Fall is more than colorful leaves, pumpkin spice lattes, and apple picking. It’s ghost stories and Halloween candy as well. Founded on June 21, 1788, New Hampshire is the ninth oldest state in the country with a long history before that as well, which is why there should be no surprise that the White Mountains are full of bizarre and haunted stories.
Bomber Crash Site on Mount Waternomee
On January 14, 1942, a Douglas B18-A bomber carrying a crew of 7 was on it’s return flight to Westover Air Field in Massachusetts. Met with darkness and bad weather, the pilot became disoriented and began their descent thinking they were nearing Westover. Unfortunately they were actually over central New Hampshire, and crashed into the side of Mount Waternomee (a shoulder peak on the east side Mount Moosilauke). As the crew attempted to escape from the wreckage, the plane caught fire causing the bombs they were carrying to explode. Five members were injured but miraculously survived, though were then met with deep winter snow. Residents of Lincoln and North Woodstock heard the explosion and saw the flames. And so despite the harsh conditions, a team of over 50 volunteers ventured out into the dark winter night and successfully rescued the 5 survivors.
Today the crash site can be accessed from a 5 mile hike off Walker Brook Road in Woodstock. Visitors have said it was a very eerie, but worthwhile experience.
Betty and Barney Hill Abduction
Betty and Barney Hill of Portsmouth, NH were returning home after a trip to Montreal in the middle of the night on September 19, 1961. As they reached Franconia Notch, they began carefully observing a strange light moving around in the night sky. Upon making their way through the Notch, about 1 mile South of Indian Head Resort, the lights quickly descended towards the travelers and appeared to be some sort of spacecraft. This UFO with large windows hovered above the Hills, close enough for them to make out humanoid creatures inside. The couple then claims to have completely lost 2 hours of time and were unable to explain the missing time. Their encounter ended up being one of the first well-documented and reported UFO abductions in the U.S.
Today, along the couple’s route is a gas station which displays a commemorative mural. Some information on the UFO sighting is also located inside the Irving Express. There is also a historical marker for the encounter on Route 3 near Indian Head Resort. And make sure you swing by the Woodstock Inn Brewery to see if ‘Lost Time’ pale ale is on tap. It’s a homage to the close encounter.
Mount Willard Trail
Mount Willard Trail is a 3.1-mile out-and-back trail that leads to one of the most iconic vistas of Crawford Notch. However, it is also home to one of the worse tragedies in the White Mountains. Samuel Willey Jr. moved his family to Crawford Notch in 1825. Only a short year later, the White Mountains experienced one of the worst rainstorms in history, which created a huge landslide that tore through the Willey’s land. A ledge protected their house but killed his family and two hired hands. All bodies except three of the children’s were found. According to a hiker on Trail to Summit, the three children who were never found haunt the notch today.
Mount Chocorua Loop Trail
Offering 360-degree views of the White Mountains, Mount Chocorua Loop Trail is a 10.1-mile challenging loop trail. Named after the famous Pigwacket tribe chief, Mount Chocorua is said to be haunted by Chief Chocorua’s cries after his son died in the care of the Campbell family. Before Chief Chocorua jumped to his death, he cursed all white settlers. Hikers have reported hearing the eerie cries of the famous chief.
Crawford Path Trail
Mt. Washington was originally called Agiocochook, which loosely means “Home of the Great Spirit” and probably to no one’s surprise, the summit and surrounding trails have been reportedly haunted. The Crawford Notch Trail is a difficult 15-mile out-and-back trail that will bring you to the legendary summit of Mt. Washington. If you’re peak bagging, make sure you take the Mt. Eisenhower and Mt. Monroe Loops to cross a couple of additional 4,000-footers on your list.
Once you’re on the summit of Mt. Washington, it is said that the Tip Top House is haunted. Built in 1853 by Samuel F. Spaulding, the stone house is the oldest surviving building on the summit and is believed to be the oldest extant mountain-top hostelry in the world. The meteorologists living and working on the Mount Washington Observatory may also tell you about the “The Presence” that seems to walk the halls of the weather room at night. And you can’t rule out the Crawford Path Trail itself for having paranormal activity. It’s one of the oldest maintained hiking trails in the United States and has had over 200 reported deaths over the centuries. Certainly, some of those hikers must continue their journey on the other side.
This fall you can head to Jean’s Playhouse for a unique haunting experience to really get your spooky thrills in. Available for two weekends October 21 – 30, 2022, Ghost Light is a brand new experience that combines a haunted house walk-through with immersive theatre. Each trip through the experience lasts about 45 minutes. For a slightly less spooky experience, there will be a “Daytime Light Fright” on Sunday afternoons.
Visit the Western White Mountains to experience some haunted thrills of the Granite State.
Looking to experience the majestic Western White Mountain’s fall foliage up close and personal?
Welcome to the Western White Mountains Scavenger Hunt!
Discover out of this world pieces of history, unique attractions, mouth-watering dining experiences and welcome lodging hosts during your time as a Western White Mountains Scavenger Hunt player. This free activity is open to all individuals and families who wish to participate!
Playing is easy – just follow these 3 simple steps!
- Download the GooseChase App
- Once downloaded, open the GooseChase App and enter Game Code: J56WG3
- Complete Missions, Earn Points! Missions may be completed in any order.
Prizes will be awarded on 10/11/22 to those who received the MOST amount of points from completed missions.
Winners will be notified via the Goosechase App.
In the event of a tie, a winner will be drawn at random.
2022 PRIZE PACKAGES ARE AS FOLLOWS:
1ST PLACE: 1-Night Stay in 1-Bedroom Suite at RiverWalk Resort at Loon Mountain, $25 Gift Card to Seven Birches Winery, $100 Gift Card to Burgeon Outdoor, Family 4-Pack to Lost River Gorge & Boulder Caves, 30 Minutes of Kid’s Studio Play, and McDonalds – Lincoln, NH Gift Cards!
2ND PLACE: $75 Gift Card to Burgeon Outdoor, $25 Gift Card to Seven Birches Winery, Family 4-Pack to Lost River Gorge & Boulder Caves, $10 Gift Card to The Christmas Loft, and McDonalds – Lincoln, NH Gift Cards!
3RD PLACE: $50 Gift Card to Burgeon Outdoor, $25 Gift Card to Seven Birches Winery, Family 4-Pack to Lost River Gorge & Boulder Caves, and McDonalds – Lincoln, NH Gift Cards!
4TH PLACE: Family 4-Pack to Lost River Gorge & Boulder Caves, $25 Gift Card to Seven Birches Winery, $10 Gift Card to The Christmas Loft
Terms of Service:
All photos taken during the Western White Mountains Scavenger Hunt on the Goose Chase App become property of Western White Mountains Chamber of Commerce and may be used for marketing purposes including, but not limited to, print and electronic media.
All text submitted during the Western White Mountains Scavenger Hunt on the Goose Chase App become property of the Western White Mountains Chamber of Commerce and may be used for marketing purposes including, but not limited to, print and electronic media.
Explore the best of Franconia by bike or foot this summer. Running the length of Franconia Notch State Park, the 8.7-mile paved Franconia Notch Recreation Path passes by several of the Western White Mountain’s best attractions. Break a sweat, dip your toes in the cool waters of Echo Lake, and visit some of New Hampshire’s most iconic spots on the Franconia Notch Recreational Path.
During the warm summer days, strap on your helmet or lace up your walking shoes and hit up the Franconia Notch Recreation Path by bike or foot. Take Exit 35 on I-93 N and park your car in the Skookumchuck trailhead parking lot. Head south along the paved trail to take in the stunning views of Kinsman and Franconia mountain ranges in the distance.
At the two-mile marker, you’ll arrive at Echo Lake Beach, where you can grab a snack to refuel and take a dip in the 39-acre lake at the foot of Cannon Mountain. Enjoy a few hours out on the water with a canoe, kayak, and pedal boat rentals. It’s a great way to take in the incredible views of the Notch while working on your summer tan.
