Ten Easy Hikes in Mt. Washington Valley, NH


Mt. Washington Valley is one place where you won’t feel insulted when someone suggests that you “take a hike”! With 770,000 acres of White Mountain National Forest, it could take a lifetime to even begin to see it all. Hiking is a wonderful family activity, and best of all, it’s free! Below are ten easy and approachable hikes that will get everyone in your crew on board for a hike in the Mt. Washington Valley, NH

Note that a parking fee is charged when cars are parked at any of the White Mountain National Forest parking areas. Parking passes can be purchased from The Saco Ranger Station at the beginning of Kancamagus Highway, or at self-serve pay stations in each designated parking lot.

4 Hours or Less: Black Cap Path: This trail through spruce and beech forests to the bare summit of Black Cap offers great views to Conway Lake. 2.4 miles. From Rt. 16 in Intervale, turn right onto Hurricane Mtn Rd. The trail head right, 3.7 miles from Rt. 16.

Mountain Pond Loop Trail:
 A pleasant, easy loop around the pond. 2.6 miles. From Rt. 16A in Intervale, turn east on Town Hall Road and go 6.8 miles to the trailhead.

Doublehead Ski Trail: 
Somewhat steep in places, the summit of the trail offers great views to the east and Mountain Pond. 3.6 miles. From Rt. 16A in Jackson, take Rt. 16B to Black Mountain and bear right over the bridge on Dundee Rd. The trail head is marked.

Boulder Loop Trail: 
Pick up a brochure at the Saco Ranger Station about this self-guided nature trail. There is a gradual climb with some steep pitches. Offers spectacular views of Mt. Chocorua and the Swift River. 2.8 miles. The trail begins near the Covered Bridge Campground on the Kancamagus Hgwy, east of Conway.

Mt. Willard: 
Easy grade, good footing and great views of Crawford Notch. 2.8 miles. The trail head is near AMC’s Highland Center on Route 302 in Crawford Notch.

1 hour or less:
 Jackson Loop: This loop has sidewalks the entire way. Expect to share the path with joggers, roller bladers, bikers and cyclists. 1 mile or 30 minutes. The loop runs along Rt 16A and Route 16 in Jackson. There’s ample parking along the way.

Nature Trail Walk at Wildcat Mountain:
 The Way of the Wildcat. Learn the tales that Wildcat Mt. has to tell. Take this 20 min walk through the woods, following the Peabody River. Once on this footpath, you may chose to walk the HALF MILE TRAIL to the base of Thompson Falls. Simply take Route 16 through Pinkham Notch to Wildcat Ski Area.
 
Rail & River Interpretive Trail: A self-guided tour with interpretive signs to explain natural features of the area. An easy 1/2 mile walk, fairly flat with a few stairs. The trail begins behind the Russell-Colbath House on the Kancamagus Hwy, east of Conway.

Deer Brook Pond:
 This trail parallels the Swift River and has many side loops. It’s recommended for “watchable wildlife” opportunities. Go 6 miles west from Conway on the Kancamagus Hwy. Park near the covered bridge and the trail is to your left.

Lost Pond & Square Ledge:
 The trail takes you to a scenic pond and past beaver ponds, along a stream , then ends with spectacular views of Mt. Washington and Pinkham Notch. The trail begins at the pond across the road from the AMC Pinkham Notch Camp on Rt. 16.

Try a number of hikes throughout the Presidential Mountain Range starting at the AMC’s Pinkham Notch Joe Dodge Lodge or these wonderful hikes for plenty of scenery and to experience the exhilaration of The White Mountains.

For complete trip planning resources and information, visit www.MtWashingtonvValley.org or call 800-367-3364 (800-DO-SEE-NH) to talk to a Mt Washington Valley Chamber of Commerce rep.  To learn more about New Hampshire vacations, go to www.VisitNH.gov.

Originally written by Marti Mayne
Updated by Mt. Washington Valley Chamber of Commerce in 2021

Rock Formations in Mt. Washington Valley, NH

It’s all about getting outside and taking in the mountain scenery in Mt. Washington Valley, NH. And there are a million ways to do that. You can hike the White Mountains, bike its trails, go for a waterfall tour, and more! But if you’re on the hunt for something super special, consider going on a tour of some of the naturally-made rock formations formed over thousands of years.

