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Greenleaf Hut (elevation 4,200 feet) is situated just above treeline on the west slopes of Mount Lafayette, with great views of both Franconia and Kinsman ridges. It is possible to do a leisurely ascent to the hut on one day, and to climb to the summit of Mount Lafayette and return to the car the next. It can also be used to break the rather strenuous loop over Little Haystack and Mounts Lincoln and Lafayette into two easier days, or as the start (or end) of a traverse of the northern rim of the Pemigewasset Wilderness.

The AMC web site has a page on the Greenleaf Hut, with information on the hut, season of operation and rates. Here I give hiking information that supplements what they offer, describing the most frequently used access routes (with distances, elevation gains and book time), and some of the trips that can utilize the hut, including hut to hut trips.

Getting to Greenleaf Hut and Back

Old Bridle Path

The shorter common route to Greenleaf Hut starts from Lafayette Place, and rises gradually most of the way (ow: 2.9 miles; 2,450 feet; 2:40). The trail starts gently through beautiful open hardwoods. About half way to the hut there are excellent views down into Walker Ravine and up to the ridge. Shortly after that there are a few steep pitches, called "the Agonies" by the hut Croo. Then the grade becomes gentler, and the hut is reached just above treeline. Returning from the hut this is "downhill all the way" (ow: 2.9 miles; 0 feet; 1:25).

Falling Waters, Franconia Ridge and Greenleaf Trails

This is the longer way, which combines the scenic waterfalls along the Falling Waters Trail with the spectacular views on the Franconia Ridge and Greenleaf trails (ow: 5.9 miles; 3,850 feet; 4:50). The Falling Waters Trail starts out with the Old Bridle Path, and soon diverges from it, crossing Walker Brook on a bridge. The trail soon crosses Dry Brook (which can be difficult at high water) and follows it, then one of its branches up, crossing both several times. There are many waterfalls along the trail, hence the name. After the last brook crossing the trail rises steeply to the summit of Little Haystack. From here to the hut it is above treeline, exposed to the weather.

This trail is often used to return to the road by those who have reached the hut by the Old Bridle Path, it has two climbs, from the hut to the summit of Mount Lafayette, and from the col to the summit of Mount Lincoln (ow: 5.9 miles; 1,350 feet; 3:40).

Greenleaf Trail

This trail is used much less often than the other two (ow: 2.7 miles; 2,250 feet; 2:25). It starts from the Cannon mountain Tramway parking lot and, after crossing under the highway, ascends gently to the wild Eagle Pass. From there it rises more steeply to the hut. There are no distant views, the only interesting feature being Eagle Pass. The return trip is also purely downhill (ow: 2.7 miles; 0 feet; 1:20).

Routes to Greenleaf Hut and Back
Route Distance Elevation Gain Book Time
Old Bridle Path, to hut 2.9 2,450 2:40
Greenleaf Trail, to hut 2.7 2,250 2:25
Falling Waters etc., to hut 5.9 3,850 4:50
Old Bridle Path, from hut 2.9 0 1:25
Greenleaf Trail, from hut 2.7 2,250 1:20
Falling Waters, etc., from hut 5.9 1,350 3:40

Hikes From Greenleaf Hut

The only real hike possible from Greenleaf Hut is to the summit of Mount Lafayette and back (rt: 2.2 miles; 1,050 feet; 1:40).

Routes to Neighboring Huts

Routes to Lonesome Lake Hut

The short way of going from Greenleaf Hut to Lonesome Lake Hut is to descend to Lafayette Place by the Old Bridle Path, then take the Lonesome Lake and Cascade Brook trails to Lonesome Lake Hut (ow: 4.5 miles; 950 feet; 2:45).

The longer scenic route is to begin by ascending to the summit of Mount Lafayette, then take the Franconia Ridge Trail to Little Haystack, and descend to Lafayette Place by the Falling Waters Trail. From there take the Lonesome Lake and Cascade Brook trails to Lonesome Lake Hut (ow: 7.5 miles; 2,400 feet; 5:00).

Routes to Galehead Hut

There is only one way of going from Greenleaf Hut to Galehead Hut. Take the Greenleaf Trail to the summit of Mount Lafayette, then follow the ups and downs of the Garfield Ridge Trail, over Mount Garfield (and many smaller bumps) to Galehead Hut (ow: 7.7 miles; 2,950 feet; 5:20). The Garfield Ridge Trail is notorious for being steep and rocky, and more difficult than the numbers might indicate.

From Greenleaf Hut to Neighboring Huts
Route Distance Elevation Gain Book Time
Lonesome Lake by Old Bridle Path 4.5 950 2:45
Lonesome Lake by Franconia Ridge 7.5 2,400 5:00
Galehead Hut by Garfield Ridge 7.7 2,950 5:20