Cannon Mountain via Lonesome Lake Trail

Mountain:  Cannon Mtn. (4100')
Trails:  Lonesome Lake Trail, Kinsman Ridge Trail
Region:  NH - Central West  
White Mountain National Forest, Franconia Notch State Park
Location:  Franconia, NH
Rating:  Moderate/Difficult  
Features:  Summit, views, lake, brooks, 4000-footer
Distance:  6.2 miles  
Elevation Gain:  2400 feet (cumulative)  
Hiking Time:  Typical: 4:25  
Outing Duration:  Typical: 6:30  
Season:  Fall
Hike Date:  10/20/2007 (Saturday)  
Last Updated:  09/01/2019  
Author:  Mark Malnati
Companion:  8 SDHers and 1 dog

Group on tower (photo by Mark Malnati) Route Summary   

We will hike up Lonesome Lake Trail until it reaches Kinsman Ridge Trail. Then we will follow Kinsman Ridge Trail to the observation tower at the summit of Cannon Mtn.

From the parking lot, the Lonesome Lake Trail crosses a bridge and heads through the campground, crossing several campground roads. It climbs slightly from the campground, then turns left and crosses several small brooks; a couple of the crossings are on plank bridges.

After 0.4 mile the Hi-Cannon Trail leaves right while Lonesome Lake Trail continues ahead on long switchbacks. The Hi-Cannon Trail is not dog friendly so we will continue along the Lonesome Lake Trail.

We will hike by the lake then continue on to the junction with the Kinsman Ridge Trail turning right here, and we will summit and enjoy the observation tower at the top. This will take about 5 hours.

Place         Split
Lonesome Lake Trailhead (1770') 0.0 0.0
Jct. Lonesome Lake/Hi-Cannon Trails (2040') 0.4 0.4
Lonesome Lake (2740') 0.8 1.2
Jct. Lonesome Lake Trail/Kinsman Ridge Trail (3400') 1.1 2.3
Jct. Kinsman Ridge/Hi-Cannon Trails (3850') 0.4 2.7
Cannon Mtn. (4100') 0.4 3.1
Jct. Kinsman Ridge/Hi-Cannon Trails (3850') 0.4 3.5
Jct. Lonesome Lake Trail/Kinsman Ridge Trail (3400') 0.4 3.9
Lonesome Lake (2740') 1.1 5.0
Jct. Lonesome Lake/Hi-Cannon Trails (2040') 0.8 5.8
Lonesome Lake Trailhead (1770') 0.4 6.2

Lonesome Lake Trail (photo by Mark Malnati)

  Trail Guide   

Jim crossing water (photo by Mark Malnati) On October 20th, eight hikers and one dog made their way to the top of Cannon. We started out on the Lonesome Lake Trail, visited the lake then made our way to the Kinsman Ridge Trail. We had a couple of interesting water crossings and there were a few comments about the joys of climbing over large boulders. We paused at each junction to regroup and took lots of breaks–a couple of hikers suggested that we rename to the "Seacoast Breakhikers"–but nobody was complaining!

The group enjoyed lunch at the junction just before the summit. We were joined by a squirrel who feasted on a fluffernutter, grapes, raw cranberries, and nuts. I think he liked us. We enjoyed the views at the summit and fielded questions from the tram riders on why we had ski poles when there was no snow.

The hike down went well, we managed to dodge any real rain - it started pouring as we drove out of the parking lot. Driving down 93 we were treated to a vivid double rainbow, it was incredible to see so many cars pulled over to the side of the highway so they could enjoy the view.

Rays (photo by Mark Malnati)


NH - Central West

  Driving Directions   

Jim and Diane (photo by Mark Malnati) The trailhead for this hike is located on the west side of Franconia Notch and is accessed from the Lafayette Place parking area on I-93 in Franconia Notch State Park. There are parking areas on both sides of the Parkway (I-93) with a foot-travel tunnel running underneath the highway connecting the two points.

Traveling northbound on I-93:
  • Take I-93 North through Franconia Notch.
  • Once in Franconia Notch State Park (where there is no median strip and the highway signs are brown instead of green), take the first exit after The Basin.
  • After driving past The Basin parking area, you will see a sign for "Trailhead Parking 1/4 mile", and then the exit sign will simply say "Trailhead Parking". This is the Lafayette Place parking area even though it isn't signed as such from the highway.
  • The trailhead is accessed by taking the pedestrian tunnel beneath the highway to the parking lot on the west side of the notch.

Traveling southbound on I-93:
  • Take I-93 South through Franconia Notch.
  • Once in Franconia Notch State Park (where there is no median strip and the highway signs are brown instead of green), take the first exit after Exit 34B.
  • After driving past Exit 34B, take the next exit signed as "Lafayette Place Campground - Trailhead Parking".
  • The trailhead is located directly off of this parking lot.

Other Notes   

Franconia Notch Hiker Shuttle

Parking lots can fill up quickly in Franconia Notch State Park, especially on weekends and during foliage season. Parking alongside the road is not allowed. A hiker shuttle (about $5 roundtrip per person) is available to transport folks between the trailheads and a large overflow parking area. Please refer to the New Hampshire State Parks website to see details for the Franconia Notch Hiker Shuttle.

More Cannon Mtn. Trail Reports   

Squirrel eating fluffernutter (photo by Mark Malnati) Rainbow (photo by Mark Malnati)

Website by Logo

© 1998-2024
Page copy-protected against website content infringement by Copyscape
The information on this site may freely be used for personal purposes but may not be replicated on other websites or publications. If you want to reference some content on this site, please link to us.