There are a number of places throughout Mt. Washington Valley where you will find natural rock formations, and scenic overlooks. A tour like this one allows you to break-up the day with scenic drives, short walks, and smaller hikes as you make your way to each one. And of course a must-stop is for an ice cream cone or sweet treat at the end of it all!

This will thrill the geology fiends in your group, those that love to spend time outdoors, members of the family looking for the perfect photo-op, and those who are looking for a great way to spend quality time with you! Keep this list handy so you can put together your own rock formation scenic drive in Mt. Washington Valley! 

Washington Boulder: The craggy visage of George Washington can be seen on Tin Mine Road in Jackson. Directions: From Rt. 16B, take the first right after Christmas Farm Inn. The profile is about 3/4 mile up on the left.

Lion’s Head: Lion’s Head can be easily seen from the Glen House on Rt. 16 in Jackson where the Mt. Washington Auto Road begins. The lion’s muzzle and mane in profile can be viewed by looking toward the prominent shoulder streaming eastward below the cone of Mt. Washington. Directions: Take Route 16 to the base of the Mt. Washington Auto Rd.

Elephant Head: Elephant Head is at the gateway to Crawford Notch. The profile is clearly visible through the white lines in the rock, complete with the eye! Directions: From Bretton Woods, head east on Rt. 302. After the Railroad depot, as you reach the height of land, and before the road beings its sharp decent into the Notch, pull over and look up into the cliffs off to your left.

White Horse Ledge: White Horse, the southern ledge off West Side Road, is so named because of a light colored area on its face which resembles a white horse dashing up the cliff. It’s not as obvious as the stone profiles, and is easiest to see in late fall with a dusting of snow. Directions: Best view from West Side Road in North Conway.

Madison Boulder Natural Area: One of the world’s largest glacial erratics is found off a country road in Madison. The Madison Boulder is 37’ high and 83’ long, and is estimated to have moved one and a half miles during the Ice Age in an ice stream. Directions: Between Conway and Madison on Rte. 113, turn west at the sign marking the geological landmark and follow signs, staying right to the parking area. Walk in 100 yards.

Scenic Overlooks

Cathedral Ledge: This is the northernmost of the two ledges to the west of North Conway Village. Cathedral Ledge is one of the area’s most distinctive landmarks. The top of the 1150 high ledge offers an unparalleled vantage point to view the Valley below. If you’re lucky, you may be there to see one of the many rock climbers enjoying this face “top out”. Directions: From the light just beyond the Eastern Slope Inn on Rt. 16 in North Conway Village, go left onto River Road. The Cathedral Ledge Road is 1.4 miles along on the left. This 1.7 mile drive to the top ends in a circular turn. Park and walk over to see the view.

The Scenic Vista: A beautiful view, and picture taking opportunity is easily accessible from The Scenic Vista. You’ll look over the Intervale to the ever-changing Mt. Washington. A state-operated information center is located right there too. Directions: Continue north on White Mountain Hwy (Rte. 16) from N. Conway Village about 3 miles.

Originally written by Marti Mayne,
Updated by Mt. Washington Valley Chamber of Commerce, 2021

Find Family Fun in Mt. Washington Valley, NH

Throughout the summer, families flock to Mt Washington Valley.  There are so many fabulous family gems it takes more than a list of ten to mention them all. Yet, we’ll try to give you a glimpse of some of the many family finds here.  Be sure to click on the links to take you to even more detailed lists of themed attractions, recreation, shopping, dining and more.
 
Family Attractions: Mt Washington Valley is filled with family attractions  that take you on trains, (Conway Scenic Railroad and Mount Washington Cog Railway) up the winding road to Mount Washington (Mt. Washington Auto Road) and bombing down hills on a mountain bike, (Cranmore Mountain Resort.)

Another great option for families is the scavenger hunt at Great Glen Trails. Try and find Great Glen’s furry friends on its network of trails to bike, run and walk on. Each critter has a punch that you can use to mark the back of your trail map. Get a punch for each one of the animals and earn your Official Trails Tracker button!
 
Water Parks: Enjoy indoor water parks at two of Mt Washington Valley’s hotels including Red Jacket Mountain View Resort’s Kahuna Laguna, and Hampton Inn & Suites Hotel and Water Park.

Kahuna Laguna was just voted a top indoor waterpark by readers of USA Today, and is considered New Hampshire’s largest indoor water park with 40,000 square feet of water fun! Both water parks are available to hotel guests only.

