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New England hiking worthy of mountaineers

Herb Swanson/

QI have buddies visiting from Montana, and I’d like to show them some great hiking in New England. They’re skeptical about what our “baby” mountains have to offer. Is it too much to ask for a loop hike, with altitude and great views, that’s doable in a day?

Caroll Jones, Auburn

A We have just the hike for you: arguably, the finest daylong loop hike in the White Mountains. Afterward, you’ll never again have to defend our Eastern slopes to your high-altitude Rocky Mountain buddies. Start out on the Old Bridle Path trail, at the Lafayette Place Campground in Franconia Notch State Park. You’ll climb about three miles before reaching the AMC Greenleaf Hut. From here, scramble to the summit of Mount Lafayette, and cross the above-treeline, exposed Franconia Ridge (watch the weather closely). Descend on the Falling Waters trail, passing a series of cascades and falls, right back to the campground. It’s about nine miles round trip — a lot in one day — but the rewards are immense: waterfalls, cold river pools, sweeping,

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ridgeline vistas. Added bonus: You can stop at the Greenleaf Hut to rest, refill water bottles, and pick up a fresh baked cookie or two. And our AMC hut system? That’s worth bragging about, too.

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