Snowshoe to Lonesome Lake

Rate this Adventure 3.1 miles 1013 ft gain  - Loop Trail

Added by Chris Mongeau

Snowshoe across the frozen lake and take in views of Cannon and the surrounding Franconia Range.

The best place to park when doing this hike in the winter is at the Lafayette Campground. The campground and parking lot are typically empty in the cold winter months, aside from occasional cross-country skiers on the Pemigewasset bike path. The Lafayette campground parking lot is directly accessible by I-93 north and south.

To start the hike, walk through the campground and follow the signs that direct to the Lonesome Lake Hut. The trailhead begins on your right side a few hundred feet into the campground. From the trailhead it is exactly 1.1 miles to the lake itself. 

The climb up is very moderate/easy, gaining just under 1000 feet gradually for the most part. Depending on how packed down the snow is from other hikers, the level of difficulty will vary, but for the most part, the best thing I've found to use going up are micro spikes rather than snowshoes. Just after a snowfall, there can be big drifts that would definitely require snowshoes, so it really all depends on how recently it has snowed. 

Once you're at the lake, you can snowshoe around it, which is about .8 miles total, or if the lake is frozen, go straight across. Most of the time in the deep winter, the lake will be frozen. If you're doing this at the edges of winter, keep in mind ice thickness safety and don't attempt if it is very slushy. 

The Lonesome Lake AMC hut is self serve in the winter, and if you're lucky (most likely on a weekend) you might arrive to some fellow hikers stoking a fire. You can read up on more information about the hut here. If you are interested in staying a night, this is hands down one of the most accessible huts, with a very easy hike that can be done in an hour or less if you're fast. 

Keep in mind that the White Mountains have seriously extreme weather that can change in an instant, especially in the winter. While this is a relatively easy hike, it's always important to be prepared for sub-zero temperatures and high winds. 

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