From the lake, take a short detour to the Cannon Mountain Aerial Tramway. The legendary 80-passenger cable care is America’s first aerial tramway and brings passengers to the 4,080-foot summit of Cannon Mountain under 10 minutes. Don’t forget your camera as the views from the 360-degree observation deck is out of this world. On a perfect blue-bird summer day, you can see all the way across New Hampshire, Vermont, Maine, New York, and Quebec.
Don’t forget to check out the New England Ski Museum next to the Tramway on your way back to the path. The small museum is packed with tons of great information on skiing from its prehistoric roots over 8,000 years ago up to modern times. You’ll get a chance to get up close and person with Bode Miller’s five Olympic medals on display plus other items from the local world champion.
If you’re looking for a great view of Cannon Mountain and Franconia Notch, Artist Bluff and Bald Mountain is a short 1.5 mile loop hike with rewarding views that are well worth the effort.
Head back to the Recreation Path and get ready to view one of New Hampshire’s most iconic sites – the Old Man of the Mountain. Unfortunately, the Old Man’s face fell in 2003, but you can still see where the Great Stone Face once resided. The famous landmark dates back to the 19th-century literary works of Daniel Webster and Nathaniel Hawthorne.
Once you pass the Old Man of the Mountain, the Recreation Path starts to descend into the Mt. Pemigewasset trailhead and parking lot. While you might be tempted to speed through the 3.3 miles to The Basin, there is a 20 mile per hour speed limit on the trail. Franconia Notch is home to tons of natural geological features, like The Basin. The Basin is a 30-foot-wide, 15-foot-deep granite pothole in the middle of the Pemigewasset River. Henry David Thoreau once said The Basin is “perhaps the most remarkable curiosity of its kind in New England.” If Thoreau likes it, then you will, too.
Just like a rainbow, you’ll find a “pot of gold” at the end of the Franconia Notch Recreation Path. The Flume Gorge and Visitor Center is one of New Hampshire’s most visited state parks. Extending 800 feet at the base of Mount Liberty, the Flume is a natural geological feature first discovered in 1808 by 93-year-old “Aunt” Jess Guernsey. At the time of her discovery, a giant boulder was suspended between the 90-foot granite walls, but a massive rainstorm washed it away in 1883.
Start your journey at the Flume Visitor’s Center before walking through the iconic Gorge or walk the two-mile loop where you can see all the natural features of the park, including the Glacial Boulders, Bear’s Cave, and Liberty Gorge. They’ve even got a scavenger hunt!
Bike rentals and shuttles are available at the Aerial Tramway. If you prefer the ease of someone else planning everything for you, Rodger’s Ski and Sport offers a that includes your bike rental, shuttle services, helmet, and bike lock.
Parking, especially during the busy summer and fall months, can be difficult. Be prepared to get to the trailheads early in the morning or in the late afternoon for the best chance at scoring a spot a parking lot. Parking on I-93 is strictly prohibited, and your car will be towed at your expense. Remember, many rental shops and lodgings offer shuttle buses to and from many of the trailheads in the area! Here’s a great resource on Franconia Notch parking and the hiker shuttle.
Everywhere you look in New Hampshire, you’ll see one of the Granite State’s iconic landmarks – the Old Man of the Mountain. It’s featured on the New Hampshire license plate, road signs, and even the state quarter! But how did the Old Man of the Mountain become part of New Hampshire’s legacy and what happened to him?
The Birth of the Old Man of the Mountain
The Old Man of the Mountain is also known as the “Great Stone Face” by the Abenaki and “the Profile.” Located in Franconia Notch, we have to go back thousands of years to the Wisconsin glaciation and the ice age. For centuries, glaciers over a mile thick covered New England. When the temperatures began to warm, the ice started a thawing and freezing cycle that created erosion in the granite bedrock that shaped the unique features of the Old Man of the Mountain. The Old Man overlooked Profile Lake from 1,200 feet above and was approximately 40 feet tall and 25 feet wide.
The Life of the Old Man of the Mountain
The Old Man of the Mountain was first discovered and written by white settlers in 1805 when Francis Whitcomb and Luke Brooks were surveying the area for the notch road. While farmers frequently traveled over the notch road to the markets in Boston, no one had seen the Old Man due to the dense underbrush. Luke Brooks woke up in camp early one morning and went to Profile Lake to gather water for breakfast and saw the reflection of the granite face of the Old Man in the lake.
Of course, the legacy of the Old Man of the Mountain predates white settlers by hundreds of years. Known as Stone Face, the Abenaki believe that a human named Nis Kizos was born during an eclipse. He became a great leader and met a beautiful Iroquois woman named Tarlo at a Kchi Mahadan and fell in love. Tarlo had to return to her village to care for her sickened family and Nis Kizos promised he would live at the top of the mountain waiting for her. Tarlo waited day and night for her through the winter, but unfortunately, Tarlo dies in her birth village from the sickness. Gezosa, Nis Kizos’s brother, went to retrieve Nis Kizos in the spring but he was nowhere to be found. As Gezosa was descending the mountain, he looked back and saw that Nis Kisoz became part of the mountain as a stone face to continue looking for his love.
The Old Man of the Mountain became famous across the country because of Daniel Webster who famously wrote: “Men hand out their signs indicative of their respective trades; shoemakers hang out a gigantic shoe; jewelers a monster watch; and the dentist hangs out a gold tooth; but up in the Mountains of New Hampshire, God Almighty has hung out a sign to show that there He makes men.”
Even Nathaniel Hawthorne wrote about the Old Man in his 1850 “The Great Stone Face.” In 1869, President Ulysses S. Grant visited the Old Man. Over the decades the stone formation began to deteriorate. Governor Rolland H. Spaulding began efforts to preserve the Old Man in 1916. In 1945, the Old Man became the official New Hampshire State Emblem and in 1965, a state highway worker named Niels Nielsen became the unofficial guardian of the Old Man of the Mountain. He became the official caretaker in 1987 followed by his son, David Nielsen, in 1991.
The Death of the Old Man of the Mountain
Over the years, the harsh White Mountains weather started to damage the rock formation. In the 1920s, a crack in the Old Man’s forehead was repaired with chains. In 1957, more extensive “surgery” was conducted on the Old Man to save his iconic granite face. Despite many years of repairs, the Old Man of the Mountain collapsed between midnight and 2:00 am on May 3, 2003, leaving the residents of the Granite State to mourn its most iconic symbol.
Despite the loss of the Old Man of the Mountain, its legacy lives on in the White Mountains. On the first anniversary of the collapse, the Old Man of the Mountain Legacy Fund (OMMLF) installed coin-operated viewfinders near the base where you can see before and after of how the Old Man of the Mountain used to appear. OMMLF completed the Old Man of the Mountain Memorial along the Profile Lake walkway in September 2020 so the Old Man’s legacy could live on forever for future generations to enjoy.
Museum and Historic Site
Today you can visit the Old Man of the Mountain museum and historic site in Franconia Notch State Park. Take Exit 34B off I-93, drive towards Cannon Mountain and then follow the signs. At the museum you’ll discover historic memorabilia and photos about the care, repair and promotion of the state’s official symbol. The museum is open May through late October and admission is free. At the Profiler Plaza historic site you will experience the interactive sculpture that allows you to “see” what the Old Man of the Mountain looked like. There are also several informational plaques located along the trail with history of the mountain and species that were found in the area.
You’ve probably felt the guilt when you stared in your pet’s sad eyes as you packed your bag for vacation, but did you know that the Western White Mountains of New Hampshire are pet-friendly? Numerous trails, waterways and relaxing public areas are waiting for your pup to romp around on! The greater Lincoln and Woodstock area is also home to a ton of great pet-friendly activities, lodging and dining options, so you don’t have to leave Fido at home on your next vacation. Just remember to book early as pet-friendly rooms get scooped up fast!
Pet-Friendly Swimming Areas & Trails
Please always keep your pet on a leash when using public or private hiking trails in the Western White Mountains.
