The Horse & Horse is located at the base of Franconia Notch State Park in the shadow of Cannon Mountain, only 3 miles from all the outdoor activities of Franconia Notch. Summer hiking and winter skiing – each season brings a splendor all its own in this ruggedly beautiful corner of New England.
And, at the end of the day, the Horse & Hound welcomes you back to a classic New England lodge in the finest tradition. Enjoy a satisfying dinner, brandy nightcap and a restful sleep before embarking on your next day’s adventures.
New Hampshire offers over 4,000 miles of hiking trails, varying in difficulty from easy-to-follow to highly challenging terrain above the tree line. There are three primary areas to hike within 20 miles of the Horse & Hound. Franconia Notch is known for its breathtaking beauty and refreshing solitude, providing many days worth of excellent hiking only 3 miles from the inn. The hikes range from easy to difficult and take you above the treeline along the Appalachian Trail. The Mount Washington Valley includes the Presidential Range and the venerable Mount Washington. Crawford Notch is located approximately 20 miles from the inn and features gorgeous mountain scenery and a good variety of hiking trails.
Franconia Notch is bordered to the east by the Franconia Ridge, comprising Mount Lafayette (5,249 feet/1,600 m), Mount Lincoln (5,089 feet/1,551 m), and Little Haystack Mountain (4,780 feet/1,460 m), and to the west by Cannon Mountain (4,080 feet/1,240 m) and the sheer face of Cannon Cliff. The notch is traversed by the Franconia Notch Parkway, which winds for 8 miles between the high peaks of the Kinsman and Franconia mountain ranges and required a special act of Congress to sidestep design standards for the Interstate highway system because it is only one lane in each direction. Some of the more popular trails are detailed below.
Appalachian Trail. Located 4 miles from the inn. This amazing trail extends over 2,200 miles from Springer Mountain in Georgia to Mount Katahdin in Maine and climbs thousands of vertical feet over some of the best terrain along the entire Eastern Seaboard. As it crosses New Hampshire from Vermont to Maine, it meanders almost exclusively through the White Mountain National Forest which provides the only portion of the entire Appalachian Trail above tree line as it crosses Mount Lincoln to Mount Lafayette along the Franconia Ridge.
Mount Lafayette. Trailheads located 3 miles from the inn. Traversing 3,550 feet vertical feet over 5-8 miles to the 5,249 foot where The Appalachia Trail crosses the summit with its own Alpine Meadow. Moderate to difficult.
Bald Mountain and Artist’s Bluff. Trailheads located 2 miles from the inn. A two mile trail with a vertical rise of 400 feet. Moderate difficulty. Access at Echo Lake beach. Vistas and a close up view of Franconia Notch.
Greenleaf Trail. Trailhead located 5 miles from the inn. Traversing 7.6 miles with a 2,100 foot rise to the top of Mount Lafayette. Moderate difficulty. The Greenleaf Trail begins in the tramway parking lot at the Cannon Mountain Ski Area to the summit of Mount Lafayette.
Lonesome Lake Trail. Trailhead located 5 miles from the inn. Traversing 3.3 miles rising 1,000 feet to finish at Lonesome Lake. Moderate difficulty. Beautiful hike with the Appalachian Mountain Club (AMC) Lonesome Lake hut available.
A full listing, with trail descriptions and maps, can be found at the Franconia Notch State Park website. For even more detailed trail descriptions and maps, consult the Appalachian Mountain Club White Mountain Guide. Several copies are available in the Horse & Hound Library
MOUNT WASHINGTON VALLEY
The Mount Washington Valley is approximately 20 miles from the inn and is home to the historic Mount Washington Hotel and Presidential Range of the White Mountains, including the infamous Mount Washington. The great natural beauty of these famous peaks and glorious turn-of-the-century grand hotel make this a necessary day-trip.
Mount Washington. Over 3600-4288 feet of vertical climbing spread over 8-10 miles (depending on your trail) takes you to the summit at 6288 feet, the highest peak in the northeast. The mountain boasts some of the planet’s most severe weather with wind speeds recorded as high as 231 MPH. You may also drive to the top of Mount Washington via the Mount Washington Auto Road. A more adventurous climb can be made via the Mount Washington Cog Railway.
The second of three notches which run south to north through the White Mountains is also a New Hampshire State Park containing almost 6,000 acres providing access to many hiking trails, waterfalls, wildlife viewing and spectacular mountain views. Trail descriptions and maps are found on the park website. As always, for more detailed trail descriptions and maps, consult the Appalachian Mountain Club White Mountain Guide. Several copies are available in the Horse & Hound Library.
Winter brings a completely different opportunity to enjoy the Great Outdoors from the Horse & Hound. Over 50 miles of cross country ski trails can be accessed from the front of the inn and cross through meadows and woods, offering some rigorous exercise and some outstanding vistas of the Franconia Range.
NORDIC (CROSS COUNTRY)
Franconia Village Cross Country Ski Center
Maintained by the Franconia Inn and containing over 50 miles of single track trails through woods, over brooks and across meadows. The Franconia Inn graciously allows guests of the Horse & Hound to use the trails free of charge. Connect to the trail in the Horse & Hound parking lot.
Ski Hearth Farm
Approximately 24 miles of trails located 15 minutes from the inn. This historic property was once home to Sel and Paulie Hannah, a young couple instrumental in the development of alpine skiing at Cannon Mountain in the 1940s. It has been beautifully developed to include acres of well-planned nordic ski trails groomed for both skate and classic nordic skiing.
Bretton Woods Nordic Center
The grand resort including the venerable Mount Washington Hotel. Approximately 20 miles from the inn. Bretton Woods features a wonderful new nordic ski center and over 80 miles of trails groomed for both skate and classic nordic skiing.
Often described as the mountain with soul, Cannon is a challenging north-facing mountain surrounded by the White Mountain National Forest and Franconia Notch State Park. Located only 3 miles from the Horse & Hound and owned and operated by the State of New Hampshire, Division of Parks and Recreation, the lack of commercial development because of its location makes this a special and unique mountain. Classic New England skiing at its best.
SKI Magazine’s 24th Annual Reader Resort Survey described this venerable mountain as follows:
“There’s keeping it real, and then there’s Cannon, the state-run ski area with bottomless soul…it offers a huge mountain, great views across the notch and beyond, cheap tickets and real people who love to ski.”
The grand resort including the venerable Mount Washington Hotel. Approximately 20 miles from the inn. Bretton Woods is New Hampshire’s largest ski area with over 450 acres of downhill skiing on 62 trails.