NH Family Hikes

Northeast Cannon Ball

Length: 5.8 miles out-and-back

Difficulty (click for info): Hard

Elevation Gain: 2050 feet

Rating (click for info): 8/10

Elevation: 3769'

Prominence: 349'

Driving Directions:
Trailhead is located on Rt. 93, at the Lafayette Place Campground in Lincoln, NH. There are parking areas on both sides of the highway. Heading north, the main trailhead parking is 1.7 miles from the Basin exit. If you parked on the east side of the highway (Falling Waters Trail/Old Bridal Path Parking), walk through the underpass to the other side of the highway.

About the Hike:
Northeast Cannon Ball is the highest of the three round peaks on the ridge connecting Cannon Mountain with North Kinsman. All three are wooded, but Northeast Canonn Ball offers some views from a trailside rock and a blowdown patch. Its limited views are nothing compared to the spectacular vistas found elsewhere in the range, so it usually only visited by hikers pursuing the difficult achievement of the New England Hundred Highest, on which it is number 100. This hike passes by Lonesome Lake on the way up, one of New Hampshire's most popular and scenic mountain ponds, which offers picturesque views of the Franconia Ridge.

The trail starts at the Lafayette Place Campground. Cross the bridge over the Pemigewasset River and head up the campground road. Follow the signs for Lonesome Lake Trail through the campground for 0.2 miles, then turn right where the trail enters the woods. The trail crosses a bridge and heads easily uphill, soon crossing another bridge. Pass Hi-Cannon Trail on the right in 0.2 miles from the campground. The trail climbs gradually, angling across the mountainside on the first of two very long switchbacks. The trail soon becomes rougher, then turns the corner into the next switchback. After a rocky, but not too steep climb, it straightens out and heads toward the lake. It meets the lake at a trail junction 0.8 miles from the last one, where you have the option of a scenic loop around the lake (included in hike mileage). There is a good view across the lake from here, looking up to a higher plateau just below South Kinsman. To proceed on the loop, turn left onto Cascade Brook Trail. The loop heads through the muddy forest around the lake on boardwalks. In 0.2 miles, continue straight onto Fishin' Jimmy Trail as Cascade Brook Trail goes left. It then emerges at the prime viewpoint of the lake, a bridge over the outlet, at a small wooden dam. From here, there are gorgeous views over the water to the Cannonballs and off to the distant Franconia Ridge. The reflections of the mountains in still water are picturesque. If there are no other hikers at the lake, this is a very peaceful place to spend some time. The trail continues around to a dock, where there is a better view of the Franconia Ridge. It is also a good place to go swimming. Here, the Fishin' Jimmy Trail heads off to the left for the Lonesome Lake Hut, just a short distance away. Turn right onto Around-Lonesome-Lake Trail to continue around the lake. After passing a few viewpoints over the lake, the trail enters a bog. Boardwalks take the trail through the peat moss, crossing several inlet streams. In 0.2 miles from the dock, the trail leaves the bog and arrives at a trail junction. On the way back, you can follow Lonesome Lake Trail along the north shore for 0.2 miles past a few viewpoints up to the Kinsmans and Cannon Balls back to the beginning of the loop.

From the junction, turn left onto Lonesome Lake Trail, which continues through the boggy environment and leads flat for 0.2 miles, then begins to climb. The trail then becomes rough and rocky and climbs steeply for 0.4 miles, then eases again again continues 0.2 miles to a trail junction near Coppermine Col. Turn left onto Kinsman Ridge Trail. This trail climbs very steeply for 0.3 miles, with a tricky rock scramble near the end, to the summit (a small clearing on the right side of the trail). Just before reaching the summit, the trail passes a tall rock on the right which provides Northeast Cannon Ball's best view. From here, there is a good view across to nearby Cannon Mountain, with the Franconia Ridge behind. To the southeast is Mt. Liberty, and through the trees to the far right, you can see Mt. Osceola, Scar Ridge, and Mt. Tecumseh. Continue 0.1 miles past the summit to a second viewpoint in a blowdown patch, where you can see the Kinsmans through the trees.

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