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!
Agassiz Basin – North Woodstock
Named after the Swiss scientist who discovered the most recent Ice Age, Agassiz Basin is composed of two waterfalls. The falls themselves are not very dramatic, but the falls have an important local history. The waters of the curved gorge create a six-foot-wide gap that is known as Indian Leap, as it is said that Native Americans used to jump across the gap as a test of courage. Agassiz Basin is located along Route 112 and is a popular swimming hole during the hot summer months.
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.