Recreation in the White Mountains of New Hampshire
HIKING Lincoln Woods Trail Easy walking on an old logging railroad grade beside the East Branch of the Pemigewasset. At 1.6 miles there’s a riverside view of the distant Bond range. At 2.6 miles a 0.8 mile side trail leads to scenic Black Pond. At 2.9 miles another side trail leads 0.4 mile to the ledges and cascades of Franconia Falls (permit required). Beyond, the Wilderness Trail leads into the Pemigewasset Wilderness. Trail begins at parking area off Kancamagus Highway 5 miles east of Lincoln. East Side Trail This trail follows a gravel road up the east side of the East Branch, opposite Lincoln Woods Trail. At 0.5 mile a side path leads to the river’s edge and a view of Scar Ridge. At 2.5 miles there’s a panorama of mountains from a bank high above the river. At 2.9 miles the trail enters the Pemigewasset Wilderness, leading to scenic spots along the river in another 0.4 mile. Trailhead is same as for Lincoln Woods Trail. Georgiana Falls These falls on Harvard Brook are accessed by an unmarked trail leaving from a parking area off Hanson Farm Road in Lincoln. An easy 1.3 mile hike leads to the Lower in a beautiful wooded setting. The Upper, or Harvard Falls are a steep 0.5 mile farther. (WATERFALL) Beaver Brook Cascades Beaver Brook climbs very steeply alongside a series of long, picturesque cascades, starting at 0.3 mile and ending at 1.1 mile. Trailhead is on Rt. 112 at Kinsman Notch, 6 miles west of North Woodstock. (WATERFALL) Agassiz Basin A series of potholes and cascades on Mossilauke Brook beside Rt 112, 1.6 miles west of Rt 3, North Woodstock. Lost River This natural attraction, a favorite with visitors for over 100 years, includes ParadiseFalls (admission charged). (WATERFALL)
Mountain Country is Bicycling Country!
There are miles of cross-country trails and logging roads for mountain biking, plus scenic roads perfect for on-road biking. Bring your bike, or rent one at one of the many bike shops in the area. Bike rentals are available in Franconia, on the Peabody Slope at Cannon Mountain, at Loon Mountain, and at various spots in Lincoln.
Franconia Notch State Park Bike Path. This 9 mile (one-way) paved path runs the length of Franconia Notch and accesses many major attractions and is one of the area’s most popular bike routes. It’s ideal for first-time visitors, regular biking fanatics, and occasional peddlers alike.
In the Lincoln/Woodstock Area
Loon Mountain. Ride on alpine ski trails or one of the easier routes for a relaxing ride on cross-country biking trails. Loon also offers a shuttle service that will take you and your bike to Echo Lake in Franconia Notch to take the Franconia Notch State Park Bike Path to the Flume and you ride back to Loon (a minimum ½ day ride).
Routes 3 and 175 from North Woodstock offer several choices of short, medium, and long loops. Head south on Rt 3 from North Woodstock and turn left on Route 175 about a half-mile from downtown. Follow Rt 175 until the following intersections: For the short loop (6 mi.) turn right at the fire station. For the middle loop (18 mi.) turn right at Cross Rd. For the longer loop (30 mi.) turn right on Route 49. Follow each of these roads to Route 3, turn right and head back north on Route 3 until you return to North Woodstock. Beware: Rt 175 does not have a shoulder but has little traffic.
The White Mountain National Forest. Most of the National Forest is open to biking. Many old roads are excellent for mountain bikes. The Forest Service does ask that bikers avoid muddy trails and stay on designated roadways. The White Mountain National Forest Bike Map is available at the Visitors Center in Lincoln.
A poet once wrote that it is the journey, not the arrival that matters; he might well have had the White Mountains in mind. Choose any route and just head up the road. Each one has its special rewards-scenes of pastureland and forest, charming New England villages and wide open mountain views. Only here would the drive along the interstate, I-93, afford some of the best views to be had.
I-93 and Franconia Notch Parkway. From Woodstock north on I-93 to where the highway becomes the Franconia Notch Parkway (in Lincoln), this stretch of road is amazingly scenic, affording spectacular views of long vistas. The parkway takes you through Franconia Notch State Park, and between the towering peaks of the Franconia and Kinsman mountain ranges.
The Kancamagus Highway. Undoubtedly the most scenic route in the White Mountains, the Kancamagus (k?an-c?a-mä-g?us) Highway (Rt. 112) stretches from the Pemigewasset River at Lincoln in the west 34 1/2 miles to Conway in the east. The views are dramatic:
Crossing the flank of Mt. Kancamagus, this National Scenic Byway climbs to nearly 3,000 feet. There are numerous scenic outlooks and scenic areas, so plan to stop along the way. The scenic areas, which have been designated by the Forest Service to preserve their outstanding or unique beauty, include the Rocky Gorge Scenic Area, right off the highway; Sawyer Pond and Greeley Ponds Scenic Areas, a half day’s hike over Forest trails.
