Mount Lafayette: One of World’s Best Hikes

October 12, 2015
Marc ChalufourDramatic views await atop Franconia Ridge.

National Geographic Adventure recently published a round-up of the world’s best hikes, based on the recommendations of 20 accomplished outdoor adventurers. The globe-spanning collection includes trails in Iceland, Uganda, Newfoundland, and New Zealand, among other places—as well as a classic adventure right here in New Hampshire.

Which trail made the cut? The ascent of Mount Lafayette via the iconic Franconia Ridge Loop in Franconia Notch State Park. The trail was recommended by New England’s own Jonathan Waterman, who hiked the trail as a boy before moving on to much bigger mountains and adventures in Alaska and elsewhere.

And it’s not just National Geographic that holds this trail in such high regard. It was also voted the best hike in the Whites earlier this year in the Boston Globe’s Hike the Whites challenge. Per the write-up in this bracket-style, reader-voted competition:

“There are few hikes as iconic, as scenic, or as justifiably popular as the ascent of 5,260-foot Mount Lafayette. The highest peak on the alpine prow of Franconia Ridge, it towers over Franconia Notch to the west and lords over the entirety of the Pemigewasset Wilderness to the east. Lafayette is also one of the most accessible “must-do” hikes in the White Mountains from points south, making it an excellent option for a day-trip from the Boston area.”

If you haven’t yet checked off this life-lister of a hike, now is a great time to do it. Peak foliage is hitting the White Mountains this week, and the omnipresent crowds will markedly diminish now that Columbus Day weekend has passed.

It’s also the last week to stay at AMC’s Greenleaf Hut, which closes for the season this Sunday, October 18. Space is still available Tuesday through Friday this week, providing a fabulous opportunity for two-day adventure.

Go New Hampshire!

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Matt Heid

Equipped blogger Matt Heid is AMC's gear guru: He loves gear and he loves using it in the field. While researching several guidebooks, including AMC's Best Backpacking in New England, he has hiked thousands of miles across New England, California, and Alaska, among other wilderness destinations. He also cycles, climbs, and surfs.