Lincoln Woods or East Side Trails
Located off Route 112 just East of Lincoln, the Lincoln Woods Trailhead is your basecamp for numerous dog-friendly hikes and dips in the Pemigewasset River. There is a $5 day use fee to be paid at the trailhead (bring cash – cell phone service is limited here), but it is well worth it!
Head to the Ranger cabin and swing a left over the suspension bridge to follow the Lincoln Woods trail for ~3 easy miles along the Pemigewasset River. Take a side trip to Black Pond or Franconia Falls (use caution with Fido or kiddos here). Turn around and go back the way you came when you’re tuckered out. After ~3 miles, the trail reaches the Pemigewasset Wilderness boundary and becomes much more difficult.
Looking for something a bit more off the beaten path? From the Ranger cabin, go right and follow the East Side Trail for ~3 miles miles until you reach Franconia Brook tent site. This easy-graded path follows the East Branch of the Pemigewasset River and has ample opportunities for you and your pup to cool off. Like the Lincoln Woods Trail, turn around and return back the way you came.
JE Henry Trail
The JE Henry Trail can be accessed from a parking area behind RiverWalk Resort off Main Street Lincoln. This mellow 1 mile trail follows the East Branch of the Pemigewasset River and offers plenty of river access.
Elbow Pond is a hidden gem located off Hwy 118, west of the town of Woodstock. Canoeing, hiking and swimming opportunities are in abundance. Please be aware that a shooting range is located at the beginning of Elbow Pond Rd.
Wildwood Picnic Area
Wildwood Picnic Area sits along the banks of the Wild Ammonoosuc River off Route 112 West. There are picnic tables, grills, a small pavilion, and plenty of green space for your pup to let out energy.
Pet Friendly Lodging & Dining
Loon Reservation Services – Lincoln & Woodstock
Loon Reservation Services manages vacation rentals at 12 resorts in Lincoln and Woodstock. Choose from one- to four-bedroom condos and townhouses all within three miles of Loon Mountain Resort. Many of the rentals are dog-friendly, so you can bring your pooch along to enjoy all the family fun. An additional pet fee is required, and all dogs must be approved by Loon Reservation Services prior to arrival.
RiverWalk Resort at Loon Mountain – Lincoln
RiverWalk Resort at Loon Mountain offers luxury pet-friendly suites overlooking the bubbling Pemigewasset River. Offering a variety of suites to meet any size family, RiverWalk Resort has dog-friendly suites on the first two floors of the resort. Situated in the center of Lincoln, you can take your pup for a walk in the woods or around town.
The Notch Hostel – North Woodstock
Located minutes away from the Appalachian Trail in an 1890 farmhouse in North Woodstock, the Notch Hostel offers an affordable and comfortable place to rest your head at night. The 30-guest hostel primary offers shared rooms with some being dog-friendly. During the summer months, there is a fenced-in yard for your dog to run around and play. Like any dog-friendly place, there’s a resident dog on staff called Delilah Jones who loves attention and treats.
Quality Inn & Suites – Lincoln
The Quality Inn & Suites in Lincoln offers pet-friendly rooms with exterior entrances for an additional pet fee. The rooms are limited so it’s important to book in advance. Located close to all the best attractions and hiking in town, Quality Inn & Suites is a great home base for all your adventures.
Parker’s Motel – Lincoln
Located next door to Franconia Notch State Park, Parker’s Motel is a family-run business with 24 rooms ranging in size. Well-behaved pets are welcomed with advanced booking and a small additional pet fee.
One Love Brewery – Lincoln
Located across the parking lot from the RiverWalk Resort in the Village Shops in Lincoln, One Love Brewery has pet-friendly outdoor dining on its deck. After a day of hiking with your dog, celebrate with a pint and some delicious wings at One Love Brewery. Fido doesn’t even have to wait for your scraps under the table – One Love has a “Patio Pup” Menu just for the doggos!
Woodstock Inn Brewery – North Woodstock
The historic 40-room country inn offers both pet-friendly rooms and dog-friendly outdoor dining. Many of the rooms at the Woodstock Inn Brewery have fireplaces and whirlpool tubs and all the modern comforts of home in a beautifully designed mountain-theme room. Not all rooms are dog-friendly so make sure you book in advance so you can reserve a pet-friendly room for Spot. Don’t forget to bring your pup along with you to the Dam Bar!
Adair Inn – Bethlehem
Built in 1927 in beautiful Bethlehem, the Adair Inn offers three pet-friendly suites and two pet-friendly houses. The Kinsman Suite with views of Mt. Washington and the Franconia and Crawford Suites with views of the Dalton Mountain Range are all pet-friendly with a pet fee. Additionally, the 1811 House and Carriage House are both dog-friendly if you need a little extra space. For lodging guests, well-behaved dogs are allowed on the patio during breakfast.
Book a Vacation with Fido
Fido, Spot, and all their furry friends will love a vacation in the western White Mountains. With a variety of pet-friendly accommodations for all budgets, there’s no excuse to leave your furry pal at home while you explore the beautiful mountains of New Hampshire.
Waterfalls and Covered Bridges in the Western White Mountains
There’s a reason people come from near and far to see the majestic beauty of the White Mountains. Nestled between the granite peaks that jut out from the earth, you’ll find hundreds of rivers, brooks, waterfalls, and historic wooden covered bridges. Instead of sending your friends a postcard featuring one of New Hampshire’s iconic covered bridges, get in your car and explore them for yourself. While you’re at it, chase a few waterfalls, too!
Once upon a time, over 12,000 covered bridges were built in the United States. Only about 1,000 authentic covered bridges are left today, and 55 of those are located in the Granite State. New Hampshire’s oldest surviving covered bridge is located just around the corner from the western White Mountains.
Allen Hollis Bridge – Route 112W, North Woodstock
Built in 1981, the Allen Hollis Bridge is located in Lost River Gorge and is open seasonally to pedestrians only. The 31-foot covered bridge was named after the late Allen Hollis, a Concord attorney and former President of The Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests from 1916 to 1950.
Bath-Haverhill Bridge – Route 135, Woodsville
The Bath-Haverhill Bridge spanning the Ammonoosuc River is New Hampshire’s oldest surviving wooden covered bridge built in 1829. The towns of Bath and Haverhill each paid $1,200 to build the bridge. The colorful bridge was built in the Town lattice truss bridge style, which was patented in 1820 by bridge designer, Ithiel Town. The bridge was closed to car traffic in 1999 but is open for foot traffic.
Clark’s Bridge – Clark’s Trading Post, Lincoln
Spanning the Pemigewasset River in Clark’s Trading Post, Clark’s Bridge was built in 1904 in Vermont for the Barre Railroad. The bridge is the lone surviving Howe railroad bridge in the world, and today Clark’s White Mountain Central Railroad passes through the bridge into Wolfman’s Territory. Book a ticket and experience the bridge and the infamous Wolfman for yourself!
Jack O Lantern Bridge – Jack O Lantern Resort, Woodstock
Hand-built by Milton Graton, who was nicknamed “the Last of the Covered Bridge Builders,” in 1986. The 76-foot Town lattice truss bridge spans the length of a small pond at the Jack O Lantern Resort in Woodstock. The bridge is open to foot and golf cart traffic.
Flume Covered Bridge – Route 3, Lincoln
For nearly 150 years, the Flume Covered Bridge has spanned the Pemigewasset River in Lincoln. Some say the bridge built in 1871 was actually built and used elsewhere before it was moved to its current location, but no one really knows for sure. The bridge is still open to vehicular traffic, and a hikers’ walkway was added at a later date for hikers in the Flume Gorge.
Sentinel Pine Bridge – Flume Gorge, Lincoln
The pedestrian-only Sentinel Pine Bridge in the Flume Gorge is one of New Hampshire’s prettiest covered bridges. Built in 1939, the bridge appears to suspend in midair over the Pemigewasset River. The bridge is named after a tall pine that once stood near the rear of the river pool where the bridge sits. The 90-foot tall tree was said to be over 100 years old before it blew over in a hurricane and later milled to create the boards for the bridge.
