NORTH KINSMAN | 4,293′ | Strenuous
Note: for complete trail descriptions, times, elevation, trailhead directions, and major features, see the AMC White Mountain Guide.
Strenuous: The Kinsman Ridge Trail, which is part of the Appalachian Trail and usually takes days to complete, accesses the summit of North Kinsman, as well as South Kinsman, Cannon, and many lesser peaks. For those planning a day trip, there are a number of trails that provide access to the North Kinsman summit. The most popular route ascends via the Lonesome Lake Trail. From Lonesome Lake the summit can be reached via Fishin’ Jimmy Trail, Kinsman Pond Trail, or continuing on the Lonesome Lake Trail to the Kinsman Ridge Trail, which travels over the undulating Cannon Balls before reaching the summit.
The AMC’s Lonesome Lake Hut, which overlooks Lonesome Lake and is within three miles of the North Kinsman summit, is open from mid-June to early September, offering meals and overnight accommodations.
The AMC’s Eliza Brook Shelter is located on the Kinsman Ridge Trail, 3.4 miles south of North Kinsman’s summit. Kinsman Pond Campsite is located on Kinsman Pond near Kinsman Junction, .6 miles north of North Kinsman’s summit.
Safety in Summer and early Fall
The AMC recommends all hikers check weather conditions in advance, carry a current map and guidebook, along with a compass and knowledge of how to use it. For recommendations on how to plan a safe hike in the White Mountains, see: The 10 essentials for a safe and pleasant hike.
Winter Hiking on North Kinsman
Winter hiking anywhere in the White Mountains requires specialized equipment and skills, and experience in coping with weather, navigation, and winter gear. Extremely severe storms can develop suddenly and unexpectedly, especially above treeline. The combination of high wind and low temperatures has such a cooling effect that the worst conditions on North Kinsman are approximately equal to the worst reported from Antarctica, despite the much greater cold in the latter region. Hikers interested in extending their activities into winter are strongly advised to seek out organized trips with leaders who have extensive winter experience. Several AMC chapters offer winter hiking and backpacking instruction, and AMC offers several guided winter mountaineering trips; search for “Instruction” in AMC’s activity listings. Helpful information can also be found in the AMC Guide to Winter Hiking and Camping .
The Fishin’ Jimmy Trail is named after James Whitcher, a man who once lived in Franconia and was featured in a story by Annie Trumbull Sloson, once a popular New England author.