Take the fun outside and ride on the Ho Ho H2O ride at Santa’s Village or Dr. Geysers Remarkable Raft Ride at Story Land to get soaked and cool off!

Engage in some (family) friendly competition: Ryan’s Family Amusements, located in Settlers Green, features over fifty games. They come in the form of video games, skill games, arcade games, and virtual reality. Play for great prizes, and so much more. Plan on heading over to Fire by Wicked Fresh for family dinner, also located in Settlers Green, and enjoy fresh pizza, wings and craft burgers. The winner can also pick up the tab for ice cream at Trails End Ice Cream, a few stops over from Fire.
 
Go Fast:  For teens that love to go fast, try the Canopy Tour at Bretton Woods. Make your way across a network of nine ziplines and two sky bridges with the White Mountain National Forest below you, and then make your way down three rappels.  This is a three-hour excursion that gets you up-close and personal with the White Mountains!

Mt Washington Valley’s family attractions don’t end in Conway, consider a visit to White Lake Speedway for some high adventure and high speed fun, where you can put the pedal to the metal in a go-kart on its 740 foot track, full of twists and turns! This track is very family-friendly and NOT for high-speed racing, so all family members that meet the age and height requirements can feel comfortable getting behind the wheel! White Lake Speedway also features laser tag and ultimate bowling!
 
Kid Friendly Shopping:   Families traveling to the valley have to make a stop at North Conway’s Toy Chest is a treasure trove of wonder for kids along with The Penguin Gallery gift shop.  Zeb’s General Store is another family favorite featuring an old fashioned candy counter and New England made toys, books and gifts.

Family Fun on Horseback:  Take in the summer landscape of Jackson by horseback! Black Mountain offers guided trail riding by horseback, across its 140 acres. There is a four rider maximum per scheduled ride, and kids nine and younger can  take a pony ride that takes them near the mountain’s base area. Reservations are required.
 
Free Family Fun: Looking for a totally free family day?  Try driving to the top of Cathedral Ledge for a grand view of the Valley, visiting one of the many natural swimming holes found throughout the Valley or simply spend some time on one of the many free playgrounds or parks including Schouler Park where swingsets, sprinklers and climbing equipment mean hours of free fun. Hiking, biking and scenic drives through the White Mountain National Forest, especially in the fall, are a wonderful way to spend family time together.
 
Splash Down August is the perfect time to float the day away in a canoe, kayak, tube, or guided tour. Rent boats or take a guided tour with Saco Bound, Tin Mountain Conservation Center or Saco Canoe Rental Center.

We’ve listed ten top ways to find family fun.  Want to learn about the next ten? For more information on family getaways and day trips to Mt Washington Valley, please visit www.mtwashingtonvalley.org or call 1-800-DO-SEE-NH (800p-367-3364). 

Originally written by MWVCC PR Manager Marti Mayne
Updated by the Mt. Washington Valley Chamber, 2021

Three Ways to Get Your Yoga On in Mt. Washington Valley, NH.

With it’s natural surroundings Mt. Washington Valley, NH is already set-up to be a mecca of tranquility and relaxation. Take comfort in the mountains, relax to the sound of the flowing Saco River, and find your zen with a yoga class in Mt. Washington Valley, NH.

Community Labyrinth at Settlers Green. Photo c/o Settlers Green.

Yoga at Settlers Green
Settlers Green hosts a weekly yoga class at its Community Labyrinth. Local yoga instructor, Anjali Rose, leads each session for a 60-minutes class. Each class runs from 6-7pm on Friday’s, and costs $12.50. You can register for the class, here.

As an instructor, Anjali Rose focuses on helping you “find your bliss” with with intention-based movements and breathing set in a mindful environment. Anjali Rose is a teacher, facilitator and healer, and is an
M Ed., 200 RYT, RMT.

Settlers Green’s Community Labyrinth is located right outside of Barley and Salt, and exudes intimacy and is considered a place for thinking, reflecting, and relaxing

Outdoor Yoga with Upper Saco Valley Land Trust
 Join local yoga instructor Sue Faunce and the Upper Saco Valley Land Trust (USVLT) for two opportunities to practice yoga outside this summer.

Outdoor yoga is happening twice this summer, and taking place at one of its conserved lands, Pine Hill Community Forest on Sunday, July 18 at 8AM and Sunday, August 1 at 8AM.