TLC might have sung about not chasing waterfalls in the 1990s, but in the 2020s, we say chase them! During the spring and early summer months, the rivers, brooks, and streaming are running strong due to the melting snow from the mountain peaks, making it the perfect time of year to chase waterfalls in the western White Mountains.
Georgiana and Harvard Falls – Lincoln
Georgiana Falls is a bit of a hidden gem in Lincoln. Follow Georgiana Falls Path less than a mile to the 30-foot tall pair of granite water slides cascading into the pool. Further up the trail over a short but steep climb, you’ll come to Harvard Falls. Topping out at 200 feet, Harvard Falls is one of the tallest waterfalls in the White Mountains. The trail at the top of the waterfall offers lovely views of Loon Mountain.
The Flume Gorge – Lincoln
The Flume Gorge offers a spectacular and unique landscape that is a must-see in the western White Mountains. The Flume is a natural 800-foot gorge at the base of Mount Liberty. Avalanche Falls, a 45-foot waterfall formed during the great storm of 1883 that washed away the hanging boulder, is located at the top of the Flume. While not a true waterfall, Liberty Gorge on the Ridge Path is home to a beautiful cascading stream that flows through a narrow valley.
Bridal Veil Falls – Franconia
Chances are you have seen photos of Bridal Veil Falls as it’s one of the most photographed waterfalls in the Water Mountain National Forest. Named because of its similarity to a bride’s veil, Bridal Veil Falls elegantly flows 35 feet down at a right angle into a small pool. You’ll have to work to get to Bridal Veil Falls as it’s a five-mile round-trip hike, but well worth the sweat. Keep your eye out for the Bette Davis plaque along the Coppermine brook!
The western White Mountains are home to an incredible variety of natural attractions. As the snow melts, hop in your car for a road trip around the region in search of the best covered bridges and waterfalls in the western White Mountains.
Winter is officially here in the Western White Mountains and we’re ready to play. Our ski resorts are open and so is our extensive trail network for cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, hiking, and fat biking. Bundle up and hit the trails for some winter outdoor fun.
The Glades at Loon Mountain and Cannon Mountain
If you’re looking for some backcountry skiing within a resort, both Loon Mountain and Cannon Mountain have you covered with their ski glades. The 3,050-foot North Peak at Loon Mountain offers some excellent off-the-beaten-path glades and trails, such as the Walking Boss Woods. Cannon Mountain, the highest ski area summit in New Hampshire, offers lots of great glad options, especially near the Base lift and Mittersill. Make sure you check the snow conditions as most of the glades only open after a dumping. Cross your fingers for a good winter!
Lincoln Woods Trail
Nestled along the banks of the east branch of the Pemigewasset River in the White Mountain National Forest, the Lincoln Woods Trailhead is a popular beginner-friendly trail for hikers, snowshoers, cross-country skiers, and fat bikers. The trail once belonged to the 72-mile East Branch and Lincoln Railroad built in 1894, so the trail is nice, wide, and relatively flat. Lincoln Woods Trail is part of a larger 9.8-mile trail system that includes other trails such as the Franconia Brook Trail, the Wilderness Trail, and more. One of the best features of the Lincoln Woods Trail is the suspension bridge that spans the Pemigewasset River. Don’t forget to snap a photo for Instagram!
Georgiana and Harvard Falls Trail
Featuring a frozen waterfall during the winter months, the Georgiana and Harvard Falls Trail is a moderate 1.6-mile out and back trail that is great for hiking (with spikes) or snowshoeing. The trail is not marked well, so be careful after a recent snowfall, but the locals will often pack it down and you can follow the footprints uphill.
Mount Pemigewasset Trail
Mount Pemigewasset, also known as Indian Head, is a 2,557-foot mountain in Lincoln and offers incredible views from the open summit. Located near the Flume Visitor Center, the Mount Pemigewasset Trailhead is well marked. The 1.5-mile hike is relatively easy with a few steeper parts. It’s a great hike for snowshoeing to take in the views on a bluebird day of the surrounding White Mountains.
Greeley Ponds Trails
Located off the famous Kancamagus Highway, the Greeley Ponds Trail is a 7.1-mile out and back trail system that is excellent for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing during the winter months. The Greely Ponds are actually located in Waterville Valley and feed the Mad River and there is trail access from Waterville Valley via Livermore Road. But, from the Kancamagus Highway side, the hardwood forest trail leads to two beautiful mountain ponds that will be likely frozen and covered with snow during the colder months. The trail can be rocky so make sure there is enough snow covering for cross-country skiing or take your old beater skis.
For even more information on backcountry ski trails in the White Mountains, visit the Granite Backcountry Alliance website. The non-profit organization was established to advance the sport of backcountry skiing in New Hampshire and Western Maine and to create and improve ski glades, such as the Cooley-Jericho Glade in the Franconia region. Newly developed in 2019, the Cooley-Jericho Community Forest, also known as Cool J Glade, comprises 840 acres in Franconia, Sugar Hill, Easton, and Landaff. The four glade lines range from 400 to over 800 feet with lots of drops and stunning views of Mount Lafayette.
Visit the Western White Mountains This Winter
The Western White Mountains are ready to be explored. Whether you choose to stick to the ski resorts or head into the White Mountain National Forest for some backcountry fun, make sure you stay safe with Granite State Safe.
The White Mountains of New Hampshire is home to diverse and sometimes challenging weather. Mount Washington on the eastern side of the White Mountains is home to the most extreme weather observatory on Earth. First opened in 1870, the Mt. Washington Observatory has experienced some crazy weather, like below zero temperature in the height of summer and wind gusts as high as 231 mph, which is equivalent to an EF5 tornado or a Category 5 hurricane!
While the weather in the Western White Mountains isn’t as extreme, it’s not uncommon to experience all four seasons in a single hour in the White Mountains, especially if you’re heading above treeline. The Western White Mountains is home to an abundance of incredible year-round outdoor activities, and just because Mother Nature can’t make up her mind, it’s important to be prepared for all different weather events on your adventures.
The Western White Mountains can be cold. A couple of years ago, the thermometer read negative 20 degrees without the wind chill for several days in a roll. While your first thought might be to skip the ski slope for the day in favor of drinking hot cocoa (or locally brewed beers!) by the fireplace, if you dress for the weather, you won’t even feel the cold!
Justin Walsh, the Operations Manager for Burgeon Outdoors, is no stranger to extreme weather as a mountaineering guide. He says, “surviving the cold depends on your ability to use layers to regulate your temperature. Clothes don’t make you warm. You make clothes warm. Or another way to put it – if your body is like a furnace in your house and your clothes are the insulation.”
The key for dressing for the cold (or really any other time of the year) is layers! Modularity allows you to adjust your “insulation” to be appropriate at any level of exposure and any level of bodily activity. You’ve probably heard this before, but the old adage is true – cotton kills. Avoid wearing cotton and instead choose items made from moisture-wicking materials such as wool, polyester, or Tencel.
When wearing layers, you should have a base layer, such as long underwear, a middle layer of fleece or light down jacket, and then finally a water-resistant outer layer. Need some suggestions? Check out what Field and Stream recommend here, including the Burgeon Outdoor Flume Base Layer. And don’t forget about your head, hands, and feet! Hats are a great way to keep your head warm. In extreme cold and wind, you’ll likely want a balaclava to keep your face warm, too. Mittens are always warmer than gloves but choose what works best for you. If you’re playing in the snow, you’ll want waterproof gloves. Your feet will be happy with thick non-cotton socks, such as Smartwool. Warming packets can also be used on your hands and feet on those bitter New England winter days.
And don’t forget about eyewear! Goggles are great for winter sports as they stay on your head better and help protect your eyes from potential injuries from tree branches or ski poles. On those bring sunny days, sunglasses are a must! Snow makes everything brighter.
