The Kinsman Mountains are in the western region of New Hampshire’s White Mountain National Forest and afford tremendous views to the east in the form of the Franconia Mountain Range and the valley below with the scenic and well-visited Franconia Notch State Park. It does not matter which route is taken to summit these 4,000+ foot peaks, the elevation gain is substantial. The most difficult section of trail for the route taken in this Getts Wild video is the two-mile stretch of the Fishin’ Jimmy Trail. This is where the most elevation will be gained in the shortest distance. In other words, it’s very steep! The Appalachian Mountain Club (AMC) and its volunteers have done a lot of trail work and have built wooden ladders and have carved steps into the rock to help hikers navigate this section.
The highlights of the route taken are Lonesome Lake, Kinsman Pond, and the view from the ledge on the summit of North Kinsman. Hikers will also see one of the AMC’s Huts on the shore of Lonesome Lake that serves as lodging for Appalachian Trail through-hikers and weekend hikers alike. The huts can cost over $100/night to stay at and spaces book up fast. Included in the cost is a bunk to sleep on, three hot meals, and bathrooms with running water. There are limited spots reserved for Appalachian Trail through-hikers that can stay the night in exchange for helping with daily chores around the hut.
The Appalachian Trail (A.T.) runs along the Kinsman Ridge, Fishin’ Jimmy, and Cascade Brook Trails and during the summer months it is very common for day hikers to run into A.T. hikers and have the opportunity to talk to them about their trail experiences. In this video, I’m seen with three young A.T. hikers atop North Kinsman mountain. I met and spoke with many others that were not featured in this video, too.
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Route Taken — Northeast approach from Lafayette Place Campground
Lonesome Lake Trail to Hi-Cannon Trail = 0.4 miles
Hi-Cannon Trail to Dodge Cut-Off = 0.8 miles
Dodge Cut-Off to Cascade Brook Trail = 0.3 miles
Cascade Brook Trail to Fishin’ Jimmy Trail = 0.3 miles
Fishin’ Jimmy Trail to junction with Kinsman Pond Trail = 2.0 miles
Kinsman Pond Trail junction to Kinsman Ridge Trail = 0.2 miles
Kinsman Ridge Trail to North Kinsman Summit = 0.4 miles
North Kinsman Summit to South Kinsman Summit (via Kinsman Ridge Trail) = 0.9 miles
South Kinsman Summit to North Kinsman Summit = 0.9 miles
North Kinsman Summit to Fishin’ Jimmy Trail = 0.4 miles
Fishin’ Jimmy Trail to Kinsman Pond Trail = 0.2 miles
Kinsman Pond Trail to Cascade Brook Trail = 2.5 miles
Cascade Brook Trail to Dodge Cut-Off = 1.1 miles
Dodge Cut-Off to Hi-Cannon Trail = 0.3 miles
Hi-Cannon Trail to Lonesome Lake Trail = 0.8 miles
Lonesome Lake Trail to Lafayette Place Campground and parking lot = 0.4 miles Total Route Mileage = 11.9 miles
North and South Kinsman mountains are named after Nathan Kinsman (1741 – 1822). Nathan and his family were early settlers in the valley to the west of the Kinsman Mountain Range in 1782. They were from the Ipswich, Massachusetts area and are local legends for their journey by ox-drawn cart through the Pemigewasset valley wilderness to the area where they eventually settled. Nathan Kinsman was a well-respected citizen who was a doctor, coroner, and farmer in addition to the many other hats that he wore.