Participants will make there way to a sandy riverside beach to practice yoga. While walking to the beach, Sue Faunce will lead the group in paying attention your senses and being present in nature. This gentle yoga practice lasts for 45 minutes. Bring some water, and a towel or mat.

Space is limited and reservations are required. Email info@usvlt.org to register, and include the date(s) you would like to attend.

Stand Up Paddle Board Yoga
UPDATE: Currently Ripl Yoga classes are on hold until mid-August. But make sure you keep this top of mind for your late summer vacation. Take a yoga class in the middle of a lake! 200 hour certified yoga teacher, Chellsey Latham, and owner of Ripl Adventures hosts regular paddle board yoga on Conway Lake. You can find a class schedule, here.

Each class is ninety minutes and promises to connect you more deeply to nature, strengthen your core muscles and help you feel fully present!

While on hold for the moment due to an awesome renovation and revamp, Be Well Studios in North Conway offers a range of yoga classes in its studio. Multiple teachers share the space and offer different classes throughout the week from Hot Yoga to Vinyasa to Gentle Flow and more. Stay tuned for its reopening, and be sure to stop in its sister store, The Local Grocer, (located in the same building) for lunch

For complete trip planning resources and information, visit www.MtWashingtonvValley.org or call 800-367-3364 (800-DO-SEE-NH) to talk to a Mt Washington Valley Chamber of Commerce rep.  To learn more about New Hampshire vacations, go to www.VisitNH.gov.

MOUNT WASHINGTON OBSERVATORY ANNOUNCES THE 21ST ANNUAL SEEK THE PEAK WILL INCLUDE AREA NON-PROFITS TO SHARE THEIR EXPERTISE IN THE OUTDOOR RECREATION

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: Krissy Fraser, Director of Marketing and Communications
(603) 356-2137, ext. 231
KFraser@mountwashington.org

North Conway, NH – June 30, 2021 –  The non-profit Mount Washington Observatory (MWO) announces the gathering of local non-profits that promote safe and responsible outdoor recreation in the state of NH as an important addition to their largest annual fundraiser Seek the Peak – Mount Washington Adventure Expo.

In an expanded event this year, Seek the Peak will culminate Saturday, July 17th from 12-7pm at the Adventure Expo, taking place at Great Glen Trails Outdoor Center. Included in the expo will be an extensive vendor village supported by anchor sponsors Backpacker Magazine’s Get Out Tour, Eastern Mountain Sports, Oboz Footwear, and Granite Outdoor Alliance.

Each exhibiting vendor will be paired with a local nonprofit organization that helps visitors and all adventure enthusiasts safely and responsibly utilize the region’s outdoor resources. Non-profits will include the Appalachian Mountain Club (AMC), White Mountain Trail Collective, Granite Outdoor Alliance, Science on the Fly, Confluence Collective, Trout Unlimited, Protect our Winters, XNH Adventure Trails, NH Outdoor Council, The Access Fund, and Ability Plus. All vendors will have representatives from their booths to answer questions, share their work and even lead clinics. Various topics will include a demonstration from AMC experts on their iNaturalist app, fly fishing demonstrations with Trout Unlimited, and encouragement of advocacy by Protect our Winters to name a few.

“Volunteers with Protect Our Winters are thrilled for the opportunity to be included in this event and to be supporting the work of the observatory,” said POW New England Alliance member Anne Geisler. “As part of our exhibit we will encourage guests to contact their local representatives to support investments in clean energy and protect our public lands. Anyone who takes that action will be entered into a raffle to win a POW Prize Pack.”

The Adventure Expo also includes live music from the Mountain Bear Band and Shark Martin, plus Mount Washington Radio Groups and food trucks Kimberly’s Gluten Free Kitchen, Tin Can Company, and Crescent City Kitchen & KozBar. Participants of Seek the Peak get free entry to the event as part of their fundraising efforts. The event is open to the general public and guests can join the Expo for $10 and kids under age 12 are free. Sorry, no dogs allowed. Visit www.seekthepeak.org to register today.

Happening July 16-17, 2021, Seek the Peak raises a significant portion of the Observatory’s annual budget to support its work in weather observation, education and climate research atop Mount Washington.

All activities will be prepared with COVID protocols in place and CDC guidelines will be followed.

Visit www.mountwashington.org to learn more about the Observatory’s work, how to become a member and other interesting happenings.

