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Fall Foliage in New Hampshire 2024

Nature Bursts into Color in the Granite State

New Hampshire delivers its colorful fall foliage earlier in the season, peaking as early as mid-September. In the White Mountains, take a scenic drive along the Kancamagus Highway (Route 112), between North Conway and Lincoln, NH. A bit further north are the Franconia Notch and Crawford Notch state parks, where vistas are magnificent. Moose can be spotted in the Great North Woods region. In the Lakes region, crystal lakes add some blue to the view near Lake Winnipesaukee and Lake Squam. Be sure to take a camera and pose with one of the state’s picturesque covered bridges.

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Fall Foliage in New Hampshire - Coastline near Portsmouth, NH

Essential Resources:

Foliage Driving Routes in New Hampshire

White Mountains Region:

The Kancamagus Highway/Route 112 -- 34 miles

One of New England's more spectacularly beautiful drives, the 34-mile Kancamagus Highway -- known by locals as "the Kank" -- cuts an east-west channel through the 800,000-acre White Mountain National Forest. Views are breathtaking, so take all the time you can and don't miss a single pull off.

Fall Foliage in New Hampshire - Scenic Drive on the Kancamagus Highway
Points of Interest:
  • Kancamagus Scenic Byway
  • Sabbaday Falls, on the Kancamagus Pass, drops 40 feet into a small emerald green pothole the opens as a slide into a 20-foot horsetail into a tight gorge. Stop to look and have a picnic; no swimming, though! The falls is well-marked, off Route 112 (Kancamagus Highway) between the towns of Lincoln and Conway.
  • Cannon Mountain Aerial Tramway at Cannon Mountain in Franconia is an 80-passenger cable car that takes visitors to the 4,080-foot summit of Cannon Mountain. On a clear day, you can see the mountains of four states and Canada! At the summit, you'll find spectacular scenic walking paths, an observation deck, café and a bar. Open through late October. Check website for schedule and fees.
  • Lost River Gorge and Boulder Caves, North Woodstock (603-745-8031). One-mile walk through wooded mountains with plenty of wooden walkways, stairs, bridges, scenic outlooks. Small caves and passageways are aside the trail; you can avoid cave exploration if you prefer.
  • Rocky Gorge Scenic Area, Conway
  • Antique Shopping. The town of Bethlehem, just 20 miles north of Lincoln, is a fertile area for antique shopping. One local favorite, in operation since 1992, is Hundred Acre Wood on Main Street in Bethlehem. A couple of barns are packed with almost anything you can name, from Mickey Mouse Club-era toy cars to license plates of the United States. Fun browsing. Continuing a little farther to the northwest, Littleton is home to Purple Peacock, good for a solid hour of poking about. Littleton also provides nourishment at Chutters, which claims to have the world’s longest candy counter, mostly of glass jars of penny candy. Perfect snacking when you are shopping for old-time gems.
    Shifting to a southwesterly direction, you are headed toward Sugar Hill and Applewood Antiques, at 580 Route 117 and right next door to Polly’s Pancake Parlor, another dining bonus to keep you energized for the hunt. If you had headed southward from Lincoln from the start (none of these towns is far from each other), you would bump into the lovely town of Woodstock and Arnold’s Antiques on Main Street. Bric-a-brac, antique jewelry, and glassware galore.

Antique Shopping in Northern New Hampshire

Pinkham Notch Loop -- 100 miles

`This loop drive affords some spectacular views of the Presidential Mountains and surrounding countryside, including Mount Washington. A good side trip at Pinkham Notch is a climb up the Mount Washington Auto Road, presenting one of New England's most spectacular mountain vistas.

Fall Foliage in New Hampshire - Pinkham Notch Loop ATV Riding at Jericho Mountain State Park in Berlin - Photo Credit NH Division of Travel and Tourism Development
Points of Interest:
  • Mount Washington Auto Road, Route 16, Pinkham Notch in the White Mountains National Forest (603-466-3988).
  • Crawford Notch State Park, Route 302, Harts Location in the White Mountains National Forest (603-374-2272).
  • Town of Jackson and Jackson Covered Bridge is a beauty, and it resides right in the heart of the town geographically and culturally. Great for photographers and painters. A town covered bridge dance is held here every summer. This town had fun gifts shops and restaurants.
  • Cider Co. on Route 302 in Bartlett.is a delightful stop is your love apples, cider, and good food generally. Enjoy the restaurant and café and market, and even apple pressing on the weekends.

