SOUTH KINSMAN | 4,358′ | Strenuous
South Kinsman (4358′) is the highest point on the Kinsman-Cannon Ridge.
Note: for complete trail descriptions, times, elevation, trailhead directions, and major features, see the AMC White Mountain Guide.
Strenuous: South Kinsman is accessed by the Kinsman Ridge Trail, which is part of the Appalachian Trail and traverses the Kinsman-Cannon Ridge. Though it takes days to hike the entirety of the Kinsman Ridge trail, numerous trails ascend to Kinsman Ridge trail, making day trips to South Kinsman possible. The most accessible route begins at Lonesome Lake Trail, which ascends to Lonesome Lake. From the lake, take either Fishin’ Jimmy Trail, Cascade Brook Trail to Kinsman Pond Trail, or continue on Lonesome Lake Trail to Kinsman Ridge Trail. These three trails converge by the Kinsman Pond, just below the summit of North Kinsman (4293′). South Kinsman is .9 miles beyond North Kinsman.
The AMC’s Lonesome Lake Hut, which overlooks Lonesome Lake and is within four miles of the South 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, 2.5 miles south of South Kinsman’s summit. Kinsman Pond Campsite is located on Kinsman Pond near Kinsman Junction, 1.5 miles north of South 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 South 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 South 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 .
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.