Late fall….the leaves are past peak and tumbling to the forest floor. In their stead comes snow sprinkled across our mountain peaks, and cozy, abundant adventures. What is the best thing to do in the White Mountains during October and November? We’d say a throwback train ride, a self-guided tour of our haunted spots, and local tax-free shopping, but there’s so much more to see. Take the next few paragraphs as your free ticket to fall daydreaming. The adventure part? That’s up to you!
ROLL THROUGH THE DAY ABOARD A TRAIN
CONWAY SCENIC RAILROAD (North Conway, NH)
Is Mount Washington Valley a must-tour this time of year? Yes! Book a ride on the Conway Scenic Railroad to see it all aboard either the Mountaineer, Sawyer River, or Conway excursions. Each trip varies in length and scenery, so do a bit of scrolling on the Conway Scenic’s website to book your optimum adventure.
Book tickets online in advance. Open daily through 11/21.
HOBO RAILROAD (Lincoln, NH)
If you’ve been after an old-fashioned train ride that includes woodsy and river views in close proximity to Lincoln, NH, opt for the Hobo Railroad. The Hobo’s 90-minute excursion along the banks of the Pemigewasset River is a prime pick if you want to enjoy a picnic lunch (pack your own) with an ever-changing view.
Open through 10/22.
MOUNT WASHINGTON COG RAILWAY (Marshfield Station, NH)
Mother Nature might be winding down for the season, but don’t sleep on the spectacular views found during a ride on the Mount Washington Cog Railway. Spot the last remnants of fall color in the valleys down below while also admiring the crisp white dusting of snow on nearby mountain peaks.
Book tickets online in advance. Open year round, seven days a week (trip length dependent on current weather). Trips to the summit (6,288’): Through 10/15. Biodiesel trips to Waumbek Station (3,900’) and Skyline (5,500’): 10/16 – 10/29. Biodiesel trips to Waumbek Station (3,900’): 10/30 – 12/31.
RECORD YOUR OWN KIND OF MOUNTAIN MUSIC
All you creative types, take note: late fall is a great time to capture the sounds of the White Mountains. Think rain drumming against a cabin’s weathered roof, the crunch of fall leaves underfoot, Canadian geese honking in the sky, and the wind whistling at a scenic overlook. Head out on one of these waterfall walks if you’d like to add in the sound of a burbling river, or get in the spirit and record the Christmas tunes playing throughout Santa’s Village (Jefferson, NH). Edit all your clips together, and long after the season has ended, your soundscape can send you right back down memory lane.
ZIP AND RIDE THROUGH THE SEASONS
A six-wheeled Swiss Army Pinzgauer might be the last thing you’d expect to see in the White Mountains of New Hampshire, but Alpine Adventures (Lincoln, NH) has upped the ante on unique ways to explore our region. Book a guided Pinzgauer tour up Baron Mountain to see fall as it transitions towards winter (the views are even better once the leaves are down) – if you’re feeling ultra daring, you can also add on a ziplining sesh to see it all from up above.
Open Thursdays – Mondays (Weekdays: 9am – 5pm; Weekends: 8am – 5pm). Reservations highly recommended. Currently offering 20% off all tours through November 20, 2023. Use code STICK23 at checkout when booking online.
TAKE A SCARY GOOD SELF-GUIDED TOUR
Halloween will be here before you know it – time to embrace spooky season! The White Mountains is filled with scary stories, ghost towns, and historic haunted spots (like the ghost town of Livermore, the tragic tale of Nancy Barton, or the Princess Room at the Omni Mount Washington Resort). Come check them out.
For even more thrills and chills, check out “Ghost Light”, a haunted theatrical attraction found at the North Country Center for the Arts at Jean’s Playhouse.
HEAD INDOORS FOR SOME SUPRISING COLOR
Soon, the fall leaves will shift from decorating our trees to fluttering around on the ground in soft shades of brown. If you are still craving some punchy hues, our best advice over these next few weeks is to head inside! Living Shores Aquarium (Glen, NH) houses all sorts of fauna plus every imaginable color – the vivid green of a tropical snake, the bejeweled hues of a lorikeet, rusty red circles on the side of a native trout, and even the silky deep brown of a river otter.
Open year round. Fall dates: Fridays – Mondays (through 12/28).
GET “BOULDER” WITH YOUR ROAD TRIP CHOICES
If you think you’ve seen it all for road trips, try a novel approach: look for rocks that rock! From immense glacial erratics like Madison Boulder to elephantine landmarks, our region is peppered with noteworthy geologic features. See if you can hit all the ones featured in this blog before the snow truly flies.
BEAT THE HOLIDAY RUSH & SHOP LOCAL
Procrastinators might want to keep scrolling, but our favorite way to avoid a holiday headache is to start shopping for presents well before the holiday season kicks off. Not sure where to start? Add these local shops and outlet centers (all tax-free!) to your list, and then get your gift shop on at Clark’s Bears (Lincoln, NH)! The namesake bears are settling in for the winter, but it would be ill advised to sleep on all of Clark’s awesome, White Mountains-themed offerings.
The Clark’s Bears gift shop dates include 10/14 & 15, 10/21 & 22, 11/23 – 26 (plus dates in December).
See you out there, late fall fans!