Franconia Ridge

Franconia Ridge

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Garfield Trail to Mount Garfield

With sunshine and warm temps forecast for today I was anxious to get out on the hiking trail. So early to rise and I was on my way to the trailhead at 5:00 am. Today's hike would take me up the Garfield Trail to Mount Garfield, another 4,000 footer that I could add to my completion list.

Sunrise on the drive to the trailhead

Cloud-capped Presidentials



Easy under

Furled ferns

When I arrived at the trailhead parking lot it was already full, this was 6:30 am and one more person pulled in as I started my hike. It was a nice, cool morning and it felt good to be out on the trail this early. A hiker and her dog soon passed me, I would see them again as they made their descent from the summit. I only saw one other hiker coming down in the next 4.8 miles to the trail junction.

Sunlight through the forest mist

Two-tenths of a mile to the summit from here

Reaching the Garfield Ridge Trail I met three more hikers on their way to the summit of Garfield. I followed them up the last two-tenths of a mile. This was the steepest part of today's hike but it wasn't too bad. I reached the summit and was rewarded with some spectacular, unobscured 360 degree views.

South view

North view

East view

There was a cool breeze blowing at the top and I found it necessary to put on some long sleeves. Clouds were covering some of the distant higher summits but the views were clear in every direction. I like to get a panoramic video whenever I can and politely asked the three hikers that were there if they would mind sitting behind the old fire tower foundation while I did this. They were very nice about it and obliged. Thanks guys! We talked for a bit, I got something to eat and some pics and then began my descent.

Summit of Cannon Mountain

Galehead Hut

As I made my way down I was surprised at the number of hikers making their way up to the summit. There was also a lot of dogs enjoying the trail today. I had no idea Mount Garfield was so popular, but now I know why. The Garfield Trail makes a gradual ascent to the summit and is well protected in the event of inclement weather. Its bare, granite summit provides a scenic panorama that includes a spectacular view into the Pemigewasset Wilderness.


Painted Trillium

Big mushroom

Blowdown that didn't fall across the trail

Back at the parking lot I could see where all the people and dogs came from. When I arrived at the trailhead early this morning there were eleven vehicles in the parking lot and now there were thirty lined up and down the road. I'm sure there were other trails seeing heavy use today. On the way home I passed by the Appalachia trailhead and along with a full parking lot there were cars lined up along Route 2.

Watching the parade of hikers

A last look at Owl's Head in the Pemigewasset Wilderness

Mount Garfield

Book time for this hike to the summit of Mount Garfield is four hours. The trail was in good condition, it took me three hours up and two hours and fifteen minutes down. With an elevation of 4,500 feet Mount Garfield was #26 for me on my quest to complete the 4,000 footers. This was an awesome hike and I'm going to add it to my favorite hiking trails! 

Panoramic view from the summit of Mount Garfield

Having Fun in the Great Outdoors!

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