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Mt Cannon in Franconia Notch

Mt Cannon - Franconia Notch

This awesome cliff face is Mt Cannon (4,100 ft) in Franconia Notch. I climbed it last Sunday during a surprisingly blustery day, that required me to pull out a fleece and a warm hat on the windy summit.

I didn’t actually climb the cliff head-on, although I did pass rock climbers who were intent on doing so. Instead I hiked up the Kinsman Ridge Trail on the north side of the mountain. This is a very steep trail that rises 2,000 ft in 2 miles. It’s a surprisingly rough trail, but nowhere near as rough as the Hi-Cannon Trail which I used to hike down. They must both be wonderful to climb with crampons and double ice axes in the winter.

Mt Lafayette and Mount Lincoln on Franconia Ridge

The views from the top of Mt Cannon are quite amazing. The forested dome in the picture above is one of the sub-peaks of Cannon called a Cannon Ball. Just beyond it is the mountain pass called Franconia Notch and a 2,000 ft drop (the other side of Cannon cliff) to the interstate highway that runs though it. Beyond that, the bald summit on the left is Mt Lafayette (5,260 ft) and the peaked one to the right is Mt Lincoln (5,089 ft). Those are both tough climbs from the highway, rising more than 3,000 feet in less than 3 miles.

In addition to the trail, there is also a tramway that runs to the top of Mt Cannon, parallel to the Kinsman Ridge Trail. It’s open daily, from the end of May to late October, the height of leaf-peeping season. Built in 1938, it was the first tramway to be built in North America, and carried over 6 million people to the top of Mt Cannon before it was rebuilt in 1980.

Cannon is now the 47th peak on the White Mountain 4,000 footer list that I’ve climbed, which just leaves Mt Isolation at the base of Mt. Washington in Oakes Gulf.


  1. have skied Kinsman Ridge. Heinous. would not want to hike up it. always windy on that mountain. beautiful rugged place.

  2. I was up there planning to hike Cannon Sunday, but off and on rain and most of the mountains being lost in the clouds changed my mind. Hiked to Bridal Veil Falls instead, which turned out to be decent weather-wise, and always a good hike – my first time there without snowshoes!

  3. This video of the area is nice:

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