Lakes Region

Lake Winnipesaukee loop -- 75 miles

New Hampshire's largest lake presents beautiful views across the water as you meander through delightful towns and villages with famous names, including Laconia, Wolfeboro, Moultonborough, and others that convey images of a grand vacation. The area is a premiere summer vacation resort, so there are lots of attractions and fun shopping for visitors. Not all attractions are open past mid-fall; phone ahead for hours.

Fall Foliage in New Hampshire - Lake Winnipesaukee Loop - Photo Credit Dan Houde
Points of Interest:
  • Mount Washington Cruises on the M/S Mount Washington from Weirs Beach (603-366-5531). Cruise this beautiful lake during foliage season and watch the glorious colors glide past you.
  • Castle in the Clouds in Moultonborough. Wonderful home and garden tour at a 1920’s-era Craftsman-style mansion high in the mountains.
  • Funspot, in Weirs Beach - "The world's largest arcade" founded in 1952, featuring classic attractions & video games, bowling, mini-golf and more. Great alternative for the beach on a rainy day! (603-366-4377)
  • The Old Country Store, Moultonborough (603-476-5750). Kids and adults love to browse and buy vacation mementos at New England's genuine country stores.
  • Wright Museum of WWII History, Wolfeboro (603-569-1212)

Dartmouth-Lake Sunapee Region

Connecticut River Route near Lebanon Loop -- 70 miles

This drive offers views of the Connecticut River. A high point is the town of Hanover, where visitors can stroll the grounds of Dartmouth College and stop in for good pizza or burgers at any number of collegiate watering holes.

Fall Foliage in New Hampshire - Connecticut River Loop - Photo Credit NHDTTD & Carol Placey
Points of Interest:

Great North Woods Region

Moose Alley -- 75 miles

People in the know say the stretch of Route 3 from Pittsburg to the Canadian border is a place where you can almost be guaranteed to see some of the state's estimated 6,000 moose. The best time to see moose are early morning and dusk. Drive slowly and watchfully in this area; collisions with moose can be deadly. When you stop for a photo, pull off the road completely.

Fall Foliage in New Hampshire - Moose Alley Footbridge - Photo Credit NHDTTD & Ellen Edersheim
Points of Interest:

Merrimack Valley Region

Concord to Loudon to Pittsfield Loop

Plenty of farm views and fun shopping for local arts and crafts are available at this drive, beginning at the capital city of Concord.

  • Leave Concord on Loudon Road / Route 9 and turn onto Route 106 north toward Loudon
  • In Loudon, pick up Route 129 north through Loudon Center and into Lower Gilmanton. You then pick up Route 107 though Pittsfield
  • South of Pittsfield, turn onto Route 9 West and return to Concord
Fall Foliage in New Hampshire - Concord to Loudon Echo Lake - Photo Credit Dan Houde
Points of Interest:

Monadnock Region

Mount Monadnock Loop

The 3,165-foot Mount Monadnock is the hub of this trip. Monadnock State Park has excellent public services and many hiking trails that are accessible and enjoyable even to averagely fit climbers.

Fall Foliage in New Hampshire - Mount Monadnock Loop - Photo Credit Rick Sluben
Points of Interest:
  • Stonewall Farm, 2442 Chesterfield Road, Keene (603-357-7278). Lots to do here on 120 acres that are open to guests: borrow an exploration pack and do activities while hiking the trails; watch your kids play in the nature playground. there are farm animals to visit and foods to taste and buy at the farm store. Mountain biking and cross country skiing trails are open in season.


  • Muddy Moose Restaurant and Pub at 2344 White Mountain Hwy in North Conway has a rustic feel, with knotty pine walls, hearty beers, and all the basic, rib-sticking foods for mountain appetites. Nice for families with kids, too.