Old Bridle Path or Greenleaf?

vftt.org

Help Support vftt.org:

This site may earn a commission from merchant affiliate links, including eBay, Amazon, and others.

NH2112

Active member
VFTT Supporter
Joined
Mar 15, 2018
Messages
161
Reaction score
76
Location
Jackman, ME
A friend and I are hiking Lafayette Sunday, and I’m trying to decide which trail to take. Neither of us have done much hiking all summer long due to the heat. Greenleaf is a mile shorter according to the AllTrails app, and looking at the map it doesn’t seem to be too terribly steeper (3300’ over 3 miles vs 3400’ over 4 miles.) The way I’m looking at it, taking Greenleaf instead of OBP will let us summit Lafayette and Lincoln for the same distance, albeit more elevation obviously. I’ve also heard Greenleaf has nowhere near as many people. Does anyone have a recommendation? Thanks.

ETA My friend doesn’t want to do the loop since Little Haystack isn’t a 4K. I’ve done Haystack already so it doesn’t hurt my feelings not to climb it again.
 
Last edited:
Skook is the most pleasant way to get Lafayette. Better/same views as the other trails with none of the people. Not as eroded. Easier parking situation, too.
 
Of those two choices, Greenleaf. You will avoid the conga line for the most part. Franconia Ridge will be completely mobbed on a nice weather weekend. Parking will also be easier.
 
Of those two choices, Greenleaf. You will avoid the conga line for the most part. Franconia Ridge will be completely mobbed on a nice weather weekend. Parking will also be easier.

Tell me about it! I hiked Little Haystack Labor Day weekend last year, and had to park about 4/10 mile north of the trailhead on the side of I93. The only mountain I’ve ever seen that many people on was Monadnock. Temps at the summit are only forecast to hit the low 40s so maybe some people will stay home.
 
Temps at the summit are only forecast to hit the low 40s so maybe some people will stay home.

Not everybody checks the weather....

Alltrails is pretty unreliable. That number sounds like it might be the old trail before the Parkway was constructed. WMG has 3.8/3400' one-way (50' rev) for Greenleaf and 4.0/3550' one-way (50' rev) for OBP + Greenleaf to the summit.

I do think Greenleaf is underrated. The bottom long slog next to the Parkway is pretty boring, but up by Eagle Cliff is gorgeous, and I don't recall anything as steep as the Agonies on OBP. And you will avoid the crowds, at least to the hut.
 
I totally forgot I had “The 4000-Footers of the White Mountains” on a shelf at home, which pretty much backs up the WMG. So I’ll bring that along with the maps and we can figure out our route tonight. We’re driving up from different directions and camping on the Kanc, so with 2 vehicles we can start & end at 2 different points. Maybe up Skook and down Greenleaf, the hut will be a welcome break by the time we reach it.
 
Well 3 months with no hiking at all, and only 2 or 3 shorter trips in the last 6 months due to foot & heel problems (Achilles tendinitis & plantar fasciitis) meant that Lafayette via Greenleaf was a little too ambitious of a hike. We got a pretty late start, too. So, at 1410 and about 1/2 mile from the Greenleaf hut we turned back, knowing it’d be 1600 at the earliest when we summitted and most of the descent in semi-darkness or darker. We both had headlamps but Greenleaf was pretty tricky in areas. Next time something a little less strenuous to start with, maybe Willey.
 
Well 3 months with no hiking at all, and only 2 or 3 shorter trips in the last 6 months due to foot & heel problems (Achilles tendinitis & plantar fasciitis) meant that Lafayette via Greenleaf was a little too ambitious of a hike. We got a pretty late start, too. So, at 1410 and about 1/2 mile from the Greenleaf hut we turned back, knowing it’d be 1600 at the earliest when we summitted and most of the descent in semi-darkness or darker. We both had headlamps but Greenleaf was pretty tricky in areas. Next time something a little less strenuous to start with, maybe Willey.
Willey is very steep, Id try easier peaks to get your legs back. Jackson, Pierce, Waumbec, Hale, Tecumseh all are on the easy side.
 
Willey didn’t look too steep from the contour lines on the map, but then again neither did Greenleaf! I’ve already done Tecumseh but my partner hasn’t, and it does seem like a good trainer. Kearsarge North is only an hour from me, too, and along with Chocorua & Monadnock is where I started my “real mountain” weekend hikes.
 
Willey didn’t look too steep from the contour lines on the map, but then again neither did Greenleaf! I’ve already done Tecumseh but my partner hasn’t, and it does seem like a good trainer. Kearsarge North is only an hour from me, too, and along with Chocorua & Monadnock is where I started my “real mountain” weekend hikes.

Willey from the South side, particularly the stretch from Ethan Pond Tr Jct to summit is VERY steep, easily as steep as anything on Greenleaf, although I don't remember the footing being as rough. A 1,000 ft climb in a mile is a fairly steep trail, especially if that grade goes on for miles. Nothing ever seems that steep on the maps with the scale and how small all the lines are. Do the math to decide if it is steep or not. I'd set your sights on a shorter summit to get back in the swing of things. A lot of the short 4k's have pretty awesome views like Pierce, Jackson, Osceola, etc.
 
