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New Hampshire > White Mountains Trail - Kancamagus Highway
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White Mountains Trail - Kancamagus Highway



Crawford Notch State Park- Crawford Notch State Park lies within the beautiful White Mountains Regions of New Hampshire.
Franconia Notch State Park- Franconia Notch State Park is a spectacular park located in a mountain pass traversed by a unique interstate parkway which extends from the Flume at the south end to Echo Lake to the north.

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White Mountains Trail - Kancamagus Highway
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General Information

Description - The White Mountains Trail and the Kancamagus Highway combined create a wonderful 100 mile loop through the White Mountains National Forest past some of the most spectacular New England scenery which has remained unchanged for over 200 years. The Kancamagus Highway (SR 112), which extends from Conway to Lincoln is 34 miles. The entire loop includes passing six national forest campgrounds, the towns of Bartlett, Intervale, North Conway, Conway and Lincoln. Nearby attractions include Old Man of the Mountain at Franconia State Park, sights of the Presidential Range, the Pemigewasset Wilderness Area and much more.

Attractions - The scenic road trail is a loop that offers incredible sights of numerous mountain views, rushing rivers, tumbling waterfalls, charming historical sights including covered bridges and 18th and 19th century buildings, beautiful lush wetlands, vast forests and more.

Beginning in North Woodstock along US 3 traveling onto the Franconia Notch Parkway the first sights will be a beautiful covered bridge named Clark's Bridge. Immediately past the bridge is a famous trading post by the same name. Natural sights emerge one right after the other beginning with The Flume Gorge and Old Man of the Mountain which lie within Franconia Notch State Park. The road heads northeast on US 3 to Twin Mountain where it overlaps with US 302 past the colonial Mount Washington Hotel. Heading south it travels into Crawford Notch State Park which offers the usual park amenities such as camping and picnicking and hiking trails. Many trailheads are located along this section with several easy short trails leading to great photography areas such as the highest waterfall in New Hampshire, Arethusa Falls. The next town you'll encounter is Bartlett. You may choose to take a short cut south along Bear Notch Road which bisects the 100 mile loop or continue eastbound to Bartlett Bridge, Intervale and North Conway. Several more scenic bridges near Conway offer spectacular photo opportunities. From here, the Kancamagus Highway completes the bottom loop of the 100 mile road trip. Many more falls, gorges, rushing waterways and overlooks may be enjoyed from the highway pull-offs. Albany Bridge is one of the first sights along this remaining stretch of road. Next to it is Lower Falls with Blackberry Campground and Picnic Ground located on the south side of the road. A beautiful spot is Rocky Gorge Scenic Area where the Swift River has cut through the rock. Falls Pond and a short path offer sights of another beautiful gorge. Up the road is Champney Brook Trail which offers sights of Champney Falls. Next, you'll encounter Jigger Johnson which is a 76-site campground located near the intersection with the lower portion of Bear Notch Road. The Russell-Colbath House is the next sight. It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and has a small walking path which is a good "leg-stretcher." The Passaconaway Campground is located just east of the historic home and it offers 33 campsites, an opportunity to fish and hike several challenging trails which lead to scenic vistas. From this area, views directly north are the Presidential Range / Dry River Wilderness Area and the Pemigewasset Wilderness Area. Traveling east looking to the south side of the highway, you see Potash Mountain which is located at the northern edge of Sandwich Range Wilderness Area. Both the C.L. Graham Wangan Ground and the Greeley Ponds Scenic Area offer picnic, hiking and fishing opportunities. Traveling on the next area of interest is Big Rock Campground and Hancock Campground. There is also a Forest Service Information Center located here. Just before the tourist center of Lincoln, is Loon Mountain Recreation Area. This last stretch of the 100-mile loop is very popular during the fall foliage season. The road is open year-round offering access to many of the local ski resorts, many of which also offer summertime mountain tram rides.

Recreation - Sight-seeing is the main attraction of this beautiful scenic byway. Six national forest campgrounds are found along the route as well as numerous trailheads, 20 of which lead to elevations in excess of 4,000 feet. Sights along the route include: Clark's Trading Post, The Flume Gorge, Falling Waters Trail, Boise Rock, Old Man of the Mountain, Cleveland Overlook, Lower Ammonoosuc Falls, Crawford Station, Silver Cascade, Ripley Falls, Arethusa Falls, Nancy Cascades, Sawyer Crossing, Bear Notch, C.L. Graham Overlook, Pemi Overlook, Loon Mountain and more.

Climate - New Hampshire residents experience four distinct seasons. Winter can be cold with average temperatures ranging around 19 degrees Fahrenheit. The cold temperatures humidity bring heavy, water-laden snow to all parts of the state. Spring begins in mid-March and lasts through May. This time of the year is referred to as mud season in the mountains. The sugar is flowing early in the season and wild flowers bloom toward the end of it. Summer is the busiest season of the year for the tourism industry. This is an excellent time to travel, mountain roads are open and most of the mud has dried. Average summer temperatures range around 68 degrees Fahrenheit. Fall brings the leaf lookers to see the spectacular colors of the deciduous trees. Expect to see bus loads of people enjoying the crisp fall New England weather.

Location - The scenic road begins at the White Mountain Visitor Center in North Woodstock along the US 3 north to I-93 to the Franconia Notch Parkway.


Current Conditions & Trip Reports

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Number of People Encountered: 50+ ppl
Recommend to a Friend: Highly
Report: I stumbled across the Kancamagus Highway on a trip across New England I took last week to see the fall colors. I must say the views were outstanding. Lots of picture taking opportunities with mountains, cliffs and ponds along the way, as well as cool vistas. Definately bring a camera. After driving through I decided that if you are going in search of those breath taking photos, make it a multi-day trip so you can take you time to search out the good shots the day before and then take them in the best lighting conditions of early morning or right before sunset. Also, I came to find out rather quickly, if there are cars parked on the side of the road, slow down and park too, since that is a sure sign that there is something worth seeing. The best views have a habit of sneaking up on you. Only downside is the number of people there. There were quite a few during the weekday, and on my way out I became convinced that the whole population of New York City and Boston migrated up there for the weekend.


More Information

Contact Information:
Kancamagus Scenic Byway, White Mountain National Forest, 719 North Main Street , Laconia, NH, 03246, Phone: 603-528-8721

Additional Information:
New Hampshire Scenic Byways - New Hampshire currently offers two National Scenic Byways, Kankamagus Scenic Byway and White Mountain Trail, as well as fourteen state designated byways.

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