You are currently viewing Cannon Mountain in the Winter

Cannon Mountain in the Winter

New Hampshire’s 4000 footers

DD’s friend Kaylie posted a facebook status looking for partners to adventure with her this weekend, and of course we were all over it! Her original plan was Tecumseh, which is a great 4,000 footer, but we had been talking about bagging Cannon Mountain in the winter, and she was game. Our mutual friend Ashley and of course Jess were also interested so we made a plan to do a little traverse action since we’d have 2 cars. Both caravans left Bangor at 4:45 am to meet at 9 am at the trailhead, giving us time to stop for breakfast and anything else we needed in between.

We got the day started at the parking lot at the Tramway –  there’s access to the ski resort there and in the summer there’s an ice cream place. We parked one car and drove the other over to the Layfayette Campground, off of Franconia Notch Parkway (Interstate 93) and took the Lonesome Lake Trail to High Cannon. The trail was pretty packed so we decided on just Kahtoola MICROspikes, although Willow brought her snowshoes just in case.

The day was beautiful – perfect weather. Bluebird skies, 30 degrees, and no wind. We all removed our layers pretty quickly, but we were glad we had what we did, because it was needed at the top and at some points along the way. Jess and Kaylie had this L.L. Bean jacket that is apparently made with magic.  This hike was significant for Jess, DD and Willow  –  exactly 1 year prior Willow had taken DD on her first White Mountain, and her first 4,000 footer – Pierce.  The weather was similar that day – a bit colder up at the top – and with less snow. This was DD’s 4th 4,000 footer, all in winter/spring conditions! The day they hiked was also the celebration of Willow’s final peak in the White Mountains. This year, however she finally got her winter Washington, and this hike was Jess’s first 4,000 footer!!!! We’d missed the Waumbek peak by about 100 feet a few weekends prior, and it was clearly so she could share in the significance of the day with us. Because we are the #braidedbandits.

The most challenging but awesome part of this trail is the ladder on the ledge. It’s quite sketchy in the winter – the group ahead of us, one girl lost her balance and almost went cascading down the mountain. There was only a small area where you had to hang onto to the trees for dear life, but if you ask me, that was more than enough. It certainly got my heart racing.

It really opened up after the ladder climb, and we had AMAZING views of Franconia Notch that were well worth the heart racing climb.

We hit the final ascent up the mountain to the Fire Tower after a nice viewpoint, and I was soooo super pumped. I had heard that the views were pretty spectacular, and I was not disappointed!

Here’s our #LoveMaineAdventuresLive – Live from the top!


Oh my it was so cold and windy at the top, so we didn’t spend much time. We headed over to the ski lodge to warm up for a bit and check it out before descending the mountain. I’d packed some trusty Geaghan’s beer in my pack for the summit celebration! It was too cold to celebrate at the top, and Cannon Mountain actually has a bar, so I just hydrated with my Icebreaker while descending. It was delicious! The ridge views were remarkable. Breathtaking, really.

The trails were so broken in and steep, that we mostly slid down on our butts. We finally embraced it and had some fun with it.


We had a brief trail walk back to the car. We checked out the Ski Lodge for future reference, before heading back to Bangor.

Trail Stats:

Elevation: 4,100 feet (1,250 meters)
Prominence: What is Prominence? 740 feet (226 meters)
Location: Franconia, Franconia Notch State Park, NH
Range: Kinsman Range
Coordinates: 44°9’23” North     71°41’54” West
Rating: How do the ratings work? Moderate / Difficult (Due to steep and loose dirt trail)
Features :Cannon Mountain Ski Area, Old Man of the Mountain Site, Shortest 4,000 Footer Hike
Distance of highlighted hike: 5.6 miles

Have you hiked Cannon? What season? Let us know in the comments below!

Peace – DD

Like this post? Awesome! Pin it so others can like it too!


Want to support our adventures? Purchase something from one of our affiliate links! WE APPRECIATE IT!


Florida born, Maine living. Outdoor life is for me. I love adventures - hiking -photography - running - camping - reading - creating - learning - traveling - deep eddy vodka - cats and living, basically. Follow me on social - @DanielleDorrie