Mount Lafayette is a 5260 feet mountain at the northern end of the Franconia Range in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. It is one of the most popular day-hike destinations in the White Mountain National Forest due to spectacular views at its summit and its location beside Interstate 93. The upper portion of the mountain is located in the alpine zone, an area where only small vegetation exists due to the harsh climate.
A variety of trails lead up over 3,000 vertical feet (900 m) to its exposed summit. The Greenleaf Trail begins at the parking lot for the Cannon Mountain tramway and ascends to the Appalachian Mountain Club's Greenleaf Hut, then continues to the summit. The Bridle Path trail follows a western spur ridge of Lafayette from Lafayette Place Campground on Interstate 93 past Greenleaf Hut and joins the Greenleaf Trail, reaching the summit 1.1 miles after the hut. The peak is at the junction of the Garfield Ridge Trail, which follows the ridge northeast to Mt. Garfield, and the Franconia Ridge Trail, which leads south to Mts. Lincoln, Liberty, and Flume. Both the Garfield Ridge Trail and the Franconia Ridge Trail form part of the Appalachian Trail.
A very popular hike is to make a loop combining the three most notable summits of the Franconia Range. The loop starts with the Old Bridle Path to the AMC Greenleaf Hut. From there, one takes the Greenleaf Trail to the summit of Mt. Lafayette. Turning south along the Franconia Ridge Trail, one passes over Mount Lincoln and Little Haystack, then descends via the Falling Waters Trail, which connects back with the beginning of the Old Bridle Path. This loop is 8.9 miles long, with a cumulative elevation gain of about 3900 feet.
Mount Lafayette is the highest point in the Franconia Range, a line of peaks along the east side of Franconia Notch. It is the highest peak in New Hampshire outside of the Presidential Range, ranking sixth in elevation on the list of New Hampshire four-thousand footers and fourth in topographic prominencehttp://www.peaklist.org/USmaps/newenglandsummits.gif
on the New England Fifty Finest list.
On the western side, its lower slopes lie inside Franconia Notch State Park. The remainder of the mountain lies within the White Mountain National Forest. The summit marks the western border of the Pemigewasset Wilderness Area within the WMNF.