• Activities:

    Camping, Photography, Hiking

  • Skill Level:

    Beginner

  • Season:

    Year Round

  • Trail Type:

    Out-and-Back

  • RT Distance:

    3.2 Miles

Easy Parking
Family Friendly
Forest
Lake

Get incredible lake views especially at sunset. Head off the tourist path and avoid the crowds on this hike.

The Franconia Notch area of New Hampshire has many roadside adventures to go on, bringing in thousands of visitors every year, but my favorite place in the notch is Lonesome Lake.

At 1.6 miles, the hike is easy enough for the whole family, but most people visiting the notch stick to the roadside attractions, keeping the crowds at Lonesome down. The views around the lake are incredible, looking out toward Franconia Ridge and Cannon Mountain. There are also many trails connecting to the Lonesome Lake trail, but are generally more difficult. My favorite time to go up is for sunset, but it's also an amazing place for photographing the night sky with very little light pollution.

To get there, drive to Lafayette Place Campground on interstate 93. From the parking lot, you cross over a small footbridge and through the campground to start up the Lonesome Lake trail, which is clearly marked.

If you want to camp and hit the trail as a day hike, you can make a reservation at Reserve America.

Pack List

  • Camera
  • Water
  • Snacks
  • Hiking shoes (trail conditions can vary)
  • Headlamp
  • Extra warm clothes
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Please respect the places you find on The Outbound.

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures. Be aware of local regulations and don't damage these amazing places for the sake of a photograph. Learn More

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Reviews

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Loved having this as part of the hike to Cannon so our group could stop and get a snack.

9 months ago
9 months ago

I love Lonesome Lake. We always stop by on the way back from Cannon Mtn or after a nice hike on Franconia Ridge across the roadway. It's amazing that you can see the reflections of the mountains when the lake is quiet. Also, night time photography is incredible up there - reflections are stunning and you always seem to get a shooting star if you leave the exposure on long enough.

over 1 year ago
over 1 year ago

I discovered this place last may when I was going on a small trip to hike Mt Lafayette. We decided to reach the lake on our second day, when our legs were a bit tired after our previous hike but the ascension is quite easy. We enjoyed the view at the summit and it was a perfect hike to do on our way back to Quebec. Would love to stay in the hut one day !

over 1 year ago
over 1 year ago

We hiked this trail the end of April, still a bit chilly so there was ice and snow on the trail! Although we weren't expecting that at had no crampons my wife and I made it fairly easily! One of the most epic hikes I've ever attempted to date and worth the steep climb to get there!

almost 2 years ago
almost 2 years ago

There is also an Appalachian Mountain Club hut nearby (reservations at outdoors.org) which is great for a family adventure.

about 2 years ago
about 2 years ago

To add to this, hiking this in late fall is really exciting. The lake is most often completely frozen with thick ice by mid November. We went last November and continued on to summit Cannon Mountain. There was a lot of ice so if anyone does this make sure you bring crampons and watch the weather. Dress warm and its amazing.

almost 3 years ago
almost 3 years ago

Are we missing something? Suggest an edit

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