White Mountains New Hampshire
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White Mountains Kancamagus Highway

Kancamagus Highway in the White Mountains


NATURAL & HISTORIC POINTS OF INTEREST: Watchable wildlife, Swift River, Dugway Picnic Area, Albany Covered Bridge, Passaconaway Historic Site, Hancock, Pemi, C.L. Graham Wangan Ground, and Sugar Hill Over-looks, Sabbaday Falls, Rocky Gorge Scenic Area, Lower Falls and Picnic Area, Greeley Ponds Scenic Area, Discovery Trail.
INTERPRETIVE SITES: Saco Ranger Station and Russell-Colbath House, near Conway on the Kancamagus Highway, Lincoln Woods Ranger Station, White Mountains Visitor Center, North Woodstock.

Undoubtedly, one of the most spectacular sections of the White Mountains Trail is the Kancamagus Highway, which stretches 341/2 miles from Conway in the east to Lincoln in the west. “The Kanc,” as it is known, traversesthe White Mountain National Forest, crossing the flank of Mt. Kancamagus and climbing to nearly 3,000 feet in the process. Along its length are numerous hiking trails, federally designated Scenic Areas, and overlooks that provide travelers with truly breathtaking views.

The highway was named for Kancamagus, an early Indian Chief of the Penacook Confederacy, who tried to keep the peace between his people and the white settlers. Repeated harassment by the English eventually ended his efforts, and ultimately brought war and bloodshed to the region. In the early 1690’s, the tribes of the Confederacy scattered, and Kancamagus and his followers moved on, either to northern New Hampshire or—in some instances—to Canada.

It was Passaconaway, Kancamagus’ grandfather, who, in 1627, originally united more than 17 central New England Indian tribes into the Penacook Confederacy. The rich flat land 12 miles from Conway is named for him. This community was first settled about 1790. The Russell-Colbath House is the only remaining 19th century homestead in the area, and serves as a US Forest Service Information Center.