Seek the Peak is made possible with support from additional sponsors including The Mt. Washington Auto Road., Martini Northern, First Light, White Mountain Oil, Eastern Slope Inn, Northway Bank, Melcher Prescott Insurance, Settlers Green, Delta Dental and WMWV 93.5.

About Mount Washington Observatory:

Mount Washington Observatory is a private, non-profit, member-supported institution with a mission to advance understanding of the natural systems that create the Earth’s weather and climate. Since 1932, the Observatory has been monitoring the elements from its weather station on the summit of Mount Washington, using this unique site for scientific research and educational outreach. For more information, call (800) 706-0432 or visit MountWashington.org.

Strawberry Season in Mt. Washington Valley, NH.

Strawberry Festival in North Conway, NH, taking place June 26, 2021.
photo c/o Wiseguy Creative Photography

One question we hear a lot in these parts is “are the strawberries ready to be picked, yet?” Strawberry season in the Mt. Washington Valley, NH is a very special time, and certainly well deserved after the cold months of December, January, February, and March.

After a long New England winter made up of a color palate filled with white, grey, and black, this fruit comes bursting into the spring and summer season with its dense red color, and vibrant fresh taste!

So no wonder locals and visitors alike are always chomping at the bit for the first bite of summer’s most precious, and fleeting fruit! Here is one way to make the most of Mt. Washington Valley’s Strawberry Season.

For more ideas like this, on how to spend your vacation in the Mt. Washington Valley, click the link to sign up for our monthly newsletter, Vacation Inspiration.

North Conway Strawberry Festival
The North Conway Strawberry Festival, presented by the First Church of Christ, Congregational, and Vaughan Community Services, is being held on Saturday, June 26th, 2021 from 11:00am to 3:00pm. Taking place in North Conway Village, families can enjoy summertime treats including; strawberry smoothies, strawberry shortcake, strawberries dipped in chocolate, and hot dogs and chips.

Music and games will be playing throughout the event with a free concert going on from 11:00am to 3:00pm. A raffle for both adults and children will be going on, and festival goers can make their way between the booths of local vendors as well. Entry into this event is free, but the event as a whole supports the First Church of Christ and Vaughan Community Services. Both of these organizations offer and support critical services to the Mt. Washington Valley Community, including a food pantry, the local and free thrift shop for teens known as The Revolving Closet, and affordable day care to valley residents.

Father’s Day in Mt. Washington Valley, NH

Celebrate Father’s Day in Mt. Washington Valley, NH.
Photo c/o Wiseguy Photography at Albany Covered Bridge.

Are you celebrating your dad, grandfather, favorite uncle or brother this Father’s Day, in Mt. Washington Valley, NH?

If you’re looking for a way to say “thank you” to your parent-figure in your life, and spend some quality time with family, here are three ideas on how to spend Father’s Day in North Conway, NH, and beyond.

If you’re looking for more ideas on how to spend your Mt. Washington Valley, NH vacation, sign up for our monthly Vacation Inspiration newsletter.

Plan a Golf Getaway in the Mt. Washington Valley, NH!
Mt. Washington Valley is home to many premier golf courses, that offer over 120 holes of golf to play! You’ll find courses and clubs as far south as Ossipee, NH, and as far north as Bretton Woods, NH, and Gorham, NH.

Treat your dad to a whole-day of golf, and a delicious lunch at the course’s clubhouse, like the North Conway Country Club which offers views of White Horse and Cathedral Ledges from its deck overlooking the pristine course.
Or break the day up into a morning spent as a family with an activity similar to walking the trails at Boulder Loop off of the Kancamagus Highway, and ending the day with a nine-hole round of golf at one of the valley’s courses. You can find great deals for a late afternoon round of golf, similar to Wentworth Golf Club’s Summer Special of a $25.00 green fee for a golf game after 3:00pm.

For the father-figure who enjoys an excellent glass of wine and the experience of high-end dining, treat him to a round of golf at The Mountain View Grand Golf Course and dinner in its 1865 Wine Cellar.

Take Your Dad for A Hike!
For the family looking for a more rugged experience, consider hiring a guide to take dad out on a one-of-a-kind outdoor experience. Local guides know the White Mountain National Forest as well as they know their back of their hands. They’ll share insight into what it means to be a steward of the land, share tips on equipment, and interesting anecdotes on outdoor recreation. The access that a guide provides to the White Mountain National Forest, runs deeper than anything one can experience on their own. A gift of a guided outdoor experience is one that dad will likely not forget for many years to come.

