3 Fall Foliage Hikes in Franconia Notch

Emily Veh – SCA NH Corps – Discover the Power of Parks Interpretive Ranger

Franconia Notch is one popular spot in the White Mountains to view the incredible display of New Hampshire’s foliage. Peak colors are just about to hit here in Franconia Notch and here are 3 hikes for all levels of hikers to get outside and experience the best of the Fall foliage!

1. Artists’ Bluff

Difficulty: Easy/Moderate

Trails: Artists’ Bluff Trail

Distance: 1.5 mile loop with Bald Mountain

The view from Artists’ Bluff. Low clouds hover over Echo Lake. Photo by Emily Veh

Artists’ Bluff is the perfect short hike with a massive reward. The views from the bluff are some of the best in Franconia Notch State Park. It overlooks Echo Lake with Cannon Mountain and the Franconia Ridge in the distance. This is a beautiful hike year round, but Fall is an especially special time of year for this viewpoint.

2. Mount Pemigewasset

Difficulty: Moderate

Trails: Mount Pemigewasset Trail

Distance: 3.7 miles out and back

View from the summit of Mount Pemigewasset. Photo by Kate Gilligan

Mount Pemigewasset or Indian Head is a great mountain hike if you’re looking for something less demanding than a 4,000 footer. The trailhead begins at the north end of the Flume Gorge parking area. You must take the bike path for about 100 yards, and the Mount Pemigewasset trail begins on the left. A walk through the forest will let you out onto an exposed rock summit with sweeping views looking south towards the town of Lincoln.

3. Flume Gorge *Tickets Required*

Difficulty: Easy/Moderate

Trails: Flume Gorge Trail

Distance: 2.1 mile loop *Tickets required*

Liberty Cascade along the Flume Gorge trail. Photo by Emily Veh

The Flume Gorge is one of the most popular attractions in Franconia Notch State Park, but its beauty during Fall makes it an essential to this list. The Flume Gorge trail takes you along a boardwalk through a narrow gorge with many waterfalls and cascades throughout. Once you’ve reached the top of the gorge, the trail meanders through the woods which are brilliant in color this time of year, and takes you through two covered bridges. Make sure to check out all the viewpoints along the way, you won’t want to miss them!

View from Sentinel Pine Bridge overlooking the Pool along the Flume Gorge loop. Photo by Emily Veh

Tickets are required to walk the trail. In-advance reservations can be made, and are recommended this time of year due to its popularity. Tickets are $21 per adult as a walk up (no reservation made in advance), or $18 per adult for in-advance reservations. For more information and to make reservations, visit https://www.nhstateparks.org/visit/state-parks/flume-gorge

Not only is Franconia Notch a great place to view the Fall foliage, but there are many opportunities to hit the trails and experience the colors up close.

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Discover Power of Parks SCA Interpreters

Discover the Power of Parks is presented by New Hampshire State Parks in collaboration with the Student Conservation Association and AmeriCorps and made possible by generous financial support from Eversource. The program offers a look into the natural world through hands-on programming. Interpretive programs focus on connecting participants with nature and building appreciation for New Hampshire's unmatched natural heritage. Programs include guided hikes, interpretive tours, and imaginative environmental workshops for children and families. Programs are offered free to guests with paid park admission fee. No pre-registration is required.

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