By: Haley Lesmerises, Interpretive Ranger at Franconia Notch State Park
Cannon Mountain is known for its winter fun. The 4080′ mountain offers nearly 100 ski trails and glades covering 25 miles and the highest ski area summit in NH! But Cannon offers plenty of summer attractions as well. I decided to take a trip up to Cannon Mountain to discover the summer fun for myself. Hi! I’m Haley, one of the 2018 SCA Interpretive Rangers for Franconia Notch State Park. In this post I will describe my trip up the mountain via the Aerial Tramway, the summit and all of the little things I discovered on my adventure. (Prepare for pictures!)
It was midday when I set out on a hazy but sunny and warm Monday. After getting off the highway at exit 34B I pulled into the parking lot and Cannon Mountain stood before me. From the parking lot it is easy to spot North America’s first Aerial Tramway on one of its many trips up to the summit. The tramway just recently celebrated its 80th anniversary on June 29. This 80-passenger cable car would be my transportation for the day. Cannon Mountain also offers trails such as the Hi- Cannon Trail and the Kinsman Ridge Trail to reach the summit, but if you are looking for a quick and scenic way up, the tram is your go-to.
Before boarding the cable car, be sure to check out the visitor center at the base. This building offers a few different amenities to add you your Cannon experience.
The Tramway Country Store offers a variety of souvenirs and goodies to take home. Come and get some Gifford’s ice cream (ingredient information is posted at the counter) or delicious fudge to sweeten your day. Just keep in mind that there is no open food allowed on the Tram.
The visitor center also offers their Old Man of the Mountain Museum hall, featuring lots of info on one of New Hampshire’s most iconic symbols. Also, if you are heading to Cannon, just before you reach the parking lot you can take a left turn which will take you to the Old Man of the Mountain Museum and the Profiler Plaza. The plaza offers information and a place where visitors can look up at where the old man used to be and features a piece of artwork that allows you to see what the great stone face used to look like.
After checking in at the counter (tickets are $18 round trip for adults and $16 for 12-6 years old) I made my way to the tram car where I was greeted by John, the tram operator. John informed us that our ride would be about 10 minutes to the top and as we slowly rose up the mountain, pointed out the different peaks of Franconia Notch we could see around us. On a clear day you can see the mountains of four different states and Canada from the top!
It was a quick ride to the top. You get a nice view of Echo lake on the way as well as the Franconia Ridge. Keep and eye out for black bears; they can sometimes be seen foraging along the slopes!
If you are like me then you would enjoy a snack while on your adventure. Look no further than the 4080 Cafe atop Cannon. They offer a variety of sandwiches, wraps, salads, and more. The cafe also offers an observation deck with beautiful views of the notch.
After a snack with a great view I was ready for my adventure to continue! If you are looking for a quick walk around the summit, the Rim Trail has beautiful views, a watch tower and is surrounded by beautiful alpine mosses and flowers. It is a short 1500 foot path that loops back around to the tram.
What a great adventure! With amazing views and beautiful trails, Cannon Mountain has it all. Be sure to stop by the country store at the visitor center for that perfect souvenir on your way back. Be it winter or summer, Cannon Mountain has something for everyone.