Spring in the Western White Mountains can vary widely from feeling like a cold January winter day to a hot summer day. And that’s all in the same week! Spring in the mountains always starts with New England’s unofficial fifth season – mud season. As the snow melts in the mountains, the ground turns to mud. You’ll definitely want some tough rain boots and waterproof hiking boots if you’re hitting the trails. Snow in the high peaks might not melt well into June and July. If you’re hiking above treeline, remember to bring layers and be prepared for winter-like weather. Crampons or ice traction devices are a must for safety!
As spring proceeds and summer slowly approaches, the black flies and bugs start to emerge from their winter sleep. Bring bug spray and dress to repel the bugs! This might mean wearing long pants and long sleeves to keep them from biting your skin. As the sun gets brighter and hotter and you begin to wear less clothing, remember the sunscreen!
Don’t blink! Summer doesn’t last long in the Western White Mountains, but those few glorious months are meant to be enjoyed in the sun. While the mercury can climb quite high in the months, the White Mountains remain relatively moderate in the mountains due to the higher elevations. During the warmer summer months, you’ll likely want to don shorts and a t-shirt. Aim to wear moisture-wicking and UFP-protecting clothing items to help protect your skin and stay cool.
The black flies and mosquitoes are notoriously bad in the summer. That means insect repellent is your new best friend. If the bugs really enjoy your blood type, wearing long sleeve shirts and long pants might be the best option for you. Nylon and polyester are fabrics that mosquitoes have a hard time biting through, and avoid dark or bright fabrics as they can attract insects.
Temperatures can drop quickly the higher you climb in the mountains or after dark, so it’s important to pack layers, such as a fleece and warm socks. A hat provides essential sun protection for your face and neck. If you find yourself hiking on one of those rare 90-degree days, a bandana or neck gaiter is a great item to keep in your backpack as you can dunk it in water and wear it around your neck or head to help cool off. If your outside hiking, biking, or enjoying the watersports, remember to pack plenty of water to keep you hydrated. A good rule of thumb is to drink about a half-liter of water per hour of moderate activity.
Fall is one of the busiest times of the year for the Western White Mountains as the weather is great and the leaves are turning into a kaleidoscope of colors. In September, you’ll find that the temperatures during the day are often warm enough to wear shorts, but you’ll want to change into long pants and a sweater at night. Fall is a season of layers, especially as we get closer to winter. A fleece or a light jacket is a must, and eventually, you’ll want to break out lightweight gloves for those early morning hikes when the frost starts sticking around long after you finished your morning coffee.
Like winter, fall in the Western White Mountains can widely varied, and it’s best to be prepared for any weather from 70 degrees and sun to 20 degrees and snow. If you forget your favorite hat at home, Lincoln is home to several shops where you can pick up all your favorite gear. Rodgers Ski & Sport has all the cold-weather gear from your favorite brands. For locally made technical outdoor apparel, check out Burgeon Outdoor at the Village Shops in Lincoln.
Dress Your Best for All Season
The Western White Mountains is beautiful year-round with the right clothing. Bundle up for winter or enjoy the sun during the summer. Whatever you choose, remember that Mother Nature may change her mind in 20 minutes, so bring options!
Here’s your chance to explore White Mountain back roads and small towns, support local businesses and win prizes with the White Mountains 100-Mile Challenge.
The six chambers and associations of the White Mountains region have collaborated to create the White Mountains 100-Mile Challenge, an exhilarating new way to explore the White Mountains, take photos and win prizes. Offering the ultimate reason to explore the back roads, beautiful vistas, and local businesses throughout the White Mountains region of New Hampshire, the White Mountain 100-Mile Challenge offers the ideal socially distanced itinerary for a day trip, overnight, or longer vacation. Simply explore the historic markers, attractions, shops, restaurants, lodging, recreation businesses on the list, take photos, and upload them to your own social media and WhiteMts100milechallenge.com, and you may just win one of 100 prizes including a future vacation to the Whites.
Here’s how it works: Download the challenge list of stops, ranging from locations like breweries, local historic markers, shops, ski areas, B&Bs, hotels, spas and more in any of the White Mountain communities listed. Take a selfie or group photo at each one of the stops. Then upload your photo to your social media channels with the hashtag #WhiteMts100Miles. Once you’ve visited ten of the business categories on the list anytime between Oct 13-Dec 6, 2020, upload your photos to WhteMts100milechallenge.com here and enter to win prizes. Enter as often as you want, as long as you upload ten photos at a time.
The White Mountains 100-Mile Challenge started on Tuesday, October 13th, and ends at midnight on Sunday, December 6th, 2020. All photos submitted should be taken on site during this time period in order to be eligible. Weekly winners will be announced every Friday beginning October 23rd. The grand prize winners will be chosen Monday, December 7th. All winners will be notified by email.
More than 100 prizes will be awarded over the duration of the challenge along with one grand prize – an Omni Mt Washington Hotel getaway and a White Mountains Attractions Pass for the summer or fall of 2021. Other prizes include items from participating businesses.
“The White Mountains 100-Mile Challenge offers a fun way to discover the communities in the White Mountains between fall and winter,” said Kim Pickering, Executive Director of the Western White Mountains Chamber of Commerce and program co-coordinator. “With interest high in getting outside to explore in a socially distanced way, this program will encourage visitors and residents to safely visit and engage with businesses in the White Mountain region through a scavenger hunt style itinerary,” she added.
Communities participating in the White Mountain 100-Mile Challenge are represented by the newly formed consortium of the White Mountains Collaborative including the six chambers of commerce in the White Mountains region, White Mountain Attractions Association and Ski New Hampshire. The communities included in the White Mountain 100-Mile Challenge include Plymouth, Waterville Valley, Campton, Thornton, Lincoln/Woodstock, Woodsville, Bath, Littleton, Lisbon, Franconia, Sugar Hill, Bethlehem, Twin Mountain, Bretton Woods , Whitefield, Jefferson, Jackson, Bartlett, Glen, North Conway, Conway, Chocorua and Tamworth.
Funds for development and promotion of the White Mountain 100-Mile Challenge were made possible by a special program called the Chamber of Commerce Partnership Assistance Fund, created by the NH Governor’s Office for Emergency Relief and Recovery (GOFERR) to support collaborative efforts among chambers that were ineligible for CARES Act funding through other programs.
To learn more about the program and each chambers’ involvement, contact any of the participating members listed below.
As soon as the snow starts falling, the Western White Mountains turn into a winter wonderland. People come from near and far to enjoy its abundance of incredible outdoor activities. With several top-rated ski resorts within the region, alpine skiing and snowboarding are often a major attraction. While the ski resorts are still planning to open this winter, in light of current events, you may find yourself more interested in trying some of the other fun winter activities in the mountains away from the crowds.
We’ve interviewed a few of our local outdoor experts to provide some inside information and tips on how to enjoy the Western White Mountains this winter away from the ski resorts. With winter hiking, cross country skiing, backcountry skiing, snowshoeing, and other, you certainly won’t be bored this winter!
Hundreds of thousands of people flock to the White Mountains every year to hike many of the area’s famous peaks, but few get to experience the beauty of the White Mountains during the winter months. Justin Walsh, the General Manager at Burgeon Outdoor and a registered mountain guide, says, “If you have the skills and equipment, there’s no better feeling than crossing a ridge (such as Franconia Ridge or the Presidential Range) when it’s 40 below zero with winds blowing at 70 miles an hour, all while feeling completely comfortable.” While Justin, who has climbed Denali, Mount Rainier, Cotopaxi, and the Matterhorn among other high peaks around the globe, is a mountaineering expert, even those who have never hiked in the winter can enjoy the mountains in the winter.
The Western White Mountains has no shortage of beginner-friendly hikes like Lincoln Woods Trail, Lonesome Lake, and Mt. Lafayette. For the adrenaline junkies, book a mountaineering adventure through one of the local guide services and experience the so-called “alpine zone.” As Justin says, “it’s an incredible natural asset.”
