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Franconia Ridge is arguably the most beautiful loop trail in the Whites. This is the first big-mountain hike I did with my kids on a howling windy day in October 2002. It is very popular, so this time Peter Wyatt and I did it on a Friday to avoid the crowds. We went up the Old Bridle Path, since most people do the loop in the other direction to avoid the steep rough descent on he Falling Waters Trail. The Old Bridle Path opens up quickly to superb views of the Franconia Ridge (left). There were a few streaks of snow in the gullies. Greenleaf Hut was not open because of the pandemic. From the side of the hut is a great view of Lafayette over Eagle Lake (right).
We got to Lafayette with great views north toward Garfield (left) and west toward Owl's Head (right).
From there the knife-edge ridge offers continuous views of wild mountains and forests in all directions (left). At right is the view to the south.
Just before Mt. Lincoln there is a great slide that dives deep down in the Pemi wilderness (left). Something we should do someday. The top of Lincoln shows the ridge continuing all the way to Flume (right). We had done the whole Franconia Ridge a few times, spotting a car, but I had not gone down Falling Waters since that October 2002 hike.
On the way from Mt. Lincoln to Little Haystack there are interesting rock formations (left). From the top of Little Haystack we enjoyed our last views all around (right).
We headed down Falling Waters and lost the views immediately. The upper part of the trail was steep and rough but not so unusual for the Whites at that altitude. We took the side trip to Shining Rock (left) and continued down the rough trail until the grade eased and we got to our first waterfall (right).
From then on Falling Waters lives up to its name by going through a whole series of waterfalls. The next one is that shown on left. The trail crossed the brook a number of times and had interesting steps carved into the rock (right). Such rock steps are found on a few other trails but always covered with a log â€“ I had never seen them bare.
Shortly after that was the most impressive of all the waterfalls (left) and then some more waterfalls (right) I will need to remember this trail as a great short hike to do at high water just to enjoy the waterfalls.