Ten scenic drives and overlooks perfect for fall selfies in Mt Washington Valley, NH
Good news from Mt Washington Valley, NH – August 15, 2017
Contact: Marti Mayne, 207-846-6331, PR@mtwashingtonvalley.org
Ten fabulous drives and scenic overlooks for colorful leaf peeping & selfies this fall
Choose any of these share-worthy leaf peeping spots for autumn selfies in New Hampshire
North Conway, NH – Surrounded by the 880,000-acre White Mountain National Forest, Mt Washington Valley is resplendent in fall colors from approximately mid-to-late September into October. While no one knows when the leaves will hit peak color (and it’s largely dependent upon fall weather conditions), the few weeks between mid-September and October draw leaf peepers from throughout the world to catch some of the most spectacular fall colors anywhere. While you can see fall color just about anywhere in Mt Washington Valley, here are a few scenic drives and overlooks that’ll offer up ideal photo ops for those hoping to capture a selfie worth sharing along with the beauty of fall foliage in Mt Washington Valley. And with a forecast for spectacular color this fall from Jim Salge, who tracks the region’s annual autumn artistry for Yankee Magazine, leaf peepers have reason to start planning their trips to the peak place for fall color – Mt Washington Valley, NH.
West Side Road – Conway to Bartlett, NH
Drive from Route 16 North in Conway, with an outlet in North Conway Village onto Route 16, or continue North to Route 302 in Bartlett. This country road takes you through farmland, past the White Horse and Cathedral Ledges, and along “pick-it-yourself” strawberry farms. You’ll pass gorgeous horse farms too. Be sure to stop at the farm stands along the way and get a selfie with the “smiling barn” in the background (you’ll know it when you see it; it’s in Conway). The Bartlett section of this drive is worth the trip for views across the river and the Intervale.
Cathedral Ledge Road – North Conway, NH
From the North Conway-Bartlett section of West Side Road (or access West Side Road from Route 16 in North Conway, right after the Eastern Slope Inn) follow signs to Cathedral Ledge and drive up the winding road to the top. You’ll know you’re near the top when you start seeing cars. Park in the parking area at the top and walk out onto the ledge to see an incredible view of Mt. Washington Valley before you. You’ll take in fall foliage from as far as Conway Lake to Attitash Mountain Resort, with Cranmore front and center. Be sure to set your camera for a panoramic or wide view. Don’t be surprised if you see a rock climber topping out right at your feet, as this is a popular route for rock climbers too. This is one of those rare scenic overlooks that you can drive to, so it’s quite popular. You may have to park along the road and walk to the top on a busy weekend day.
Jackson Loop – Jackson, NH
From Route 16 North, go through the Jackson Covered Bridge to Route 16B. Stay on 16B in the center of town. The road loops left just before Black Mountain, then goes left again down Carter Notch Road back to Jackson Village where it once again joins 16A. Scenic spots include the picnic stop along Jackson Falls, and the New England Church and gazebo in Jackson Village. Yet throughout this loop, you’ll take in plenty of fall colors along the way, and if it’s particularly warm, take a dip in the river along the way.
Conway to Eaton to East Madison, NH
From Route 16 in Conway, head South on Route 153 at the light. This road will take you past Crystal Lake with the quintessential little white New England, steepled church and the Inn at Crystal Lake in the background, one of the most often captured scenes of New England. Stop into the Eaton Store for a dose of nostalgia and community chatter or time it to have dinner at the nearby Snowvillage Inn or Inn at Crystal Lake on the way back. Continue past Crystal Lake on 153 to Purity Spring Resort in East Madison. Take a quick hike up the trails at King Pine Ski Area to stretch your legs and capture the fall colors and top it all off with a beer to celebrate at Traditions Restaurant.