While most people prefer to stick to the groomed trails and glades of the local ski resorts, more and more people are adventuring out to the backcountry of the White Mountains. Alpine backcountry skiing has increased tremendously in recent years. Gary of Village Ski and Sport in Lincoln says, “there are tons of great backcountry ski spots in the White Mountains, but you often need someone to show you where they are.” Granite Backcountry Alliance is a great resource to discover the abundance of local glades for skiing and also to connect with other likeminded backcountry skiers.
Backcountry skiing is different than skiing at a resort, like Loon Mountain or Cannon Mountain. You need specialized gear and must be prepared to handle all the elements and risks of backcountry skiing. As Gary says, “you need the knowledge to do things, like basic winter survival skills and avalanche safety.” Several local guide services will be happy to take you backcountry skiing for your first time. Stop by Village Ski and Sport, and Gary and his team will help outfit you with all the equipment you need.
Cross Country Skiing
Cross country skiing is another popular winter sport in the Western White Mountains. There are tons of great locally groomed trails and backcountry trails just waiting to be explored. The White Mountain National Forest has some great trails, like the Lincoln Woods Trail, Greeley Ponds Trail, and Kancamagus Brook Cross Country Ski Trail that are great for a variety of skiers. Locals love the quieter and less developed Lafayette XC-Ski Trail as well.
Winter hiking and snowshoeing often go hand-in-hand. Most hiking trails can be utilized in the winter for snowshoeing. Steve Smith of Mountain Wanderer in Lincoln recommends Mt. Pemigewasset, Lonesome Lake, the Old Bridle Path on Mt. Lafayette up to the first outlook ledges, the Flume, Lincoln Woods Trail, and Greeley Ponds for easy to moderate snowshoeing. For the more experienced and fit hikers, Mt. Liberty is a great choice. For a unique Western White Mountains experience, Steve says, “Lonesome Lake is a great full moon hike, but be prepared for very cold nighttime temperatures!” Steve has owned and operated the Mountain Wanderer Map & Bookstore for over 22 years in Lincoln and is the co-editor of the AMC White Mountain Guide. Stop by his shop and he’ll point you to the right trail.
Helpful Tips on Dressing for Winter Activities
Our local experts who have well over 50 years of experience combined have provided some great tips on how to dress for winter activities in the White Mountains. As you may already know, the weather can change with a drop of a hat at any time in the White Mountains, especially during the winter months.
- “Layers! Modularity is key, so make sure you can adjust your “insulation” to be appropriate at any level of exposure and any level of bodily activity.” – Justin
- “Microspikes or similar traction devices are suitable for hard-packed trails. Icy conditions, such as what is often found above treeline on the higher peaks, require full crampons. This kind of hike is for experienced winter hikers only.” – Steve
- “Your feet are almost always the first thing to get cold. The temptation is often to add more layers of socks or add heavier weight socks, but the key to warm feet is almost always adequate circulation. Make sure that both your boots and socks fit loosely enough to allow your circulation to keep your feet warm.” – Justin
- “For backcountry skiing, you need to be prepared. That means bringing food, water, a sleeping bag or warm coat, and a first aid kit. You never know what could happen, especially if you’re far from your car.” – Gary
Enjoy Winter in the Western White Mountains
The Western White Mountains is your winter playground. Experience a variety of outdoor activities this winter and make sure you stop by our local experts’ shops and say thank you for all their great advice!
Ready for another beautiful fall foliage season in the Western White Mountains?! Peak foliage is just around the corner, and you’ll want to start planning all your favorite fall activities. Hop in your car and head to the mountains for some fall fun with your family.
Fall Scenic Drives
The White Mountains are home to some of the best fall foliage scenic drives in the world. There is a reason thousands of people flock to the region every year to view the incredible kaleidoscope of colors. For the ultimate White Mountains road trip, fill up your tank, grab a sweater, and lots of snacks, and hit the road.
The Multi-Notch Mountain Ride is approximately 142 miles long and will take you through the best of the White Mountains. Start your journey in Lincoln on I-93 through Franconia Notch State Park and past the former Old Man of the Mountain. Just before Littleton, take the exit to Route 302 and drive through the quaint town of Bethlehem before driving past the majestic Mount Washington Hotel. There are plenty of scenic lookout spots to stop along the way to take your selfies or photos of trees bursting with color. Once past the infamous hotel, you’ll drive through Crawford Notch with the Presidential Range looming overhead. From here, choose to take the Bear Botch Road in Bartlett to the Kancamagus Highway or drive through North Conway and stop for lunch. From Conway, turn west on to Route 112 as known as the Kancamagus Highway, which offers 34.5 miles of breathtaking mountain scenery through the White Mountain National Forest.
The Multi-Notch Mountain Ride can be broken into a weekend or done in a day. Don’t have a full day? You can just drive the Kancamagus Highway or Route 302 through Crawford Notch. Whatever route you take, it will be beautiful. Keep in mind that parking is limited in areas, and you should avoid parking on the highways or busy roads.
If you’re looking to get up close and personal with the changing leaves or views of the White Mountain National Forest from above, you’ll want to lace up your hiking boots and hit the trails. Hiking is a great socially-distance fall activity for the whole family. With hundreds of miles of hiking trails throughout the Western White Mountains, there is no shortage of trails with great fall foliage views. For an easy hike for the whole family, the Lincoln Woods Trail is a flat 2.7-mile trail that meanders along the East Branch of the Pemigewasset River.
For epic fall views of Franconia Notch, take the short yet steep jaunt up Artists Bluff. For centuries, tourists have climbed the well-worn trail to the open summit on Bald Mountain. It is a popular hike, so get there early, and you may want to bring a face mask just in case. For a more challenging hike, the 8.5-mile Franconia Trail Loop will take you over the peaks of Mount Lafayette, Mount Lincoln, and Little Haystack for panoramic views of the White Mountains. Be sure to pack all the essentials, including warm clothes and possibly crampons, since it is not uncommon for it to snow early in the White Mountains at higher elevations.
Wine and Beer Tasting
Over the recent years, tons of breweries and wineries have been popping up across the western White Mountains making it the best destination for craft beer and wine lovers. Start your day off by winetasting at Seven Birches Winery at the RiverWalk Resort. Choose from a variety of in-house made white, red, and everything in between wine. Just a short walk across the parking lot, you’ll find One Love Brewery with their tasty German-style beers and delicious menu of pub favorites.
Discover one of New Hampshire’s original craft breweries at the Woodstock Inn Brewery. With a 30-barrel production facility on-site, you can not only taste your favorite beers but see them made. With creative Western White Mountains names like Exit 32 and Pemi Pale Ale, you find something to like. Head up I-93 and find even more breweries to try. Remember to drink responsibly.
Scenic Train Rides
Trains were once a primary mode of transportation in the White Mountains, and you can still see the remnants of old railbeds and cars throughout the region. Whether you’re a train enthusiast or just someone who wants to enjoy a scenic ride through the mountains to see the fall foliage, you have several options to enjoy. The Hobo Railroad in Lincoln offers fall foliage rides along the Pemigewasset River region. Due to the coronavirus, the train will be running on a limited schedule and capacity to ensure the safety of the public. The Mount Washington Cog Railway and the Conway Scenic Railroad are also open for fall foliage scenic train rides during the autumn months.
Hit the new mountain biking trails at Loon Mountain this fall. Last fall, Loon Mountain completed phase one of their new downhill mountain biking park. Designed and built in conjunction with Highland Trails, the downhill mountain park over two miles of trails with more to come in the following years. If you prefer flatter ground, Loon Mountain has six miles of cross-country biking trails as well. Once you’re done ripping it up at Loon, head over to the nearly 9 mile Franconia Notch Recreation Path.
Visit the Western White Mountains This Fall
Fall is a beautiful time to visit the Western White Mountains of New Hampshire. With the incredible changing colors and lots of crisp fresh air, it’s the perfect place to experience the fresh mountain air.
