When the weather holds, the Franconia Ridge Trail in New Hampshire’s White Mountains offers spectacular views. The classic loop hike featuring this trail begins in the Lafayette Place parking area just off Franconia Notch Parkway (I-93).
I recommend you ascend Little Haystack Mountain by the Falling Waters trail. Then you are on the Franconia Ridge Trail, shown in the picture. You climb over Mt. Lincoln and continue to the summit of Mt. Lafayette.
If you were able to reserve a night at the Greenleaf Hut, you are almost there and will soon be done for the day. The Franconia Ridge is so popular, you will need to reserve months in advance. In any case, you can return by the Old Bridal Path, back down to Lafayette Place.
The entire loop hike is about eight miles. You will get a workout, but on a nice day the views are breathtaking. On foggy, overcast days, you won’t see a thing and will have to wend your way from cairn to cairn.
Warning: If the weather turns stormy, and Greenleaf Hut is too far away, turn around and head back down right away.
In the photo, that’s my friend, Bob, in the foreground.