Lonesome Lake Trail Closure & Detour

May 11, 2017

AMC will be performing trail rehab, repair and other trail reconstruction efforts on the Lonesome Lake Trail from Monday, June 12 through Friday, July 28, 2017. During this time the section of the Lonesome Lake Trail between the Hi-Cannon Trail junction and the Dodge Cut-Off will be closed to public access. (See map for detail.)

Lonesome Lake Trail closure map

During this trail closure, visitors will be able to access Lonesome Lake, Lonesome Lake Hut, and surrounding trails by hiking the Lonesome Lake Trail to the Hi-Cannon Trail to the Dodge Cut-Off up to the height of land at Lonesome Lake. From there, all trails will be open for access.  This detour will add 0.3 miles of trail and 150 feet of elevation, and the hike to the hut is estimated to take around 15 minutes longer.

The closure will be indicated by signs throughout Franconia Notch State Park, within Lafayette Place Campground, and at nearby trailheads and trail junctions.

AMC and NH State Parks have communicated about this project and both have agreed that temporarily closing this section will provide a safer hiking experience for visitors accessing Lonesome Lake, Lonesome Lake Hut, and the surrounding trails.

Trail crews will be working on a variety of projects that include, but are not limited to: reconstruction of rock steps, repairing and adding drainage structures, and benching. This work will temporarily add many major obstacles and obstructions in the trail while crews quarry rocks and create piles of dirt and crushed stone. Additionally, the steep terrain the trail is cut through presents safety hazards as rocks and other materials are harvested and brought onto the trail. These potential safety issues combined with the high use of this trail are the driving forces behind the decision to temporarily close this portion of the Lonesome Lake Trail.

The main goal with this project is to mitigate causes of trail erosion and to provide a durable, lasting treadway that is safe and enjoyable for all users. The Lonesome Lake Trail receives a lot of foot traffic annually, which strains elements of the trail. Soils become more compacted and, thus, are more vulnerable to erosion; the treadway begins to widen too much or starts braiding into multiple herd paths around trail structures that were installed to provide a more durable surface; and drainage structures that were once effective now are mere obstacles due to soil loss. Installing rock steps, repairing drainage structures, benching areas of the tread, and rebuilding the trail to better accommodate the high use are all methods we will employ that will help prevent erosion and provide a durable, enjoyable trail.

AMC and NH State Parks have had a good collaborative relationship when it comes to trail maintenance, rehab, and repairs over the past decades. This project is another example of our teamwork as we work together to provide safe trails that users can enjoy.

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Zack Urgese

AMC Outdoors, the magazine of the Appalachian Mountain Club, inspires readers to get outside and get engaged. Learn more.