Experiences range from guided sunrise hikes, to guided trail running experiences with specific routes mapped out for dad in mind, both of which Redline Guiding offers. Tin Mountain Conservation Center hosts regular Naturalist led hikes where dad can learn to identify plan species, and more. Great Glen Trails (GGT) is a mountain adventure center, that offers a range of activities that the whole family can get in on. GGT offers mountain biking, kayak tours and walking trails. When you’re done with your day of fun at GGT, have lunch as a family at The Glen House Hotel, right across the street, and enjoy its patio with mountain views!

Fun For The Foodie Father!
If your dad is someone who takes pleasure in a well-crafted drink, and meal, then put together a brewery tour that includes stops at three craft breweries and a distillery! Pepper in some amazing food from local restaurants, and end it with some live music, and you won’t even have to pull out that gift of socks you bought dad at the last minute! You will already have made him one happy camper this Father’s Day.

Start by having lunch at Moat Mountain Smokehouse and Brewing Company. Grab a flagship beer like its Czech Pilsner Ale and pair it with a full sheet-pan of nachos.

Cathedral Ledge Distillery is right next door to Moat Mountain Smokehouse and features its own distilled vodka and gin and specialty liquors, like Aquavit. Enjoy a tasting and a tour of the distillery from the enigmatic personalities of the owners, distillers and those who pour for them! You may even be greeted by the distillery’s dog, Belle!

Head north to Ledge Brewing Company in Intervale, NH. Started by a group of fun-loving and energetic locals, their beer is crisp and refreshing. You’ll feel a fun vibe at its tasting room, and outdoor seating area. They regularly host live music as well. Ledge Brewing Company is open 12pm Friday, Saturday and Sunday, and 4pm midweek.

If you make your way south, you can stop by Sea Dog Brewing Company which features multiple craft brewed beer options and a great lunch and dinner menu. Barley and Salt, located in Settlers Green offers over 40 craft beers, sourced from some of the most unique breweries. It also offers a street-fare inspired menu for lunch and dinner.

Ending with a stop at Tuckerman Brewing Company in Conway, you can enjoy a cold beer and live music that plays regularly Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.

Three Ways to Cool Off in the Mt. Washington Valley, NH

Albany Covered Bridge and the Swift River. Photo c/o Wiseguy Photography.

There is nothing like a New England summer. The breeze coming off the lakes, the summer drives passing by farmland, concerts in fields, outdoor dining with mountain views; we are here for it all!

But while New England summer’s are truly something special, it also has to be said that there’s nothing like the humidity that comes with them. When you’re spending your summer in the Mt. Washington Valley, you’ll want to know where and how you can cool off when the temperature and the humidity that comes with it, starts to rise! Here are three of our tried and true ways to make the most of your summer vacation in the Mt. Washington Valley, NH, and beat the heat!

For more ways to play in the Mt. Washington Valley, sign up for our monthly newsletter, Vacation Inspiration.

Take A Dip!
State parks in Mt. Washington Valley, NH abound, and many offer access to lakes and waterfalls. Pack a bag full of sunscreen, and snacks, and make sure you show up to the park early, as finding a parking spot only gets trickier as the day wears on.

Two of our favorite spots include the Albany Covered Bridge, off of the Kancamagus Highway, and Echo Lake State Park, off of West Side Road in North Conway, NH.

Echo Lake offers picnic tables and a sandy beach, with views of Cathedral Ledge. It’s a perfect spot for setting up shop for a morning or afternoon spent by the water. There is no current, so you don’t have to worry about little ones losing grip and getting caught up in a moving body of water. Hiking trails, and fishing spots also provide a range of activities for the whole family.

Restrooms are available, and access to the park, and parking is paid, per person, through a day pass, which you can purchase at the gate, or make reservations 30-days in advance, here.

Albany Covered Bridge sets you up on the Swift River. You won’t find a beach like you would at Echo Lake, so claiming a large rock to lay your towel out on is key. This river carries a current, so make sure those in your party can manage swimming upstream.

Even with a more rugged offering, the Swift River is a tried and true spot for those looking to take a quick dip or enjoy a quick stop for lunch. Cheese Louise is located just a few miles south of Albany Covered Bridge. Make a stop there for freshly made artisanal grilled cheese sandwiches, ice cream sandwiches and shakes, and freshly squeezed juice drinks.