Well 3 months with no hiking at all, and only 2 or 3 shorter trips in the last 6 months due to foot & heel problems (Achilles tendinitis & plantar fasciitis) meant that Lafayette via Greenleaf was a little too ambitious of a hike. We got a pretty late start, too. So, at 1410 and about 1/2 mile from the Greenleaf hut we turned back, knowing it’d be 1600 at the earliest when we summitted and most of the descent in semi-darkness or darker. We both had headlamps but Greenleaf was pretty tricky in areas. Next time something a little less strenuous to start with, maybe Willey.

Starting at 2 pm is usually not a good idea for any hike requiring substantial distance and/or elevation gain. Start as early as possible. Good suggestions for easier 4ks have already been made by Sierra and Day Trip. Mt Crawford is one of my favorite NH 3ks. Its not "easy" because its a fairly steep 2.5 miles (2100 feet of elevation gain) but its still only 2.5 miles. And you won't find a better viewpoint.
 
Last edited:
My go to "hangover hike" (Late start) is Waumbek in Jefferson. Its about as well graded as any trail to a 4 K in the whites and Starr King is a nice intermediate summit to turn around if burning daylight. Its wide trail quite easy to follow with a head lamp if someone is burning daylight. It also faces west so the issue of early sunsets due to mountains to the west is less. Kearsage North is also another good option albeit not a 4k.
 
Sorry I misread your post to say 14:10 was your starting time. General advice still holds. Start early. I like to be on the trail by 8 Am, but 7 Am for a long hike (Adams) and it was 6 Am for Owls Head.
 
My go to "hangover hike" (Late start) is Waumbek in Jefferson. Its about as well graded as any trail to a 4 K in the whites and Starr King is a nice intermediate summit to turn around if burning daylight. Its wide trail quite easy to follow with a head lamp if someone is burning daylight. It also faces west so the issue of early sunsets due to mountains to the west is less. Kearsage North is also another good option albeit not a 4k.

A 4K would be nice because my hiking partner likes bagging them, I’m less discriminating but if one comes up I’ll go for it. Kearsarge North has a great view and is fairly strenuous for me, but I think I’d like to try a different route sometime. Chocorua is still probably my favorite, and my favorite route to the summit is Piper-Weetamoo-Hammond-Liberty. In 2 or 3 trips that way I’ve only run into a few people, nobody seems to know about Weetamoo. In windy conditions you’re sheltered all the way except for the small ledges on Hammond/Liberty and the last bit before the summit.
 
Sorry I misread your post to say 14:10 was your starting time. General advice still holds. Start early. I like to be on the trail by 8 Am, but 7 Am for a long hike (Adams) and it was 6 Am for Owls Head.

We definitely started way too late, I don’t think either of us woke up till 0730. We both slept poorly, too, my partner because he forgot his sleeping pad and it got down around 40 at Big Rock campground, me because he snored all night! Next time it’s separate tents LOL. We should have started at least 2 hours earlier, but he’s kind of a dawdler. Next time, though!
 
Ear plugs really help. For most folks a standard backpacking pad is not enough. Either go with an extra thick one or bring two. I grudgingly lugged a spare Z rest on the back of my pack in addition to a thermarest on my recent trip. It made a difference. Definitely age related.

Kearsage North does have a unofficial route via the former mountain bike trail. It is blazed in faded red paint and starts at the outlet brook of the pond on the Weeks Brook Trail. It eventually comes out about 1/3 of mile up the road from the trailhead. It is as well graded as the Kearsage North trail but like the KN trail the last stretch up the summit cone is steeper.
 
I used my new NEMO Tensor 25 pad, 3” thick and only needing about 30 big breaths to inflate. I doubt I’d use it in temps much lower than what we saw since it’s not insulated. It weighs less than a pound and packs down to the size of a 0.5l bottle, though. I have a Therm-A-Rest Trail Pro and Exped DownMat 9 for cold temps, a little heavier and bulkier to carry but better than freezing all night!

A friend recently biked from KN to Bartlett Mt, I don’t know if this is the trail you mentioned but it might be worth a try sometime. I don’t know how she got to the summit of KN with a bike, though - carrying it up seems almost impossible as riding it up!
 
Chocorua immediately went to a top-ten experience for me (and you know all about it), so I'll recommend...

The Moat Mountains: some similar views, and good stuff in any case, much easier. Also a fun and easy ridge walk.

Now, if you really want a ridge walk, try the Shelburne-Moriah trail from Wild River: gorgeous all along and (as often happens) the break-out at tree-line is breath-taking. I took a light over-night pack and stealth-camped up high and then again after descending the Moriah Brook Trail about half of its length. Such luxury! Bring an ultra-light spinning set-up and fish too.
 
I was supposed to hike the Moats with a group last October, but it was the Sunday that the big rain & wind storm rolled in so we did Eastman instead. Thanks for reminding me about them, I’m moving up to Jackman ME within the next month but I’ll definitely make it down for hiking the Whites. Shelburne-Moriah looks like a good hike, too. Maybe I’ll get my friend to ask his wife if he can make a weekend of it sometime.
 
Top