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Mountains and Everything In Between

Posted on by Tom Howe

Franconia Notch State Park, located between the Franconia and Kinsman mountain ranges, is an easily accessible park with a wide range of attractions. Saved by a 1927 campaign by the Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests, Franconia Notch protects over 6,000 acres of wilderness and was once home to the iconic Old Man of the Mountain.

 

The Basin

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The Basin makes for a nice leisurely first stop when visiting the Notch, thanks to the short walking path that leads you around the area. The Pemigewasset River flows all the way down through the Notch and at the Basin, the river cascades and swirls through a large glacial pothole.  This is a great place to bring the kids because it takes just a few minutes to get to the best part, the pothole itself.  The Basin is also a stop on the awesome paved bike path that threads all the way up through the Notch.

 

Lonesome Lake

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Lonesome Lake is a great example of an easy and rewarding hike in Franconia Notch. Leaving from the Lafayette Campground, it’s about 1.6 miles to the lake and though the larger half is fairly steep, the terrain levels out as the trail gets closer to the lake. The Lonesome Lake Trail is one of the most popular in the Notch and parking spaces can fill up quickly, so make sure to get there early. That said, when I went, the parking lot was completely full, but the trail itself was not very crowded. The walk to the lake is a nice walk in the woods, and the trail around the lake is a good way to cool down after the hike. The view is actually significantly different from part way around the lake, so I would suggest at least checking out the start of the Around Lonesome Lake Trail.

 

Mount Pemigewasset

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The hike up Mount Pemigewasset is around the same distance as the hike to Lonesome Lake at 1.8 miles, but the hike is somewhat more difficult due to the elevation change. That said, if you’re looking for an easy day hike with a mountaintop view, this is a good choice. The big rock ledge at the top of the mountain is a perfect place to cool down and enjoy the view after the hike.  Crowds weren’t a problem at all for me on Mount Pemigewasset, but going early in the day is still a good idea to avoid the heat. Also, the trail leaves from the Flume Gorge parking lot, which can get crowded later in the day.

 

Cannon Mountain

Top of Cannon
Cannon View
View from Cannon

Probably the best mountain view in Franconia Notch is from the top of Cannon Mountain. There are a lot of ways to get up the mountain. There are several hiking trails, and though I’ve never hiked up Cannon Mountain, I’ve hiked down it to Lonesome Lake via the Kinsman Ridge trail. Some people hike up via Kinsman Ridge trail, leaving from the tramway parking lot, but I’ve read that section of the trail is a difficult hike on rough terrain. I’d only suggest hiking up Cannon Mountain if you’re looking for a challenging hike and have plenty of time, and while the hike down to Lonesome Lake was fun, it was very steep and rocky.

This time around, I took the Cannon Mountain Aerial Tram up and down. I took the tram mostly because I didn’t have time left in the day for another hike, but since it really did take so little time to get up and down, I can see the tram being a great way for families with kids to experience the top of the mountain. From the tram station, there’s a short (a couple hundred yards, slightly uphill) walk to a fire tower. Some people just enjoy the view from the tram station and there’s definitely plenty to see from there, but the fire tower is a much more dramatic perspective and I think it’s not to be missed.

 

The Flume Gorge

The Flume

The Flume Gorge is one of the most well-known attractions in Franconia Notch. That said, it can get fairly crowded, particularly during the busy leaf peeping season. A great time to visit the Flume is early in the spring before most schools get out. For more details about visiting the Flume, click here to read a post I wrote about a visit to the Flume earlier this year!

There are many other places to visit in Franconia Notch, and a few more hikes that I’ve heard good things about – including the Falling Waters trail. The great thing about Franconia Notch is that pretty much everything is easy to find right there on the same road and along the bike path. Definitely check out a map and read up about things if you’re planning a visit.

 



People Make the Place

People Make the Place

Posted on by Discover Power of Parks SCA Interpreters

This past weekend I decided that it was time for me to try the hike to Kinsman Mountain with the hopes of surviving the climb and also coming up with an idea for my next post. While I was pondering, … Continue reading

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Living in Bear Country

Living in Bear Country

Posted on by Discover Power of Parks SCA Interpreters

I fell in love with Franconia Notch State Park from the moment I arrived. The park is full of scenic mountain trails, beautiful lakes, and an abundance of wildlife. In my time here, I have noticed that it is the … Continue reading

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 Meet the Neighbors

Meet the Neighbors

Posted on by Discover Power of Parks SCA Interpreters

I have been living in Pawtuckaway’s Big Island campground for just over a month now, and have truly fallen in love with this place, with the neighborhood if you will. On a Saturday morning I wake up to children riding … Continue reading

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A Short Visit to a Tall Rock

A Short Visit to a Tall Rock

Posted on by Tom Howe

The Madison Boulder in Madison, NH is the largest glacial erratic boulder in not just New Hampshire, but all of North America. It’s a National Natural Landmark. It’s also ridiculously easy to visit, and there’s a lot of fun family-friendly … Continue reading

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Dry Sands & Moonlit Waters

Dry Sands & Moonlit Waters

Posted on by Discover Power of Parks SCA Interpreters

Join me to a place of cool brisk water and gentle breezes where people can unwind to escape the summer’s heat. Unpack, relax, and meander the trails. Take in a forest redolent of conifers and blooming blueberries. Explore the Pitch … Continue reading

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weeks state park

History with a View: Weeks State Park

Posted on by Tom Howe

Weeks State Park in Lancaster, NH is a little park with a lot of great attractions, and a lot of history. The park sits atop Mount Prospect and includes several hiking trails as well as a 1.5 mile scenic auto … Continue reading

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Magnificent Tales of Metallak

Magnificent Tales of Metallak

Posted on by Discover Power of Parks SCA Interpreters

When I first came up to the Great North Woods to check out my new home at Umbagog Lake State Park, I got on a pontoon boat for a tour of the water. One of the first stops on our … Continue reading

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10,000 Acre Backyard

10,000 Acre Backyard

Posted on by Discover Power of Parks SCA Interpreters

Never in my life, would I have imagined that I would find myself calling 10,000 acres in New Hampshire “home”. But that’s exactly what Bear Brook State Park has become, my home, at least for a little while. I landed … Continue reading

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Mt. Sunapee

Hike to a hidden gem: Lake Solitude

Posted on by Tom Howe

Mt. Sunapee in Newbury, NH is known by many as an excellent ski mountain, but there’s actually a lot to see and do in the park during the summer as well. The mountain is great to hike and the view … Continue reading

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Little Spots Form a Beautiful Tapestry

Little Spots Form a Beautiful Tapestry

Posted on by Discover Power of Parks SCA Interpreters

Step off the beaten track this Fourth of July weekend! Yes, beaches are lovely this time of the year, aren’t they? And while there are over 20 NH State Parks where you can swim, build sand castles or work on … Continue reading

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