Franconia, New Hampshire

Winter Hike North Kinsman

8 Miles Total - 2500 ft gain - Out-and-Back Trail

Originally added by Mike! Miller

A winter in New Hampshire’s White Mountains means fewer crowds, low temps, and feeling as if you are in a snow globe. Only two hours and change from Boston, this 8 mile out and back offers snowy woods, two lakes, and big views. 

 Park at Lafayette Place right off of I-93. It is one of the most accessible trail heads to hit a “4,000 footer” in the White Mountains and has plenty parking. Signage is visible and easy to follow as you begin at 1,800 feet and walk through a wooded campground onto the Lonesome Lake Trail. The trail starts to climb right away but in most conditions no traction will be needed for this first section. As you gain about 1,200 feet the terrain levels out. The next steps are some of the best as the Lonesome Lake Trail merges with The Appalachian Trail and the woods thin out gifting views to the North of Lonesome Lake and, clouds pending, The Cannon Balls. Cannon Mountain will never be a more apt name after seeing it from this angle. Take a breather, warm up, and grab a snack at Lonesome Lake hut. This low altitude AMC hut remains open throughout the year!

Now to the fun part. Exit the hut and head due West on Fishen Jimmy Trail, also a part of the AT. Guided by white blazes the trail climbs steadily. Now is the time for light traction. Make your way up to the intersection with Kinsman Ridge and Kinsman Pond Trails and if you feel so inclined, take an extra tenth of a mile to catch a view of Kinsman Pond. Then its back to the junction and onto the westward facing Kinsman Ridge trail. A little more than a half mile of steady uphill and you’ll have the summit! There are a handful of pull outs to catch big 180 degree vies of Canon to the North, Lafayette and Lincoln to the West, and all the way down Franconia Notch to the South. South Kinsman will tempt those with the legs to make the day 3 miles longer but no matter how you spin it this is a great winter hike with limited exposure and big vistas.

Winter hikes demand caution. Wind Chill temps regularly dip below 0 degrees and should not be underestimated.

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Picnic Area


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Stay Nearby

Lincoln, New Hampshire

Big Rock

Woodstock, New Hampshire

Russell Pond Campground

Lisbon, New Hampshire

Littleton / Franconia Notch KOA

Nearby Adventures

Backpack the Franconia Ridge Loop

14.5 Miles Round Trip - 3000 ft gain

Hike the Franconia Ridge Loop

8.9 Miles Round Trip - 3600 ft gain

Hike Lonesome Lake

3.2 Miles Round Trip