Lincoln & Lafayette

5089 Feet & 5260 Feet

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Lincoln & Lafayette mountains are a great combination hike on the Franconia Ridge.  Some people call it one of the classic hikes in the East.  I will agree it is one of better hikes out there. Is this hike Classic?…..I don‘t know….Now Coca-Cola is classic.  Classical music is classic.  A dogs playing poker velvet painting is classic.  But I will say on this hike you get above tree line hiking, great views, a cool ridge, and some waterfalls…..So maybe it is a top ten hike.

And you can not hike the Franconia Ridge without knowing two people that helped the recovery of the alpine vegetation on the ridge.  Laura and Guy Waterman maintained and did trail work in the area for a long time.
 


Franconia ridge (Lincoln & Lafayette) from Bondcliff

                 
                                                          Franconia Ridge from South Kinsman
Laura Waterman wrote a book about the marriage they had together.   (This is a great book.)
They also wrote a book called Forest and Crag, which is about the Northeast Mountains.  (It is a freaking 900 pages long but cool.)


This is some information on the so called "classic loop".......It still isn't Coca-Cola though.

                                                            
                         The Loop                        3D of the loop                         The profile 


People are going to tell you which way to do the standard loop.  Well my advice to you is to do it anyway you want, plus there are other ways to get up on the Franconia Ridge.

The most common way to hike Lincoln & Lafayette is to do a loop hike starting in the area of the Lafayette Place parking areas on both sides of I93.  Keep in mind this hike is really popular, and an early start will avoid most of the crowds and give you a parking space. 

Now you can go up the Falling Waters Trail, meet up with Little Haystack Mountain, hike across the Franconia Ridge to Lafayette, drop down on the Greenleaf trail to the Greenleaf hut, and then finally drop down the Old Bridle path trail back to the parking lot.
 
I think it comes out to 8.8 miles and in the area of 3850 of elevation gain.  A workout for sure.  But when you break out on Little Haystack mountain (a great mountain) all the hard work will be well worth it.  Great views of Cannon, The Kinsmans, Owl’s Head, The Bonds, Liberty & Flume, Garfield, The Twins, The Mount Washington area, and more are all around you.  The water on the Falling Waters trail is pretty cool. (It is falling because of that whole gravity thing.)

I found I like doing this loop going up Lafayette first, and then down the steeper Falling Waters trail.  Call me weird……..well I am…..so you can call me weird really…….ok……now you are getting me mad…….”Weird” isn’t too hard to say…..Ahhh people like you are the real weirdoes.  I like the several views that pop up going up the Old Bridle path. You then reach some steep areas called the “Agonies” before the Greenleaf hut.  Once you reach the Greenleaf hut anymore ups in elevation the rest of the day are easy to me, as the views make everything seem so right.

The cool thing on this hike is the above tree line exposure.  This hike is not to be underestimated as proper raingear and clothing should be always with you.  And in winter hiking the wind can be fierce with whiteout conditions, so your experience level and aptitude should be very good for this undertaking.

If you are looking for a quieter way to hike the ridge area, then going up the Skookumchuck Trail on Route 3 would be a good choice.  Just getting to Lafayette and back is is 10.2 miles and 3550 in elevation gain (adding Lincoln and back is 12.1 miles and 4300 feet), but you get to hike on the Northerly portion of Lafayette that is above tree line.  

For the person looking to do as many four thousand footers in a day with one car and a bike.  You could put your bike at the Lafayette Place area.  Drive down to the Whitehouse trailhead.  Hike up Mount Flume up the steep Flume Slide trail, then over to Mount Liberty, hike over to Little Haystack on the Franconia Ridge Trail, continue on to Lafayette, drop down to the Greenleaf hut, hike down the Old Bridle Path to your bike at the Lafayette Place.  This hike is slightly over 13 miles with about a 5150 foot elevation gain.  You can basically coast down to your car at the Whitehouse trailhead with your bike on the bike path to finish the day.

Now for the really sick people out there who want to bushwhack these mountains, there is the another way you could climb Lincoln and Lafayette.  You could park you car at the Lincoln Woods area off the Kancamagus highway. Hike the Lincoln Woods trail, to the Franconia Brook trail, to the Lincoln Brook Trail, (like you would do to hike Owl’s Head), hook into the woods and bushwhack to the Lincoln slide, climb up it on the right side to near the summit of North Lincoln mountain, and then work your way all the freaking way back to Lincoln Woods where your car is.  Yep, that would be a fun hard hike.  You obviously need to fill in a lot of details for that hike.

But whatever way you hike these two mountains, you will not be disappointed.  Well unless you have to hike with me.