You’ll also find fishing spots and hiking trails near The Albany Covered Bridge. Restrooms and paid parking are available.

Paddle Down the Saco River
Spend the whole day on the river by canoe, kayak or tube!

By planning a paddle down the river, you can be on the water for hours. Try out different beaches, find logs and rocks to do cannon-balls off of, and river outfitters even provide super-soakers for kids, and kids-at-heart to have water fights with.

A river trip down the Saco River is a great way to enjoy the water without having to worry about a lot of details. Parking is provided by most outfitters, and they shuttle you and your family to and from the river launch. You can choose from multiple routes, and decide on a mileage that is appropriate for your family. All you have to do is make sure you pack snacks that everyone likes, sunblock, and plenty of water. Make sure you reserve your Saco River trip in advance, as many outfitters sell out. Click here for a list of rental options.

Seek The A/C
Take comfort in the churn of ye old air conditioner! A tried-and-true method for keep heat and humidity at bay! These establishments below keep the cool breeze cranking and the entertainment flowing! Include them in your family-friendly Mt. Washington Valley vacation! For a list of attractions for all ages, click this link!

Consider gathering the kids for an afternoon at Mystery NH, an escape room experience that is a fun, exciting, and immersive. You and your family and friends will be placed in a room with a specific theme. Your job is to find clues and solve puzzles that align with the specific theme of the room. When you solve a puzzle, you’ll open locks and eventually make your way out of the room. All while the clock is counting down against you!

Ryan’s Family Amusements is a hub of family-friendly entertainment that includes 50 of the hottest and newest games. There are video games, skill games, arcade games, and virtual reality. Play to win great prizes, create friendly competition between family members, and no matter how old each member of your family is, there is an activity for everyone!

Make sure when spending time in the valley you commit to the Granite State Promise to preserve and protect the state of New Hampshire, by being a respectful traveler of nature and of other visitors. Practice the Leave No Trace principles when you venture out into the White Mountain National Forest, and ensure you do your part in sustaining this area we love so much so that it’s around for generations to come.

Swimming Spots in Mt. Washington Valley, NH

MT WASHINGTON VALLEY’S “WATERING HOLES” OFFER UP GREAT NATURAL SWIMMING OPPORTUNITIES.

While most think of watering holes as beverage bars, Mt Washington Valley is replete with the more natural kind. Manmade pools are nice in the summer, and many of Mt Washington Valley’s lodging properties offer both indoor and outdoor options, but when it comes to the rush of the water, Mt Washington Valley’s natural ponds and waterfalls are where it’s at on a hot summer day. During the dog days of summer escape to one of these many natural watering holes and let the cool mountain streams and lakes cool you off.

Mt Washington Valley, NH offers a number of easily accessible free swimming spots and popular “watering” holes”. Take note: you swim at your own risk when enjoying these natural offerings.

Echo Lake State Park: From North Conway, turn west on River Road, then left onto Old West Side Road. Then follow signs to Echo Lake State Park. The lake is set directly at the base of White Horse Ledge with dramatic views of this well-known cliff. It’s one of the few places in Mt Washington Valley where you’ll find a sandy beach. There are also picnic areas, restrooms and changing rooms. You can access hiking trails from here, too. Parking and admission is fee-based.

Saco River at Hussey Field: From North Conway, turn west on River Road. Head for the Saco River for your swim, and the adjacent fields are perfect for a picnic, sunbathing or a game of Frisbee. Many people like to bring rafts or tubes and float in the River here as it meanders slowly. If you’re a non-resident of Conway, be prepared to pay for parking. Spots are limited, so consider carpooling with friends and family.

Jackson Falls: From Route 16A in Jackson, turn on to Carter Notch Road and follow the falls up to a picnic area at the side of the road.  Enjoy climbing out on to the rocks and sitting in any number of small pools created by the falls.  On a hot summer day, the gently flowing water will fall over your shoulders for the perfect water massage. Parking is limited near Jackson Falls, and carpooling or being dropped off at the falls is recommended.

Kancamagus Highway, Lower Falls & Rocky Gorge: From Route 16 in Conway, head east on the Kancamagus Highway. Seven miles from Conway you’ll come to some of the best swimming spots in the Valley. First you’ll find Lower Falls, especially popular since it offers both fast and slow-moving water in small falls, small sandy beaches, picnic tables, parking and changing rooms. You can expect to run into fellow swimmers here as it’s very popular. 

