Our Top 10 Destination Recommendations
Here are our favorite things to see and do in the White Mountains of NH.
Some are well know, some not so well known. Have a look around as we have included photos, videos, information and links.
They are in no particular order.
1. Kancamagus Highway
No region of the United States is more famous for its stunning displays of fall foliage than New England. New Hampshire’s Kancamagus Scenic Byway, a 34.5-mile section of Route 112 running through the White Mountain National Forest
While in the area you may want to visit Clarks Trading Post for some shopping or Alpine Adventures for some fun.
What to See and Do
Step back in time by stopping at the Russell-Colbath Homestead. Built in the 1800s, this restored farmhouse, now a museum, is all that remains of the former farming and old logging community of Passaconaway, NH. The historic house sits 13 miles west of the Kancamagus Highway, in Conway.
As you continue along the highway, ascending 2,860 feet up the Kancamagus Pass, to the highest point of the highway, stop to appreciate the views at various scenic lookouts. The Sugar Hill, Pemigewasset and Hancock overlooks make for nice photo ops, as well as Falls Pond and Rocky Gorge. Another scenic highlight is a short and easy hike of less than half a mile to see the picturesque Sabbaday Falls, a popular stop on the highway.
Road-trippers might want to plan to hop out of their cars for a bit after they descend the highway into Lincoln – at the end of the route. At the Loon Mountain Ski Resort, the Franconia Notch Bike Tour (running until the first week of October) offers a chance for drivers to work their legs at a relatively easy pace while in the midst of the scenic fall foliage. You don’t have to be an expert biker to take this self-guided tour; a shuttle bus will bring you to the start of the tour at Echo Lake, where the relaxed downhill ride to Loon Mountain begins. As you ride along, stop and gaze at New Hampshire’s natural wonders, including the Flume Gorge and the former site of the Old Man of the Mountain.
If you’re passing through Lincoln at the end of September, consider participating in the New Hampshire Highland Games, the largest Scottish cultural event in the northeastern United States. Activities include whiskey tasting, dancing, music and traditional athletic competitions.
Before heading home from Lincoln, make the obligatory stop at Clark’s Trading Post, where the Clark family has welcomed visitors for more than 70 years. Florence and Ed Clark opened Ed Clark’s Eskimo Sled Dog Ranch in 1928. Their plan was to attract White Mountains visitors with their pure-bred Eskimo sled dogs and goods from the far north, as well as souvenirs, tonic and maple candy. After the Clarks purchased a black bear in 1931, visitors began to take notice of this growing attraction as the couple trained their animals to entertain passers-by. If circus-like animal acts aren’t your cup of tea, you can still pick up authentic New England souvenirs, including maple syrup and stoneware.
Source: Travel Channel
2. Mount Washington Auto Road
The Mount Washington Auto Road — originally the Mount Washington Carriage Road — is a 7.6 mi (12.2 km) toll road that extends from New Hampshire Route 16 in Green’s Grant, just north of Pinkham Notch, westward across Pinkham’s Grant and Thompson and Meserve’s Purchase to the summit of Mount Washington in the White Mountains of the US state of New Hampshire. The road climbs 4,618 ft (1,408 m) from an altitude of 1,527 ft (465 m) at the bottom to 6,145 ft (1,873 m) at the top, an average gradient of 11.6%. The road was completed and opened to the public in 1861.
Since 1861, a spectacular, steep eight-mile scenic road that leads to the top of Mount Washington, the highest peak in the Northeast. Drive yourself or take a 2 hour guided tour in company vans. Mt. Washington State Park and the Mt Washington Observatory are at the summit.
Click here to see a full video tour
3. Cannon Mountain Ski Area & Aerial Tramway
Cannon Mountain Ski Area is a state-owned ski resort located on Cannon Mountain in the White Mountains of New Hampshire, United States. Cannon is located within Franconia Notch State Park and offers 10 lifts servicing 265 acres (1.07 km2) of skiing (168 with snowmaking). Cannon has 23 miles (37 km) of trails and a north-northeast exposure and has the only aerial tram in New Hampshire. Cannon has the most vertical of any ski area in New Hampshire, 2,330 feet (710 m), and is the seventh largest in New England. US Olympic skier Bode Miller grew up skiing at Cannon.
