Kinsmen + Cannon Balls

Chewed up and spat out by the forest


This was a rough day in the Whites. We had plans in the area around 7pm and so wanted to fill our day with time in the mountains, when we probably would have been happier doing something shorter. Alas, we went for it. After a pretty usual, albeit steep and relentlessly uphill hike up to the Kinsmans (or as I say: Kinsmen), we decided to take the unbroken trail across the Cannon Balls on Kinsman Ridge and hopefully bag Cannon too.

Good thing we knew where we were going

As shown above, it was a big year for snow out here. Hooray! Except for when it means breaking trails through damp melty snow where the trail has been raised to exactly the height where branches whip you in the face and tug at your gear with every step. If you haven’t tried this before, I assure you it’s an awkward time that’s tough to maintain morale through if you have miles and miles of it. Also meanwhile you’re trying to find the trail and not step into a spruce trap with your snowshoes, which is difficult since trail markers lie below the snow too. Oh, and it’s juuuuust warm enough to rain, while still being terribly windy and cold. As you can imagine, the views were lacking, too.

All this not to say we had a bad time: any day out in the mountains is better than not. We saw lynx tracks(?) And we got to have one more truly winter hike of the season weeks into “spring”. But by the time we got to our final rise (North Cannon Ball), and had a very steep and dangerously post-holed (what happens when jerks decide to break trail without snowshoes) descent to Lonesome Lake Trail, we were done. We decided to take luxuriously monorailed LL back down and call it a solid day. Sometimes one more peak just isn’t worth it.

Check out a similar hike in which all peaks mentioned above were bagged here.


North Kinsman (4,293 ft), South Kinsman (4,358 ft)


Lafayette Campground


Lonesome Lake, Fishin' Jimmy, Kinsman Ridge

Total Distance

11.46 miles, 4,877 ft elevation gain


Start: 9:51am, 6:34 Round Trip


Chilly, windy, and wet

Trail Conditions

Stable monorail up to the Kinsmans, unbroken trail on the Cannon Balls


Microspikes + Snowshoes

Partners in Crime

Cody and Rye



Rye on Lonesome Lake

Me atop North Kinsman

Cody on South Kinsman

Cody on North Cannon Ball

Evidence of trees grabbing at us the whole way by the look of our gear

Signs of lower ground