Loon Mountain Resort: Family-Friendly Fun Without the Snow
Frequently named as one of the best ski resorts in the East, Loon Mountain Resort is home to over 370 skiable acres in the Western White Mountains. During the snowy winter months, thousands of people visit the family-friendly ski resort to learn to ski, to nail a backflip in the terrain park, or earn first tracks on a fresh powder day. But, did you know that Loon Mountain is a four-season resort?
When the last snow pile melts, Loon transforms into a whole different world. The perfectly groomed snow-covered trails turn into grassy and rocky mountain bike trails. Families from all over the world come and enjoy the high-flying fun on the Aerial Forest Adventure Park and zipline across the Pemigewasset River. There is tons of stuff to do all year long at Loon Mountain!
Loon Mountain Resort has committed to becoming New England’s premier all-season mountain destination with its Flight Path: 2030 plan.
Catch a ride on the Northeast’s most technological advanced lift, the Kancamagus 8, and get ready to hit the trails at Loon! Opened in 2019, the new purpose-built downhill mountain biking trails at Loon Mountain are epic! Designed and built by the people who built Highland Mountain Bike Park in Northfield, New Hampshire, the Loon Mountain Bike Park offers a huge variety of freeride, technical, and cross country trails over 9 miles for every level of riders.
Have you never tried downhill before? No worries! Loon offers lessons for beginners and has plenty of rental bikes. Lessons with professional instructors will walk you through the anatomy of a downhill mountain bike, body position, and how to ride the trails and brake effectively. If downhill mountain biking is not your style, Loon is also home to six miles of cross-country mountain bike trails. The trail network of various difficulties follows along the scenic Pemigewasset River and wind through the forest along the shoulder of Black Mountain.
Loon has a full-service bike rental shop with an extensive fleet of bikes for the whole family. The shop has a variety of Giant and Rocky Mountain downhill mountain bikes along with cross-country (hardtail) mountain bikes in various sizes, including women-specific bikes. Hybrid and kids’ bikes are also available for rental to ride around town and the Franconia Notch Recreation Path. All rentals include a helmet and body pads.
Loon Peak Disc Golf
Located in the White Mountain National Forest, Loon’s alpine-style Loon Peak Disc Golf Course offers incredible views of the mountains with a mountainside course. Take a scenic ride up the Gondola Skyride to the first hole at the top of the mountain. Open to both beginner and advanced players, the 18-hole disc golf course continues downhill to the base lodge. Enjoy the panoramic views of Loon Peak summit while playing a fun family-friendly game of disc golf!
Hiking for the Best Views
Experience the natural beauty of Loon Mountain from the summit. Who needs a chairlift when you can break a sweat hiking up the snowless ski trails to the summit? The gondola can do the heavy uphill work for you too! Incredible panoramic views are not the only thing the 3,064-foot summit has the offer. The Glacial Caves will sure to be a big hit for the whole family. Thousands of years ago during the last Ice Age, Mother Nature deposited a huge jumble of boulders at the summit. Explore the maze of giant rocks and enjoy the views.
Loon Mountain is also home to three miles of well-marked hiking trails. The scenic Brookway Trail is the perfect hiking trail for less experienced hikers. Enjoy the lovely views of Boyle Brook has you hike your way to the Bear Claw Trail junction where you can continue your journey on to the summit. And just as the name implies, the Sunset Loop Trail that leads to the summit of North Peak is a great place to catch the sunset over the western White Mountains.
Four Seasons of Fun at Loon
Loon Mountain Resort is committed to becoming one of Northern New England’s Premier four-season resorts. This summer, spend a weekend or week in the Western White Mountains and enjoy the many activities at Loon for the whole family.
Pitch a Tent in the Western White Mountains
Picture this. The birds are chirping as the early morning light shimmers through your tent. You stretch your arms wide and slowly roll out of your sleeping bag as you take a deep breath of fresh mountain air. The morning air is still cool, so you put on your favorite sweatshirt as you start the fire to brew your cup of coffee before hitting the trails for the days. Perhaps you’ll head above treeline today to the infamous Franconia Ridge Loop or maybe you’ll enjoy a quiet stroll along the Franconia Falls Trail. Only the day will tell.
The White Mountains offer some of the best camping in all of New England. Campgrounds are nestled throughout the mountainous region with many in the Lincoln and Woodstock area of the Western White Mountains. For a more rustic experience, camping within the White Mountain National Forest is always a fun experience, but if you prefer a campground that offers more modern amenities and RV spots, the Western White Mountains has you covered.
Maple Haven Campground – North Woodstock
Maple Haven Campground in North Woodstock is a family-owned and operated campground on the banks of the Moosilauke Brook. Home to nearly 60 campsites, the campground offers sites for both tents and RVs. Additionally, cabins are available if you prefer a little more shelter. The centrally located pond offers swimming, boating, and fishing. There’s a game room, playground, and even an ice cream window serving Hatchland Farm’s ice cream making Maple Haven Campground a great spot for young families.
White Mountains Forks of the River RV Park – Lincoln
The White Mountains Forks of the River RV Park in Lincoln is designed for the seasonal RV community who are over 55 years old. Perfectly located just three miles from Franconia Notch State Park, White Mountains Forks of the River RV Park is a small campground with 14 sites. Many sites have full hookups and lovely views of the Pemigewasset River.
Country Bumpkins Campground – Lincoln
Open Memorial Day through Columbus Day, Country Bumpkins Campground in Lincoln has 45 river and pond sites for both tents and RVs in addition to six cabins and cottages. Wade and fish in the Pemigewasset River or get competitive in the arcade. This family-friendly campground is a great place to reconnect with nature, but if you really need Wi-Fi, they have that too. Free hot showers will leave you feeling great after a long day hiking in the nearby White Mountain National Forest.
Lincoln / Woodstock KOA – Woodstock
Often described as a “Diamond in the Woods” park, the Lincoln / Woodstock KOA is a popular destination during the summer and early fall months. The large campground has a variety of campsites designed for drive-thru RV sites, wilderness sites for tents, camping cabins, a tree cabin, glamping tents, and even a Conestoga Covered Wagon. There’s a swimming pool, fishing pond, bike and hiking trails, disc golf, beach volleyball, and a dog park so Fido can come along for the adventure. With 180 sites, the Lincoln / Woodstock KOA is one of the largest in the White Mountains.
Lost River Valley Campground – North Woodstock
Lost River Valley Campground is a quaint family-friendly campground nestled between the National Forest and the banks of Lost River and Walker Brook. Just minutes away from some of the most popular attractions in the Western White Mountains, Lost River Valley Campground offers 139 wooded and brook front campsites and cabin rentals. The whole family can enjoy horseshoes, basketball, badminton, tennis and more on the many sports courts and recreation areas. Pack your swimsuits and splash around in the refreshing swimming pond on a hot summer day.
White Mountain National Forest
The White Mountain National Forest offers a wide variety of camping experiences. The National Forest is home to both family-friendly campgrounds and remote backcountry sites. Big Rock Campground on the Kancamagus Highway is one of the closest campgrounds to Lincoln with 28 tent and RV sites. Open mid-May to mid-October, the campground is first-come, first-served.
Nestled along the banks of the Pemigewasset River, Hancock Campground is located on the Kancamagus Highway near Lincoln. The large campground has 56 tent and RV campsites on a first-come, first-served basis. For the water lovers, Russell Pond Campground is a great option for those who would like to canoe or paddleboard as it’s located on Russell Pond in Woodstock. The campground is comprised on mostly tent sites, but there are a few RV sites available. Russell Pond also has the luxury of coin-op showers and flush toilets! Located on Route 112 across the highway from Wild Ammonoosuc River, Wildwood has 26 campsites for mostly RVs, but a few for tents as well. Most of the campgrounds in the White Mountain National Forest are first-come, first-served.
ProSports Inc. has managed various White Mountain National Forest Campgrounds since 1992. They’re a great resource for booking a campsite, open and close dates, fees and campground features throughout the WMNF.
