North and South Kinsman

Date of Hike: 12/14/12
Basin-Cascades Trail: 1.0 miles
Cascade Brook Trail: 0.5 miles
Kinsman Pond Trail: 2.5 miles
Kinsman Ridge: Trail 3.0 miles
Fishin' Jimmy Trail: 2.0 miles
Lonesome Lake Trail: 1.6 miles
Bike Path: 1.4 miles
Total Miles 12.0
3,700 feet elevation gain
Trip Report:
- On Friday Alton and I drove to the Cannon Mountain Tramway and spotted a car with Ryan, Kristina, and their dog Jack before heading over to the Basin to meet up with Kelsey and Brian.
- The plan for the day was to hike up to Kinsman Ridge, turn south over North and South Kinsman, then turn back north and head through the dreaded Cannonballs all the way to the northern terminus of the Kinsman Ridge Trail.
- We started off on the Basin-Cascade Trail, a trail that I had never been on and didn't even know it existed until recently.  It is a really pretty trail as it ascends next to Cascade Brook by Kinsman and Rocky Glen Falls, and then travels through a mini box canyon.  The brook and falls are half frozen over with a dusting of snow and ice so it looked like a winter wonderland.
- The trail was very icy so within a few tenths of a mile we all put on our light traction (microspikes and hillsounds).  This helped out a lot, especially when navigating the tricky water crossing on the Cascade Brook Trail.  Unfortunately for Jack the puppy he had to be helped out a little bit so he put on his lil' cape and Ryan sent him flying through the air to me and he safely made it across!
- As we ascended toward Kinsman Pond the snow covered the trail and made for a pleasant hike.  It was Kelsey and Brian's first winter condition hike, and they wanted to get a feel for what to expect.  They did a very good job and Brian excelled eventhough he had the backpack with his and most of Kelsey's gear in it.
- Once we got to Kinsman Pond we were rewarded with an excellent view of North Kinsman looming right above us. From the pond we passed by the Kinsman Pond Shelter where we took a nice break before heading to the Kinsman Ridge.
- Up until this point the trails conditions were decent, enough snow and ice making perfect conditions for light traction.  However from here on out conditions changed for the worse, the trails become an ice rink!
- As we headed up to North Kinsman the trail became an ice luge in places.  At one point Kelsey slowly slid about ten feet back down the trail, she was fine and was laughing all the way.
- We hiked over North and descended into the North/South Kinsman Col and made good time up to South Kinsman where the views across to the Franconia Ridge were incredible!
- We took a break on the South Kinsman summit flats and enjoyed the views until we got chilled and turned back to make our way back over North Kinsman.
- I knew that the icy conditions would be even worse through the Cannon Balls and was starting to think about bail out options.  Luckily Ryan and Alton thought the same as me.  We were having a great hike and it was best not to push our luck so we decided it would be a good idea to head down everyone's favorite trail, the Fishin' Jimmy Trail.
- The Fn' Jimmy Trail was even worse then the Kinsman Ridge Trail!  Ice everywhere, no way to avoid it, I was shocked and never have seen such bad conditions. 
- We all made it through the ice chutes, carefully climbing our way down and being safe.  There were a few spots where Ryan and Kristina had to help Jack out by carrying him down these sections which was a wicked cool to see them maneuver down the ice while holding Jack.
- The ice finally thinned out enough that it was easy going about a quarter mile from Lonesome Lake Hut but there was still enough that we left on our traction until the lat mile of the Lonesome Lake Trail.
- It felt great to take off the microspikes, except Kelsey thought they were still on and slipped and fell twice within fifty feet, she got beat up a little bit but kept on truckin'.
- When we hit Lafayette Place, Kristina, Ryan, and Jack headed north along the bike path back to their car while Alton, Kelsey, Brian, and I headed south back to the Basin to our cars.
- It was a smart move to leave the Cannon Balls for another day as the weather started to move in over the higher elevations as the day went on.  We timed the hike perfectly and were thrilled to get in a great hike and rewarded ourselves with a yummy dinner and drinks at the Woodstock Inn Brewery, where Brian celebrated by eating the 'Double Death by Burger' - 26 oz. of meat!!!
Basin Trailhead
 Basin-Cascade Trail Junction
 Cascade Brook
 One big dead tree!
 Kinsman Falls
 Kinsman Falls
 Crossing Cascade Brook
 Cascade Brook Cascade/Pool
 Cascade Brook in the early morning
 Rocky Glen Falls
 Box Canyon
Cascade Brook 
 Jack flying through the air!
Kinsman Pond Trail 
 Kinsman Pond Trail
 North Kinsman
 Kinsman Pond
 North Kinsman
 Kinsman Pond Trail
 Kinsman Pond Shelter
 Kinsman Ridge Trail
 South Kinsman
 Alton leading the way
 Kinsman Col
 On South Kinsman
 Franconia Ridge from South Kinsman
 Mount Lafayette and Lincoln
 Cannon Mountain (lower left), Lafayette and Lincoln on the right 
 South Kinsman Summit
 Appalachian Trail north bound
 South Kinsman false summit
 Kinsman Ridge Trail
 Kinsman Pond and the Franconia Ridge
 South Kinsman
 Kinsman Ridge Trail
 Iced over trail
 Glaze Ice
 Rust Ice
 Wood Ice
 Fn' Jimmy Trail
 Ryan helps Jack out on the Fishin' Jimmy Trail
 Kristina and Alton look for a safe way down for Jack
 Fn' Jimmy Trail
 Fishin' Jimmy Trail
 Lonesome Lake Hut
 Lonesome Lake Hut
 Lonesome Lake and the Franconia Ridge
 Lonesome Lake
 Lonesome Lake with North and South Kinsman
Pemi Bike Path


  1. Thanks for a great trip report with details. Appreciated all your fine photos as well. I especially like the pictures of the ice flume trails and the sparkling pic of Franconia Ridge. Hope to hike the Kinsmans on Saturday via LL Hut/Fishin Jimmy.

    1. Hi Jack, glad you liked the pictures. Hopefully there will be some snow to cover up all the ice so it will be a lot more enjoyable to hike. Have a fun weekend up there!

  2. Wow, so glad we did the Kinsmen in the summer :) Great photos.

    1. It was the worst I've ever seen a trail, slow going on the ice but it was still a lot of fun. I prefer them in the summer too!

  3. And to think its not quite winter yet :) Great pictures and report Chris!

    1. Winter is close! Good luck on your single season winter 48!

  4. Nice trip report and really great photos of the ice! Cannon via KRT from the tramway wasn't a picnic that day, either. Same sort of nasty ice flows. Took me an hour longer than usual to do the round trip due to the ice.

  5. Chris,
    Wow! That is some scary looking ice. I'm sore just thinking about the falls I would have had. I hope NH gets some serious snow before I head back up. Great pictures per usual. - Marvin

    1. Looks like snow is coming, let's hope there is a lot of it. Have a greeat winter hiking Marvin!