Best places to visit in New Hampshire for Fall Foliage

There is nothing like Autumn in New England. After our road trips across Vermont, New Hampshire & Maine, we couldn’t agree more. Have you seen mountains covered with hue of red, orange & yellow trees? If not, I would suggest to plan your next fall season driving across New England region of USA. We bet, it will be the best memories you will make admiring the spectacular shades of the nature.

New Hampshire is beyond beautiful during Fall season. Everywhere we looked we were at awe. In this blog, we will take you to all the places we visited during our stay in New Hampshire. Here are the best places you can visit or things you can do during your visit in New Hampshire for Fall Foliage

Explore the Kancamagus Highway

A 34.5 mile scenic byway along NH 112 from Conway to Lincoln (or vice-versa) in northern New Hampshire,  Kancamagus Highway is one of the best fall foliage drives in the country. It is indeed the most spectacular place to get a glimpse of brilliant colored fall foliage in New Hampshire. The drive along the orange & red mountains near Kancamagus pass is just an unforgettable experience and believe us no pictures can justify how beautiful the place looks like !

It was raining on and off when we started and spent about 5-6 hours driving, stopping at overlooks, snacking , admiring views, hiking short trails and clicking countless pictures.

Tips – If you are visiting on a weekend (of course during fall foliage), expect lot of traffic so plan accordingly. There is no service area along the highway so fuel up (in Conway or Lincoln) and come prepared with food. It can rain anytime so bring rain gears. Download an offline map in the phone as there is no or limited network.

Note : If you are looking for an audio guide, you can check this audio only tour here

Drive the Mt Washington auto toll road

There are 3 ways to reach the summit of Mt Washington. 1st – Cog Railway (i.e. by Train), 2nd – Auto toll road (i.e. by driving yourself) & 3rd – Hiking (not easy one though).  We opted to drive on the Mt Washington auto toll road. It was a beautiful and adventurous drive up to the top of the mountain. We were lucky to have a clear sunny day with no clouds, however it was very cold up there. 

It is a narrow road so drive only if you are comfortable. While coming down it is advisable to use lower gear because of the slope. Also, take breaks in between to cool down the brakes.

There are restrictions on the weight of the vehicle i.e the interior weight of the vehicle should be less than 900 lbs. You can check the website to learn more. We have a Kia Sportage and had no issues while going up or coming down.

It was very cold and windy up on the mountains, so bring layers.

Hike the Artist Bluff

Artist Bluff is a very popular hike in New Hampshire for fall foliage. It is a1.5 mile round trip with insane views from the top. Since, it’s very popular, would suggest to hike early in the morning. You can also combine the hike with Bald Mountain.

Hike the Flume Gorge trail

Flume Gorge in Franconia State park is an easy nature walking trail. It is about one way 2 mile loop trail. You will find colorful trees, cascading waterfalls, wooden cover bridges and more. Advance reservation is required to visit the trail.

Take the Cannon Mountain Aerial Tramway

Another popular thing to do in Franconia Notch State Park is taking the Cannon Mountain Aerial Tramway to the Cannon Mountain summit and enjoy the colorful views from the top. Unfortunately, when we visit the tramway was closed for the year. You can check all the details here.

Enjoy the views from Mt Willard Summit

One of the most popular hike in Crawford Notch state park is Mt Willard Trail. It is a 3.1 mile out and back moderate hike. The views from the top are absolutely  insane. Please be careful on the edge as it gets windy at the summit.

Hike the Table Rock Trail

If you have extra time, drive further north to Dixville Notch and hike the Table Rock Trail. It is 1.5 mile out and back. The view from above is breathtaking specially during fall.

Book a Stay with a lake view

We loved this lakefront property specially in Fall. The reflection of colorful trees on the lake were absolutely breathtaking. We booked two such properties during our road trip – Huttopia in Albany, NH and Cabin stay in Whitefield, NH. Also, recently (in 2022) we stayed at this beautiful property (for glamping) near Lincoln – You should definitely  check that as well – Lumen Nature Retreat.

You can find many such properties on Airbnb or Vrbo. Do book way in advance as these properties gets sold out very fast. 

Where we ate

There are lot of food options in Lincoln and Conway. 

We loved Polly’s Pancake parlor for breakfast. They serve one of the best pancakes in the area. Our favorite was Ginger bread with walnuts, Oatmeal with coconut, and original with chocolate chips. Visit early in the day to avoid crowd and queue.

Where we stayed

We booked two Lakeside property in Huttopia in Albany, NH and Cabin stay in Whitefield, NH. As mentioned above, you can find many lakeside properties listed on Airbnb & Vrbo. You can also checkout here for stays in Conway, NH or Lincoln, NH.

Time to visit

First week of October is considered as the best time to visit New Hampshire for Fall Foliage, though you can visit anytime from September last week to mid week of October to enjoy fall colors. You can keep an eye on the tracker to follow the updates. 

How to Visit

Road Trip would be a great idea to explore New Hampshire in Fall Foliage. You can rent a car based on the airport you are landing or city you coming from. Landing on Boston MA or Burlington, VT airport would be a great idea. You can find the price comparison for rental cars here.

Along with visiting New Hampshire you can add Vermont and Maine for fall foliage.

We had an amazing time driving, hiking and just sitting across the lakeside property witnessing one of the most beautiful season. Hope this post inspires you to plan the upcoming year’s fall foliage trip to New Hampshire. Pin it or bookmark the post if you have plans to see next year’s Fall Foliage in New Hampshire.  

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