siren

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