Mount Cannon (4,100′) is well known by skiers, but it is also one of New Hampshire’s tallest mountains. Located in Franconia Notch State Park, Cannon is one of the most underestimated peaks. Though one of the shortest peaks on the list and can be as short as 4.4 miles round trip, many people are surprised when they hike Mount Cannon that it is very steep in sections.
Cannon was once home to the Old Man in the Mountain until the rock formation collapsed in 2003.
Kinsman Ridge Trail – round trip: 4.4 miles, 2,294 feet, 3:22
Hikers can find the Kinsman Ridge Trail by going to the Southeast corner of Cannon Mountain’s tramway parking area. The trail beings following a service road for 120 yards, then turns right and follows the left edge of a clearing for 70 yards before finally entering into the woods. The trail begins moderately, but then steeply by switchbacks. This section is especially eroded. Those hiking in winter should always be aware as this trail crosses a ski route a number of times. You will hike along the Kinsman Ridge Trail for 2.02 miles before reaching the Rim Trail after hiking through scrub, rocks, and over ledges. The Rim Trail is just over 1/10 of a mile to the summit, which features a lookout tower. Winter hikers can enjoy some warmth inside the tramway summit station and even order a hot drink and a sandwich!
Hi-Cannon Trail – round trip: 5.54 miles, 2,564 feet, 4:02
Those who are more adventurous may want to take the Hi-Cannon trail. The hike will begin at the Lonesome Lake Trailhead at Lafayette Place. You will follow a yellow-blazed trail through a campground for 3/10 of a mile before you reach the junction of the Hi-Cannon Trail. The first portion is fairly tame, but once on the Hi-Cannon Trail, you will notice how eroded it is in places and rocky in others. The Hi-Cannon trail is 2 miles long and includes many switchbacks, steep pitches, and even a ladder to climb. You are rewarded with views of Lonesome Lake as well as Franconia Ridge.
The trail will become more gradual as it approaches the junction of the Kinsman Ridge Trail at mile 2.73. You will approach the height of land and a maze of intersecting trails. Keep straight for the summit, which features a lookout tower.
Those looking for a challenge can hike Cannon, over the Cannonballs, and the Kinsmans.
North Kinsman is 3.8 miles from the summit of Cannon
South Kinsman is 4.7 miles from the summit of Cannon
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