Franconia Range

Range TypeMountain range with well-recognized name
Highest PointMount Lafayette (5240+ ft/1597+ m)
CountriesUnited States
States/ProvincesNew Hampshire
Area61 sq mi / 157 sq km
Area may include lowland areas
Extent14 mi / 22 km North-South
6 mi / 9 km East-West
Center Lat/Long44° 9' N; 71° 38' W
Map LinkMicrosoft Bing Map

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The Franconia Range is, not surprisingly, the highest and most important range of the vast Franconia Region. In all the Appalachians, it ranks third behind the Presidentials and Katahdin in above timberline acerage, making its crest a popular and spectacular hike. Mount Lafayette (5242') is the dominant peak at the north end of the 6-mile range, and the narrow, treeless crest then runs south over utterly minor Mount Truman (5100'), somewhat minor Mount Lincoln (5089'), and the open shoulder of Little Haystack (4500'). A circut hike from U.S. 3 on the Old Bridle Path, Franconia Ridge Trail, and Falling Waters Trail, going along this crest, is one of the classics, and well worth it just for the views, even if it can get crowded.

South from Little Haystack the ridge becomes forested, but the fine rocky cone of Mount Liberty (4460') rises out of the trees further south, and the impressive western cliffs of Mount Flume (4327') mark the southern end of the impressive part of this range. Mount Osseo (or Whaleback, 3586') and the Coolidge Mountains (Big at 3294' and Little at 2421') lie to the south, trailless since the Osseo trail was re-routed several years ago.

The northeast extention of the Franconia Range, extending from Mount Lafayette's high north ridge, is the rugged Garfield Ridge. The Garfield Ridge trail, part of the Appalachian Trail, is known as one of the rougher footpaths in the White Mountains, climbing over many forested knolls with rough footing. Mount Garfield (4458'), a rocky cone much like Mount Liberty, is the ridge's high point.

Another spur of the Franconia Range is the forested crest of Owls Head (4023'), cradled in the horseshoe formed by the Franconia, Garfield, and Twin Ranges and lying in the heart of the Pemigewasset Wilderness. Infamous as the only 4000 footer in New England without an official trail to its summit, and one of the most remote from a trailhead, it is usually ascended by means of a steep, miserable landslide path on its west flank. Many a peakbagger has cursed his way up the crumbling rock and dirt of the slide and the steep herd path to the top to find no views for his exertions.

Map of Franconia Range
Click on red triangle icons for links to other ranges.

Note: Range borders shown on map are an approximation and are not authoritative.
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Other Ranges: To go to pages for other ranges either click on the map above, or on range names in the hierarchy snapshot below, which show the parent, siblings, and children of the Franconia Range.
Franconia AreaLevel 5 (Parent)
         Franconia RangeLevel 6
         Twin RangeLevel 6 (Sibling)
         Willey RangeLevel 6 (Sibling)
         Pemigewasset RangesLevel 6 (Sibling)
         Moat-Bear Notch AreaLevel 6 (Sibling)

Major Peaks of the Franconia Range

Ten Highest Peaks
RankPeak NameftmRange6
1.Mount Lafayette5240+1597+Franconia Range
2.Mount Lincoln50891551Franconia Range
3.Little Haystack4760+1451+Franconia Range
4.Mount Garfield4480+1366+Franconia Range
5.Mount Liberty44591359Franconia Range
6.Mount Flume43281319Franconia Range
7.Owls Head40251227Franconia Range
8.Garfield Ridge38851184Franconia Range
9.Hardwood Ridge38341169Franconia Range
10.Garfield Ridge West36671118Franconia Range
Sub-peaks are excluded from this list. List may not be complete, since only summits in the PBC Database are included.

Photos of Peaks in the Franconia Range

Mount Lafayette

Looking south from the summit of Mount Lafayette at the spectacular crest of the Franconia Ridge (1981-07-10).
Mount Lincoln

Mount Lincoln is the far high bump on the crest of the Franconia Ridge (1981-07-10).
Little Haystack
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Franconia Ridge (Flume, Liberty, Little Haystack, Lincoln, Truman, and Lafayette), Garfield, and Owl's Head from Osceola (2006-09-27). Photo by Rian Laub.
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Mount Liberty
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Mt Flume (foreground) and Mt Liberty (background) (2006-08-30). Photo by Rian Laub.
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Mount Flume
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Mt Flume (foreground) and Mt Liberty (background) (2006-08-30). Photo by Rian Laub.
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Owls Head
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Cairn on top of Owls Head (2014-06-20). Photo by Wayne Snyder.
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