Franconia Ridge Trail Loop Gets Boost In Federal Budget
$1.1 million appropriation will support needed trail repairs for one of the White Mountain’s busiest hiking destinations.
BOSTON, MA, March 15 – The Franconia Ridge Trail Loop – an 11.4-mile trail that can see up to 1,000 hikers per day in peak season – will undergo much needed repair and realignment as the result of a $1.1 million federal budget appropriation secured by Senator Jeanne Shaheen and signed yesterday by President Joe Biden. The work will be coordinated and led by the Appalachian Mountain Club (AMC) under the direction of the United States Forest Service.
The trails that comprise this loop were built between 1826 and 1958 before the advent of current knowledge and practices of building trails for resiliency. The Appalachian National Scenic Trail has followed this portion of the Franconia Ridge Trail for nearly a century.
“The Franconia Ridge Trail Loop has offered some of the best hiking in New England for more than a century, and this funding will ensure that these heavily-travelled trails can be enjoyed safely by hikers for years to come,” said Susan Arnold, Interim CEO for AMC. “Beyond the positive impact on recreation, we know that well-maintained trails also serve as one of our most effective conservation tools, protecting fragile ecosystems by limiting foot traffic to a narrow area. This is a win-win for conservation and recreation.”
“The beautiful Franconia Ridge Loop is regularly visited by tourists and lovers of the outdoors and is a key driver of our outdoor recreation economy in New Hampshire. That’s why I prioritized securing more than $1.1 million to restore and preserve this beloved space in the White Mountain National Forest. I’m eager to see vital work on this trail begin for the benefit of generations of Granite Staters to come,” added U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire.
The Franconia Ridge Trail Loop is comprised of four trails, which are some of the busiest in the region: Franconia Ridge Trail; Falling Waters Trail; Greenleaf Trail, and Old Bridle Path, from which hikers can access AMC’s Greenleaf Hut. 8.6 miles of these trails are on the White Mountain National Forest (WMNF).
“Decades and centuries of use leave these trails in need of significant repair to ensure they can be enjoyed by future visitors and to protect the fragile environments they traverse,” said Arnold.
The Franconia Ridge and Greenleaf trails traverse fragile alpine habitat, and portions of the Falling Waters Trail with its numerous river crossings have been heavily damaged by recent storms. All of the trails need significant repair – and in some locations realignment – to ensure a resilient future for both the trail loop and the surrounding natural areas.
The trail loop spans both state and federal lands and is maintained by AMC, underscoring long-standing partnerships for the benefit of outdoor enthusiasts.
AMC’s trails department – which will lead the work in close partnership with the White Mountain National Forest as public land manager – is nationally recognized for their expertise in trail management and supports land managers across the Northeast. For more than 100 years AMC has offered professional trail crews that maintain and construct trails. AMC’s trail construction teams are comprised of professional trail crews, youth corps, and staff-led volunteers.
The Franconia Ridge Trail Loop project is anticipated to take five years from planning to execution.
About the Appalachian Mountain Club
Founded in 1876, the Appalachian Mountain Club (AMC) promotes the protection, enjoyment, and understanding of the outdoors. AMC helps people of all ages and abilities to explore and develop a deep appreciation of the natural world. With chapters from Maine to Washington, D.C., guidebooks and maps, and unique lodges and huts, AMC helps people get outdoors on their own, with family and friends, and through activities close to home and beyond. AMC invites the public to support its conservation advocacy and research, youth programming, and care of 1,800 miles of trails.
High-res image of AMC’s professional trail crew here.
High-res image of AMC’s Greenleaf Hut here.
High-res image of the Franconia Ridge Trail here.