A crowd-favorite for decades, Cannon feels perfectly balanced between a stunning natural environment within the pristine confines of Franconia State Park, and an active base lodge with plenty of places for families to unwind and have fun. Of course, the real appeal is the variety of trails on offer here. Over 70 trails include plenty of black diamonds leading off from the 4,000-foot peak — the highest in the Whites. For families, the resort features a smaller ski area separate from the main mountain, with more than a dozen beginner and intermediate trails, and a more relaxed vibe that sets it apart. The onsite ski school offers lessons in the area for kids ages 4 to 12. These classes tend to be cheaper than at other nearby mountains, and multi-day discounts are available. Throughout the winter, Saturday nights are “family nights,” with night skiing under the lights, and movies, magicians, and other performers in the lodge. The fun doesn’t stop when the snow does. Cannon’s Aerial Tramway runs throughout the year, offering breathtaking views of the Franconia Range and surrounding peaks.
Best For: Kids (3-6) Kids (7-9) Tweens (10-12) Teens (13+)
4. Mt Washington Observatory
Even in the height of summer, the summit of the 6,288-foot Mt. Washington feels chilly and windy, but thatâs nothing compared to what it’s like in winter, when its location at the crossroads of three storm tracks have earned it the title of the “world’s worst weather.” Intrepid meteorologists man a small observatory at the summit all year, dutifully transmitting weather information and earning bragging rights for just surviving. For us mere mortals, a museum is open at the summit from May to October, with exhibits that explain the weather patterns as well as Mt. Washington’s geology and ecology. For a more in-depth view tours give a behind-the scenes look at the life of these extreme weathermen, demonstrating the instruments they use to track the wind and snow (advance reservation required). Finally, if you are not up for the climb to the top, a separate Weather Discovery Center in nearby North Conway has excellent interactive exhibits great for kids, including a recreation of the original weather station, which recorded a 231 mph wind gust, the second highest ever recorded, in 1932.
Best For: Kids (7-9) Tweens (10-12) Teens (13+)
5. Mt Washington Cog Railway
Climb to the top of Mount Washington on the world’s first mountain-climbing Cog Railway trains!
In the early 1800’s, when New Hampshire native Sylvester Marsh declared his intent to build a railroad up the side of New England’s tallest mountain, detractors scoffed he might as well build a “railway to the moon.” Well, more than a century later, “the Cog” is still ferrying generations up the side of Mt. Washington with its ingenious rack-and-pinion technology that has stood the test of time. Half the fun is riding the 30-degree railway, while marveling at the antique steam engines and coaches still in use. The other half is enjoying the spectacular view of the Presidential Range of the White Mountains and beyond — one of the most inspiring sights in New England or anywhere.
Best For: Tots (0-2) Kids (3-6) Kids (7-9) Tweens (10-12) Teens (13+)
6. Story Land
Story Land is a theme park located in Glen, New Hampshire. In the few years prior to opening, the founders, Bob and Ruth Morrell, had purchased a large number of dolls from Germany based on storybook characters. This was the basis for the park.
Check the Video Tour Here
7. Diana's Bath (And Cathedral Ledge+ Echo Lake)
Diana’s Baths is a series of pools and cascades on Lucy Brook about a three quarter mile walk on the Moat Mountain Trail (northern terminus). The section of the trail up to the Baths is ADA with benches along the way. There is a large parking lot, toilets, and trash collection at the site along with a self serve pay station. The parking lot is maintained for winter use.
Diana’s Baths are a must see if you are in the North Conway area and want to experience nature at its finest. Diana’s baths lie along Lucy Brook in Bartlett which is fed from Big Attitash Mountain. During the summer the baths are a great place for children and grown-ups alike to enjoy the tranquility of nature, and explore the many rocks, ledges, cascading falls and pools in the brook. The cascading falls measure Aprox. 75 feet in total height. The hike to Diana’s Baths is a fairly easy 6/10ths of a mile on a relatively flat, wide gravel path. Being part of the US National Forrest System, there is a large parking lot at the entrance to the hiking path and a self service pay station which requires visitors to purchase and display a daily pass on the dashboard your vehicle. This daily pass (currently $3.00 per day) may be used at other national Forrest sites as well. Dogs are allowed along the trails, but owners must clean-up after their pets. While in the area, be sure to visit Cathedral Ledge, Whitehorse Ledge, and Echo Lake State Park which are all located within a few miles of Diana’s Baths.