Please note there are no gas stations or other services along this route.
Rt. 112 from North Woodstock to Bath. While the Kancamagus ends in Lincoln, Rt. 112 continues through North Woodstock and Kinsman Notch, and Easton, as well as the Connecticut River Valley. A beautiful route off the beaten path.
Rt. 118 from North Woodstock to Warren climbs steeply through beautiful woodlands and offers a sweeping view near the height-of-land.
Rt. 117 from Rt. 302 to Rt. 18 is wonderfully scenic as are…
Rt. 142 from Franconia to Bethlehem, and…
Jefferson Notch Road from near the Mt. Washington Cog Railway base to Rt. 2, and…
Mt. Clinton Road from Crawford Notch and Rt. 302 to the Cog Railway base. All along these routes you’ll find superb views, hiking or walking trails, waterfalls and picnic areas. Along the way, look for these covered bridges:
Clark’s Railroad Covered Bridge. Located on White Mt. Central R.R. at Clark’s Trading Post, this 120 ft. long bridge is the only Howe truss railroad bridge left in the world. Built in 1904, it spans the Pemigewasset River.
Jack O’Lantern. This 76 ft. span was built over a pond at the Jack O’Lantern Resort on Rt. 3, Woodstock.
Sentinel Pine Bridge. Built in 1939, this 60 ft. 5 in. footbridge spans the Pemigewasset River at The Pool in Franconia Notch State Park. It is named for a tall pine that once stood near the pool; the pine was felled by the 1938 hurricane, and the bridge was built atop it.
Flume Bridge. This c. 1886, 50 ft. bridge spans the Pemigewasset River in Franconia Notch State Park. Of paddleford truss construction, it has a hikers’ walkway on its north side.
Moose sightings are quite common in Mountain Country. Most common sightings are along Route 118; on the Kancamagus Scenic Byway especially near the Passaconaway Campground; and around Crawford Notch. Moose are often on the move at dawn and dusk, especially in low lying or swampy areas. If you see one – brake! If you want to watch them, pull safely over to the side of the road (watching for other cars), and stay in your car! Best bet: take a moose and wildlife tour with Pemi Valley Excursions, they’ll take you on a scenic tour of the best moose watching areas in the White Mountains. Remember, these animals are wild and can move quickly and unpredictably. Also, by staying in your car, you will be less likely to disturb the moose, and will more likely enjoy a longer period to view this majestic beast.
Beaver Brook Cascades Long, picturesque cascades .5 miles in next to a very steep section of the Beaver Brook Trail. Trailhead is on Rt. 112 at Kinsman Notch, 6 miles west of Rt. 3, N. Woodstock.
Agassiz Basin A unique series of potholes and cascades on Moosilauke Brook beside Rt. 112, 1.6 miles west of Rt. 3, North Woodstock.
Georgiana Falls These falls on Harvard brook are accessed by an unmarked trail leaving from a parking area off Hanson Farm Rd. in Lincoln. An easy 1.3 mile hike leads to lower falls in a beautiful wooded setting. The Upper, or Harvard Falls, are a steep 0.5 mile farther.
Bridal Veil Falls are reached by Coppermine Trail ( a 5 mile roundtrip hike from the trailhead off Rt. 116 near Franconia Village).
The Basin is a large pothole pool, also called “The Old Man’s Foot Basin.” Waterfall enthusiasts should take the opportunity to follow the Basin-Cascades Trail for more lovely views, cascades and waterfalls.
Falling Waters 5 falls can be seen along this trail which begins opposite Lafayette Campground.
The Flume Gorge The walk through this 800 ft. natural chasm takes you past waterfalls and scenic pools. Your visit is enhanced by a free 15 minute movie on Franconia Notch State Park and the informative displays in the Visitor Center. (Admission charged for the Gorge.) Avalanche Falls, once called Flume Cascade is located at the head of the Flume.
ALONG THE KANCAMAGUS HIGHWAY
Franconia Falls Located off the Lincoln Woods Trail, the falls are 3.2 miles in on a very level and easy trail. There are cold clear pools and a hip-wide water chute. Park on the Kancamagus Highway 4 miles east of Lincoln.
Lower Falls and Rocky Gorge On a hot summer day, these are especially popular. Lower Falls has pools with fast and slow-moving water, small sandy beaches, picnic tables, parking and changing rooms. Swimming is prohibited in Rocky Gorge, but you can take a dip in the pools above the falls.
Sabbaday Falls No swimming is permitted, but these picturesque falls are well worth the .3 mile easy walk from the parking area.