Exploring the White Mountains Before Foliage Season

The kids are back at school and the night time temperatures are starting to cool down, but summer is not over yet! Fall is just around the corner, and now is the PERFECT time to get away to the White Mountains. Many of our attractions and businesses are open midweek, and the usual crowds have come and gone. Soak up every last bit of summer right here in the White Mountains.

Alpine Adventures motto is “Life is Short. Have more Fun.” We couldn’t agree more, as this is the perfect time to reserve your zipline tour or off-road safari. Feel the cool breeze on your face as you zip through the trees and catch glimpses of the leaves in Franconia Notch just barely starting to turn.

Enjoy a quick ride to the summit of Cannon Mountain on the Cannon Mountain Aerial Tramway and explore the observation deck, where you will be greeted by incredible mountain views from four states as well as Canada. Meander the scenic walking paths and relax in the peace and quiet from the top of one of the White Mountains 4,000 footers.

The Flume Gorge is an incredible natural wonder that will leave you in awe as you walk the trail from the Visitor's Center to the Flume and back. Walk the entire 2 mile loop and you'll see moss-covered granite walls, cascading waterfalls, historic covered bridges, glacial pools & boulders and much more. A shorter 1/2 mile walk brings you directly to The Flume Gorge. Take some time to explore the Visitor’s Center where you can experience the historic wonder of Franconia Notch State Park via a 20-minute film, enjoy a meal or light snack, and browse the gift shop which includes a selection of New Hampshire made products.

The Loon Mountain Resort Gondola not only brings you to the top of Loon Mountain, but it also gives you exclusive access to the Mountaintop Playground, Herbert’s Observation Tower, and the 50,000 year old glacial caves that are connected by a series of boardwalks and stairways.

Find Lost River Gorge and Boulder Caves …without the crowds! Take as long or as little as you want experiencing each cave that was created by glaciers and discovered in 1852 by the Jackman Bothers. Be mesmerized by Paradise Falls, then complete your trip through the Gorge by exploring the Treehouse and the Adventure Trail.

Drive your own car over 6,000 feet to the summit of Mt. Washington on the Mount Washington Auto Road and earn your boasting rights along with a “This Car Climbed Mt. Washington” bumper sticker. Bring your camera and take advantage of the multiple scenic vistas along the nearly 8-mile long Auto Road.

Climb the highest peak in the Northeast by train aboard the Mount Washington Cog Railway. Visit the informational museum, gift shop, and café at the Marshfield Base Station before beginning your ascent to the summit of Mount Washington. At the summit, visit the historic Tiptop House, the Observatory Museum, and don’t forget to take pictures!

If you haven’t “rocked” the Polar Caves Park before, come and see what you are missing. Navigate the 9 glacial caves and take in the mountain scenery as well as the geological wonder of the massive granite boulders that surround you. For the truly adventurous, try climbing the Glacial Wall or The Ascent.

Designated a National Scenic Byway, The White Mountains Trail is a 100-mile loop tour that winds through sections of the 800,000-acre White Mountain National Forest and past many of the region's most popular attractions. It can be driven in a day or can be the object of an entire vacation's worth of relaxation, exploration, and discovery. See the leaves just starting to turn through Crawford Notch and Franconia Notch and get out to stretch your legs at the many scenic vistas and waterfalls along the way.

This is a great time to get outside and hike some of the more popular trails, without all the foot traffic, or bugs! For those looking to get into the woods and enjoy the White Mountains, here are some of our favorites:

Artist’s Bluff -This 1.5 mile loop trail brings you to the top of Bald Mountain as well as the Artist’s Bluff ledge, which offers stunning views of Franconia Notch. This is a great hike for all ages and abilities, and a great spot to watch the sunset.

Mt. Willard -This 3.2 mile round-trip hike begins in Crawford Notch and is a relatively easy hike to the top. Along the way, you will find a waterfall which makes for a lovely photo opp, and at the summit, you will be rewarded with one of the best views of Crawford Notch for not a lot of effort.

Sabbaday Falls located on the legendary scenic Kancamagus Highway (Route 112), these popular falls have a 45 foot drop and are accessible by an easy 0.3 mile walk in the woods. The trail all the way to the top of the falls is handicap accessible. Swimming is not allowed but there is a picnic area and restrooms near the parking area.

Lincoln Woods Trail -The Lincoln Woods Trail runs for 2.6 miles along the east branch of the Pemigewasset River along a former logging railroad bed. Once you leave the parking lot off of the Kancamagus Highway, you will cross a small suspension bridge and then enter the woods. This trail also connects to many others in the Pemi Wilderness, which offers a variety of hiking adventures.

At the Squam Lakes Natural Science Center meadows, forests, and marsh boardwalks connect interactive natural exhibits where native animals reside. See black bears, mountain lions, raptors, river otters, bobcats, and more. While you’re there walking the self-guided tour of the animal exhibit trail and hiking trails, take a Squam Lake Cruise, and enjoy the beauty of Kirkwood Gardens.