Trail Connections – US Rte. 3 to US Rte. 302


 
The Franconia Range is nearly as high, and some would say even more impressive, than the better-known Presidential Range to the east. Beyond Franconia Ridge, the AT climbs over several peaks as it proceeds towards Crawford Notch. Three of the eight AMC huts are either on or near the AT in this section. The AMC hut system provides sleeping accommodations (bring your own sheets), breakfast and dinner. Reservations are strongly encouraged.
 
From the south, this section starts just to the east of I-93/US Rte. 3 on Franconia Notch Recreation Path and begins climbing toward Franconia Ridge. When the ridge line is reached, Franconia Ridge Trail comes in from the south (Mt. Liberty’s summit is a short hike from this intersection). The AT turns north and ascends Little Haystack Mountain (and Falling Waters Trail), Mt. Lincoln and Mt. Lafayette. AMC’s Greenleaf Hut is a little over a mile down Greenleaf Trail from Lafayette’s summit. The AT arcs back towards the east, climbs over Mt. Garfield, and then passes junctions with Garfield Trail and Gale River Trail from the west and Franconia Brook Trail and Frost Trail to the east. AMC’s Galehead Hut is a short hike on Frost Trail. The AT then climbs over South Twin Mountain with its junction with North Twin Spur Trail, and Mt. Guyot which has a junction with Bondcliff Trail. Zealand Mountain (accessed via a short spur trail) is next, and then the AT descends towards picturesque Zealand Falls where AMC maintains a hut. Just before the hut, Lend-a-Hand Trail comes in from the west. Soon after the hut, the AT reaches a junction with Zealand Trail and then continues towards junctions with Thoreau Falls Trail and Shoal Pond Trail which each have multiple access routes to trailheads on the Kancamagus Highway and US Rte. 302. Finally, the AT reaches Crawford Notch and US Rte. 302 after passing side trails to Arethusa Falls, Ripley Falls and Frankenstein Cliff.
 
[Please NOTE: The trails in the White Mountains retain their original names on trail signs even when portions of those trails are part of the Appalachian Trail. The AT is often denoted by the AT symbol on those signs and the AT is marked by white blazes. To be consistent, we label any trail that is part of the AT as the AT. However, local signage does not always reflect this. It is advisable to carry a trail guide to avoid any confusion.]
 
The nearest towns are: Woodstock and Lincoln, south on US 3/I-93; Franconia, north on US 3/I-93; Bartlett, east on US 302; and, Bretton Woods (in Carroll) west on US 302. Woodstock, Lincoln and Franconia have downtown areas with a number of shops. The largest of the three is Lincoln. Both Bartlett and Bretton Woods are home to ski resorts (Attitash Mountain is in Bartlett). Total distance: 27.7 miles
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US Rte. 3 to US Rte. 302

(Franconia Range area)

 

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