Rain, snow, or sun, the Franconia Notch Recreation Trail is always open for fun. The year-round 8.8-mile paved recreation trail passes some of New Hampshire’s most iconic attractions and is a very popular destination during the summer and fall months with runners, hikers, and cyclists. But during the snowy winter months, the trail turns into another destination – one for snowshoers, cross-country skiers, snowmobilers and even ice climbers.
The nearly nine-mile trail travels from the Flume Gorge in Franconia Notch State Park in the south to Skookumchuck and Route 3 in the north. For those who would like a smooth and easy trek without an 800-foot elevation gain, ski or trek from the northern trailhead towards the Flume Gorge. If you’re up for looking to get your heart rate up fast, travel north from the Flume Gorge!
New Hampshire is home to more than 7,000 miles of snowmobile trails throughout the state. Franconia Notch State Park is part of Corridor 11 that consists of the Lincoln-Woodstock area. NH Corridor 11 runs from the Concord area north along I-93 through the White Mountains and Bretton Woods north to Berlin. You can snowmobile along the Franconia Notch Recreation Trail throughout the winter months as part of the extensive snowmobile trail network in the area. Don’t have a snowmobile? Rent one or take a guided tour with SledVentures in Lincoln.
The Franconia Notch Recreation Park is the perfect trail for beginner and advanced skiers alike. The path provides easy terrain for those trying to learn the sport with a chance to pick up some speed on the downhill sections if you’re skiing north to south. Since the trail is multi-use and often frequented by snowmobiles, the trail is well-groomed for skiers. Cross-country skis are available for rent through several ski shops in town such as Village Ski & Snowboard and Rodgers Ski & Sport. Don’t forget to stop by the New England Ski Museum to see Bode Miller’s Olympic medals.
Snowshoeing is a great winter activity that will most definitely break a sweat. Snowshoeing is a bit slower pace than cross-country skiing, so it’s great for people who like to enjoy the scenery and fresh mountain air while getting in a good workout. It’s not uncommon to see lots of snowshoers out enjoying the Franconia Notch Recreation Trail during the winter months. The whole trail might be a bit long for some folks but the 3.3-mile section between the Flume Gorge and Lafayette Campground is relatively flat and offers excellent views leading up to Cannon Mountain. Snowshoes can be rented from Out Back Kayak in Lincoln.
If you’re a downhill skier, Cannon Mountain Ski Area is a local favorite and at the northern tip of Franconia Notch! Cannon is also known for its famous tram car that takes you to the top of the mountain and back!
Don’t let a little snow and cold keep you off one of the most beautiful recreation trails in New Hampshire. The Franconia Notch Recreation Trail can be enjoyed in all seasons. Just bundle up and stay moving!
For state-wide information, head to VisitNH.gov