White Mountain Trail – the granddaddy of Scenic Byways
The ultimate of all scenic tours, this 100-mile loop is designated as a National Scenic Byway traveling through varied portions of the White Mountain National Forest. It’s one of the only Scenic Byway loops in the country and is continually found on top-ten scenic fall drives lists for good reason. Take Route 112 (the Kancamagus Hwy) off Route 16 in Conway and follow to Lincoln, NH. You’ll travel over 33 miles through the White Mountain National Forest, past waterfalls, mountain brooks and hiking trails, with no commercial or retail businesses along the way. Keep a watchful eye out, as this is one of the best moose-watching locations. Follow the Kanc through Lincoln and make a stop at the White Mountain Visitors Center, in North Woodstock. From there, take Route 3 north, which soon joins I-93 to travel through Franconia Notch. This is God’s Country for leaf peeping and beautiful mountain views. Continue on Route 3 when it bears away from I-93, and drive to Twin Mountain. Once in Twin Mountain, turn right at the lights onto Route 302. Once again, keep a keen eye; this is a place where moose are often spotted. Make a stop in Bretton Woods for a tour of the Omni Mount Washington Hotel or a scenic chairlift ride to the top of the ski resort. Then continue east on Rt 302 past Harts Location, Bartlett and back to North Conway on 16/302 and continue on through North Conway’s Village and shopping district into Conway. Along the way, you’ll see wetlands, woodlands, mountains and rivers, and even the site of the Old Man of the Mountain landmark in Franconia. Because the White Mountain Trail is a loop, you can begin and end at any spot that suits you. The drive can be done in one day, but with so much to see, visitors may want to make an extended trip out of it. There are family attractions and plenty of waterfalls and trail heads along the way, so if you have kids in tow, plan to make plenty of stops along the way.
Bear Notch Road, Bartlett, NH
Access this drive from Route 302 in Bartlett. This road connects Route 302 to the “Kanc”, with plenty of scenic stops along the way. For some, this is considered a by-pass, for most it’s considered incredibly scenic, with no commercial businesses along the way. This is also a great location for moose-and-bear-spotting, particularly in the early morning or dusk hours.
The Notches- Pinkham Notch, Crawford Notch and Evans Notch
(on Route 16, past Jackson); Crawford Notch (on Route 302, past Bartlett) and Evans Notch (from East Conway on 113) each offer scenic glory and ideal picture taking opportunities. Drive along these roads and you’ll understand the concept of a mountain notch, as two mountains coming together are visible along the way. Look for fabulous views of Mt. Washington from Pinkham Notch and gorgeous flowing waterfalls and rock formations at Crawford and Evans Notches. There are plenty of trailheads off all three of these scenic drives where you can combine a fall hike with a scenic drive for a full day of fun.
The Scenic Vista Overlook, Intervale, NH
Located on Route 16/302, 3 miles north of North Conway Village, pull over when you see that incredible view of Mount Washington over the Intervale. There’s plenty of room for parking and traveler information available at the Visitors Booth there. You’ll take in a view of harvest hues across the Intervale seemingly ending at Mount Washington. Usually by fall, snow has fallen and collected atop Mount Washington in pure contrast to the fall foliage surrounding it. Have the camera ready. This is a great place for selfies.
The Jackson Bridge, Jackson, NH
Located right off Route 16 at the entrance to Jackson Village, this quintessential New England covered bridge was dubbed “the Kissing Bridge” because way back when it offered young lovers the chance to steal a kiss under the cover of the bridge. Fall in New England isn’t complete without the photo of the beautiful covered bridge, over a scenic river surrounded by fall landscaping, pumpkins and foliage, and this one won’t fail you. Bring three people along so one person can catch the photo of the kiss!
Peace Park, North Conway
Located right on Route 16 at the south end of North Conway Village, this is one of the most accessible places to catch a selfie with brilliant foliage during peak viewing time. Near the Depot Road intersection with Route 16, on the opposite side of the street, look for a small park overlooking foliage so vibrant in reds it literally stops traffic on the road. This stand of trees never fails us, and always offers the perfect photo op. Close in, view maples and fire bushes in crimson brilliance, and catch sight of Cathedral Ledge beyond. Note that Peace Park is a regular stop for tour buses, and cars are likely to slow to a crawl or stop to get a good view of this scenic spot, so you’ll know it before you get there by the traffic during peak foliage time. For a better look, park at the nearby municipal lot across the street and get out of the car with the camera to get good photos.
Whether it’s spring, summer or fall, Mt. Washington Valley offers the ideal location for scenic drives and scenic overlooks for selfies. If you time it right, you may even get a shot of some of New Hampshire’s most incredible wildlife including bald eagles, moose or bear. Visit www.MtWashingtonValley.org for full vacation planning resources or call 1-800-DO-SEE-NH (800-367-3364). To plan your New Hampshire getaway, visit www.VisitNH.gov.
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Photo shown here by Dan Houde/Wiseguy Creative Photography. Use with permission only.
Photos available upon request or visit our online photo gallery.