Distance 8.9 miles
Gain 3,900 feet
Why it’s grand This 9-mile hike is among the best single-day samplers of the White Mountains, and a good warmup for the classic Presidential Traverse (backpacker.com/pres). You’ll tag three summits, cross alpine terrain, and pass three waterfalls as you traverse 1.7 miles of Franconia Ridge.
Do it From the Lafayette Place trailhead, ascend via the steep Falling Waters Trail, and come down via the Greenleaf and Old Bridle Trails. Weekdays are less busy.
Nineteenth-century logging in this area helped inspire the legislation that created the East’s national forests.
Contact (603) 536-6100; fs.usda .gov/whitemountain)
Season May to October