Check Drone Footage here
8. Attitash Mountain & Park
Attitash has two mountains, both of which offer a variety of terrain. Attitash consists of old New England-style trails. The more challenging terrain on this mountain are narrow trails with challenging fall lines. It also offers a learning center, featuring a Snowbelt, Learning Center chairlift and the Double Double chairlift (627 vertical feet in 11 minutes), which provides access to longer greens trails and the terrain park. Bear Peak was developed by the American Ski Company and features wider trails and glades. Both mountains have high-speed quads, the Flying Bear at Bear Peak taking skiers straight to the summit (1,462 vertical feet in 8 minutes), and the Flying Yankee at Attitash taking skiers halfway up the mountain (860 vertical feet in 6 minutes). There is a lift to the top (1,659 vertical feet) called the Summit Triple, which takes about 13.5 minutes to get to the top.
Winter & Spring Attitash Mountain Resort is more than just a ski area; it is the essence of skiing, snowboarding, and winter lifestyle. Attitash Mountain Resort offers 67 trails across two big, connected mountains that combine traditional New England runs and challenging terrain with modern, wide-open cruisers suited for all abilities. There are also acres of glades and tree skiing and one of New Hampshire’s original progressive freestyle terrain parks. The Attitash Mountain Resort ski school is ready to teach fundamental techniques on accessible learning terrain or coach leading-edge tactics to help you or your family enjoy your active experience and winter passion. Combine that with a popular apres scene, entertaining events and you’re enjoying winter among the White Mountains at Attitash Mountain Resort. Summer & Fall From summer thrills to breathtaking foliage views, Attitash Mountain Resort is a vacation destination for all seasons. They offer a variety of summer attractions, from North America’s longest Alpine Slide to the Nor’Easter Mountain Coaster, the longest in the Mt. Washington Valley. Summer reached a new level in 2014 as we opened the Attitash ZipTour which has the longest single-span zip line in the contiguous United States. Enjoy the spectacular fall foliage here in the heart of the White Mountains and visit us on Columbus Day Weekend for the two-day Oktoberfest celebration at Bear Peak.
9. Flume Gorge
The Flume is a natural gorge extending 800 feet at the base of Mount Liberty. The walls of Conway granite rise to a height of 70 to 90 feet and are 12 to 20 feet apart. A trip into the Flume begins and ends at the Flume Visitor’s Center. Guests can choose to walk through just the Gorge or do a two mile loop. The walk includes uphill walking and lots of stairs. The boardwalk allows you to look closely at the growth of flowers, ferns and mosses found here.
The Flume was discovered in 1808 by 93-year-old “Aunt” Jess Guernsey when she accidently came upon it while fishing. She had trouble convincing her family of the marvelous discovery, but eventually persuaded others to come and see for themselves. At that time, a huge egg-shaped boulder hung suspended between the walls. The rock was 10 feet (3m) high and 12 feet (3.6m) long. A heavy rainstorm in June of 1883 started a landslide that swept the boulder from its place. It has never been found. The same storm deepened the gorge and formed Avalanche Falls.
10. Santa's Village
Santa’s Village is a Christmas-themed amusement park located in Jefferson, New Hampshire, United States. Most of the 23 rides have Christmas or winter-themed names, such as “Rudy’s Rapid Transit Coaster” and “The Great Humbug Adventure”.
What does Santa do in the off-season? Why, he summers in New Hampshire, of course. Kids will be too busy thrilling to the Christmas-themed rides ranging from a Rudolph roller coaster to a Yule Log flume to wonder what the big guy is doing in the White Mountains — especially when they can visit with the elf himself and put in an early request for Christmas. None of the rides are much for older kids, but young kids and toddlers will feel like they’ve died and gone to the North Pole.
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