Rocky Gorge, is just 2 miles further down the road. Rocky Gorge is another easy walk along the Swift River that takes you over a foot bridge across the Swift River and takes you to a viewing area where there are informational postings. Head for the pools above the falls, as swimming is prohibited in the Gorge. Rocky Gorge offers a 10′ drop and rapids through the gorge. This is a very powerful waterway, even during dry weather, making swimming dangerous.

Chocorua Lake: From Conway, head south on Route 16 about 10 miles. Chocorua Lake is on the right. Not only will you find the opportunity for a cool dip, but with Mt. Chocorua at the apex of this lake, the scenery is beautiful. There are two sandy beaches on the east side of the lake. One is open to the public and the other is reserved for town residents.

Weston’s Beach: From Main Street in Fryeburg, go north about 3/4 miles to Weston’s Farm Stand. Across the street, you’ll find a wonderful sandy beach on a curve in the Saco River, and certainly some company enjoying the wading and swimming from here.  The river is shallow enough here for the younger set too.

Fountains at Schouler Park: While it’s not natural and it’s not a swimming hole, one very popular place to take the kids to cool off is the playground at Schouler Park, adjacent to the North Conway Community Center right in the center of North Conway Village.  Here a built-in sprinkler fountain shoots water at varying heights thrilling the younger kids reminiscent of running through the sprinklers at home. 

For more information on visiting Mt. Washington Valley, call 1-800-DO-SEE-NH (800-367-3364) for advice on additional opportunities to cool off or visit www.mtwashingtonvalley.org for full vacation planning resources.  Go to www.VisitNH.gov for great ideas on New Hampshire vacations.

Originally written by Marti Mayne.

Fourth of July in Mt. Washington Valley, NH

Fireworks in Schouler Park. Photo by Karen Stancik.

It’s time to celebrate!

If you’re looking for ways to enjoy fourth of July in the Mt. Washington Valley – and that includes fireworks – towns throughout the Mt. Washington Valley are putting together some seriously fun celebrations!

For those looking to soak in the max amount of July Fourth fun, fireworks are happening throughout the Mt. Washington Valley on July 2nd, 3rd and 4th in various towns. This means three different opportunities to take in a fireworks display, and enjoy the different offerings from local businesses. For more vacation tips on how to plan your summer vacation in Mt. Washington Valley, sign up for our monthly Vacation Inspiration newsletter!

As it remains true, please be sure to enjoy the fireworks in each town in a socially responsible manner. Be prepared with a mask to where when asked by individual businesses, and be mindful of the distance between you and others you’re sharing the park spaces with.

North Conway Village will be celebrating on the fourth of July with fireworks in Schouler Park. Fireworks are slated to begin at 9:30pm. Fireworks from Schouler park can be seen as far as West Side Road and Kearsarge Road, for those already plotting where they will view them from.

In year’s past live entertainment has preceded the North Conway Village fireworks. All performances have been put on hold for 2021, with the hope that they can return in the years to come.

Conway Village will be hosting a Fourth of July parade. Enjoy seeing the creative take on floats from area businesses. The parade will start on Hillside Ave, and make its way up Washington street. As it makes its way up Route 113, the parade will take a left at the lights, and a left again, onto Route 16 – headed North. The parade will end in Carl Thibodeau’s plaza, where Bea’s Cafe is. Be sure to check back with Conway Rec Department for any July 4th updates!

Jackson Village will be celebrating the holiday on July second with fireworks starting at 9pm. Fireworks will be taking off from Jackson Village Park. Visitors are encouraged to arrive early and familiarize themselves with the designated parking spots to ensure they don’t park in “no parking zones.” For more information on Jackson Village’s July Fourth celebration, visit this link.

The town of Gorham has a three-day celebration planned for its Fourth of July festivities. This three-day extravaganza includes live music, a patriotic themed scavenger hunt, a farmer’s market, and more. A fireworks show will punctuate the three-day event on July 3rd, starting at 10pm. For event details, visit the event’s facebook page, here.

Fourth of July in the Mt. Washington Valley will be filled with live events, family-friendly fun, and a pathway back into gathering during special times. Towns throughout Mt. Washington Valley are so excited to be able to present Fourth of July events for 2021.