Camp in the White Mountains This Summer
Don’t own a tent or a camp stove? Don’t worry, Effortless Adventures as you covered. Book your camping gear online, pick it up in Plymouth, New Hampshire, and just return it when you’re done. You can rent everything from tents to sleeping bags and pads to stoves and cooking supplies. And if you’re still not ready to try camping, check out all the unique lodgings available in the area that don’t involve a sleeping bag.
Geological Family Attractions
The western White Mountains are home to some of the best natural geological features in New England. When the glaciers melted during the last Ice Age over 50,000 years ago, they carved out much of the White Mountains as we know it today.
As the glaciers receded, they deposited granite boulders creating caves in many places across the Lincoln and Woodstock area. Today, you can discover the natural beauty that Mother Nature created during the last Ice Age at places like the Lost River Gorge & Boulder Caves, and the Flume Gorge.
Lost River Gorge & Boulder Caves
Located in the heart of Kinsman Notch in North Woodstock, the Lost River Gorge & Boulder Caves is a popular natural geological attraction for all ages to enjoy. Formed over 300 million years ago during the last Ice Age, Lost River Gorge is filled with blocks of granite, boulder caves, and waterfalls. Open daily from May through October; there are tons of things to see and do at Lost River Gorge.
While visiting the Gorge and caves during the day is pretty cool, discovering them by night is a whole new experience! During the summer months, you can take a Guided Lantern Tour through the caves. The two-hour tour begins at dusk, and you’ll be guided through the lantern-lit caves and boardwalks ending around the campfire complete with s’mores.
If you’re more of a morning person, consider an 8am Yoga in the Woods in the Forest Treehouse.
After seeing the Basin for the first time in 1839, Henry David Thoreau said it was “perhaps the most remarkable curiosity of its kind in New England.” Located conveniently at Exit 34A off I-93, the Basin is a geological masterpiece. Formed approximately 15,000 years ago, the 30-foot-wide, 15-foot-deep granite bowl is a pool of cold blue water that cascades down several granite cliffs in a dramatic effect.
Just a short walk through the woods along a well maintained path, there’s no reason to miss this gem.
Loon Mountain Caves
Catch a ride on New Hampshire’s longest scenic gondola ride with the Loon Mountain Gondola Skyride to the summit of Loon Mountain. First, take in the 360-degree panoramic views of the White Mountain National Forest from the 50-foot Hebert’s Observation Tower. Next, explore the glacial caves that were deposited on top of the summit during the last ice age. Follow the signs and weave and wander through the caves at your own pace. While you’re there, enjoy an adventure in their Aerial Forest or enjoy yoga on the mountain top!
Next to the Old Man of the Mountain, the Flume Gorge is one of the western White Mountain’s most iconic attractions. First discovered in 1808 by “Aunt” Jess Guernsey, the Flume Gorge has been a destination for millions of visitors over the past centuries. While the famous hanging boulder was washed away in a landslide in 1883, the 90-foot granite walls and other natural features are worth the visit to see with your own eyes.
Open from May through October; the Flume Gorge is perfect for the whole family to enjoy. Kids will love the Flume Gorge Scavenger Hunt while grandma will love the picturesque Flume Covered Bridge. Spanning over the Pemigewasset River, the Covered Bridge is one of the oldest in the state. Other natural wonders in the park include Table Rock, Avalanche Falls, and Liberty Gorge.
Discover the natural beauty of the western White Mountains with the many natural geological wonders of the area.
Whether you’ve come to the mountains to climb New Hampshire’s highest peaks or to just rest and relax, you can stretch your tired muscles and escape the daily grind with a little yoga. Recent research suggests that practicing yoga outside has many benefits for your mind, body, and spiritual health. The Western White Mountains are home to many mountaintops for you to find your own personal zen. Margarita of Live a Little Fitness in Lincoln offers a variety of guided outdoor yoga sessions during the warm summer months and can work with you to create your own custom mountaintop yoga experience.
Throughout the summer, you have three different opportunities to practice yoga outside with Live a Little Fitness. Loon Peak Yoga is perfect for anyone who wants to practice their Down Dog with epic mountaintop views. You’ll ride the Loon Mountain Gondola Skyride to the top of the mountain where you’ll take an hour-long yoga class surrounded by panoramic views of the White Mountains. After class, you welcome to explore the summit at your leisure before riding the gondola back down the mountain. If you prefer to get your blood flowing before your Sun Salutations, then the True North Peak Yoga Session might be for you. You’ll take the Gondola Skyride to the summit of Loon Peak and then you’ll hike the quarter mile to the 3,100-foot summit of North Peak where you’ll take a 60-minute yoga class. After you say “Namaste,” you can hike back to Loon Peak and enjoy the 360-degree views from the observation tower. You can either ride the gondola or hike back down the mountain to continue your workout. Consider hiking right into Viaggio Spa, located in the Mountain Club on Loon for a relaxing massage or facial.
If you’re a beginner or intermediate yogi, Yoga in the Woods at the Lost River Gorge is probably the perfect class for you. You’ll start with a short and easy stroll through the woods into the Gorge. Once you’ve passed the giant birds nest and crossed a suspension bridge, you’ll set up your mats by a babbling brook. The class is designed to be a gentle stretch with a little bit of flow to wake up your body and then relax it with some restorative poses.
If you can’t make any outdoor yoga classes, then check out the special events Live a Little Fitness is offering for all ages. Live a Little Fitness offers a dance program with Ballet, Tap, and Hip Hop/Break Dancing classes for kids of all ages. They also offer after-school kid’s yoga classes during the school year. Each class is themed for ultimate fun. Who doesn’t want to take a Star Wars themed yoga class?
During the summer, you can join in on “Recess-style Boot Camp!”. The coaches create fun and challenging workouts that focus on strength, endurance, and agility. Of course, you’ll play plenty of games along the way. Sign up a for class and play Margarita’s favorite “Zombie Apocalypse” game. Who said kids were the only ones allowed to have fun?
When the weather gets cold or the sun goes down, classes return back to the studio. In addition to many yoga classes, Live a Little Fitness also offers Barre and Strong classes. Nikki’s Saturday morning Barre class is one of the most popular places to be in Lincoln on a Saturday! Strong classes are high-intensity interval classes that are designed to get your heart rate up and your muscles pumping. Offered only during the Fall through Spring months, the once a month Yin Yoga Bliss is a great way to relax after a long week. Combining Yin Yoga, massage, and aromatherapy, it’s the perfect class to melt away your stress.
Create your own yoga retreat in the White Mountains by taking a few classes at Live a Little Fitness or just enjoy the incredible panoramic views of the mountains in your warrior pose from atop Loon Peak. Whatever you choose, you’ll leave the Western White Mountains feeling more relaxed and centered.
You know what they say, “if you love what you do, you’ll never work a day in your life.” We feel the same way about living and working in the Western White Mountains. If you live where you play, then you’ll never want to leave! Just ask many of our locals who came from afar and never left.
Set up base camp in the White Mountains at one of AMC’s three scenic lodges or find an unforgettable escape at one of eight high mountain huts. For over 125 years, AMC’s hut system has offered hikers young and old a bunk for the night in spectacular locations with all the necessities.
Autumn is one of the best times to visit the western White Mountains of New Hampshire. The temperature has dropped, the air is crisp, and the leaves have turned into a kaleidoscope of colors. While many people just look at fall as the time between ski season, fall is a great time to explore the natural beauty of the mountains. Take some tips from our locals and enjoy one of the best times of the year.
With the mercury climbing in the city, it’s a great time to plan an escape to the mountains. The western White Mountains are perfect for a weekend or weeklong adventure for all ages with waterparks, hiking, and delicious food and drink options. Let two of our longtime locals tell you a few of their favorite things to do in the summer.
Every year, millions of people discover the beauty of the western White Mountains by foot. With incredible panoramic views, classic New England hiking trails, and beautiful native wildlife, the area has become a popular year-round destination.
Spring in the White Mountains is a beautiful time of the year. The temperature starts to rise, the flowers start blooming, but you’ll still be able to find some snow left for the last turns of the ski season. The summer crowds have yet to arrive, so you’ll have much of the area to yourself.