Hike Mt. Liberty and Camp at Liberty Springs Tent Site

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Mt. Liberty offers stunning views of the surrounding peaks and Franconia Ridgeline. Camping at Liberty Springs Tent Site allows you to sleep on the mount just about a half mile from the summit, which is perfect for sunrise or sunset.

Liberty Springs Trail is a moderately trafficked out and back trail in the heart of Franconia Notch State Park and the White Mountains. The trail is a part of the Appalachian Trail, which allows it to remain very well maintained throughout the year.

The trail is listed as difficult and strenuous in many reviews, but I find this route to be an easier way up to the Franconia Ridge than the Old Bridle Path or Falling Waters Trail (both equally beautiful, but seriously strenuous at times nonetheless). Liberty Springs Trail is steep and mostly straight up the mountain. If you look at the trail on the map, you'll notice there really aren't many switchbacks and while on it, the trail can feel like you're going up a very long stairway. 

At the beginning of the trail, there is a short, winding walk through a mostly soft, dirt path in thick forest. Before the climbing begins, there is one significant river crossing which is not so bad in the late summer months, but can be a bit challenging in the spring when snowpack is melting. 

After the river crossing, the trail runs through some beautifully lush forest covered in moss. There is less water on this trail than the Falling Waters Trail, which makes it less slippery, but the path can still be very muddy as always for a few days after heavy rain. 

2.4 miles in, you will reach the Liberty Springs Tent Site. If you're planning to spend the night, you should drop your packs and get a site before the later rush of hikers descending around dinner time hits. It is $10 per person to stay at the tent site and those funds support a very wonderful and expensive task of keeping the AMC tent and hut sites running. Staying at the tent site around June/July, you will likely meet at least one person thru hiking the AT, and it's always fun to swap stories from hikers coming from other points in the area. 

If you don't want to make it an overnight trip, you can easily make the summit of Liberty in a day and be back down before it's dark. Even if you get a late start, it could be done as a half-day hike in the summer months when light is abundant. 

From the tent site, you are only .6 miles from the summit of Mt. Liberty. The .3 mile stretch from the tent site to where Liberty Springs Trail meets the Franconia Ridge is a bit of a scramble up a very short but steep path. At the ridge, the path turns into a beautiful walk through short, scrubby trees in the Alpine zone before the trees disappear and you reach the top of Mt. Liberty in just .3 miles. Sunset is the best time to be up on Mt. Liberty, so if you're staying at the tent site, the best thing to do is take a water bottle or thermos with a hot beverage and your headlight to hike the quick walk to the top. Average total time from the tent site to the summit is about 25-30 minutes, depending on your hiking speed. 

To access the trailhead:

From points north and south, you will take I-93 in New Hampshire to Franconia Notch and take the exit for the Flume Visitor Center. The trailhead parking is 0.2 miles north of the visitor center lot. You can also park in the Visitor Center lot and walk on the Pemigewasset bike path to the trailhead. 

Pack List

As a day hike:

  • Water (1L is enough per person, there is a spring at Liberty Springs Trailhead)
  • Trail shoes or lightweight hiking boots
  • Food/snacks 
  • Camera
  • Bug spray
  • Rain Jacket
  • Classic Ten Essentials

As an overnight hike:

  • All of the above and at least three meals (lunch, dinner, breakfast the next day)
  • Tent
  • Sleeping Pad (the tent sites are all tent platforms, so depending on your sleeping preferences, you could get away without this without worrying about a rock stabbing your hip at night)
  • A warm layer for nighttime 
Show More
RT Distance 7 Miles
Elevation Gain 2870 Feet
Activities Camping, Photography, Backpacking, Hiking
Skill Level Intermediate
Season Spring, Summer, Autumn
Trail Type Out-and-Back
Features
Family Friendly
Forest
Scenic

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