Trains in the White Mountains might sound like an engineering marvel, and guess what? They are! Here, you can find them rumbling across a bridge tucked against the side of rocky cliffs, or steadily climbing up the Northeast's highest peak, one cog at a time.
If you're visiting the White Mountains and wondering "what can I do besides driving to see the sights?", our scenic railroads and train rides are it. Hop aboard the likes of the Conway Scenic Railroad, Mount Washington Cog Railway, or Hobo Railroad, and you'll find yourself transported back to a time when hardy pioneers carved out their livelihoods from the legendary valleys and peaks that make up our region.
Gather your family up for a scenic train trip for the record books - these are the best trains in New Hampshire, and we're ready to brag!
CONWAY SCENIC RAILROAD (North Conway, NH)
Your historic train tour begins in the center of North Conway, at the Conway Scenic Railroad's circa 1874 train station. This Victorian-style hub has a gift shop and plenty of snapshot worthy corners to wile away the minutes before you catch your train ride of choice.
Your options for adventure include the Conway Valley Train (a classic, 11-mile train ride through woods and fields that runs at 55 minutes round trip), the Sawyer River Train (a 21-mile, 2 hour and 10 minutes roundtrip complete with bridges and river views), and the iconic Mountaineer Train. This last ride is a once in a lifetime kind of experience. It includes 1950's-era passenger cars, the option to book a scenic upper dome dining cars (pick this if you want the absolute best views), and 4 to 5.5 hours round trip to bask in the sights of the rugged and iconic stretches of Crawford Notch. There's also plenty of narration along the way regarding the region's rich history.
HOBO RAILROAD (Lincoln, NH)
All aboard the Hobo Railroad! This fun option can trace its roots back to the 1880s, when the Pemigewasset Valley Railroad was built, connecting the frontier towns of Lincoln and Woodstock to the more southerly town of Plymouth, NH. The line was revived in 1986 by Edward and Brenda Clark, and today, passengers enjoy a pleasant 15-mile, 80-minute excursion that hugs the banks of the Pemigewasset River.
We particularly love the option of bringing your own picnic lunch along for the ride, and the outrageously colorful trees that surround the Hobo Railroad's tracks come fall.
CLARK'S BEARS (Lincoln, NH)
Have you ever heard of the White Mountain Central Railroad? This small yet mighty railroad is found within Clark's Bears, and several times a day, visitors are invited to board Clark's steam train for a rip-roaringly fun 2.5-mile train ride into Wolfman's territory. Who is the Wolfman, you ask? You'll have to find out with a visit to Clark's. If you're bringing the kids, just keep in mind there will be some shenanigans and some good-natured, rousing shouting during your train trip. There will also be a scenic 1904 covered bridge that spans the Pemigewasset River, and many memories in the making.
To ride the White Mountain Central Railroad, guests must purchase an entry ticket to Clark's Bears.
MOUNT WASHINGTON COG RAILWAY (Marshfield Station, NH)
On July 3, 1869, a curiously tilted locomotive named Old Peppersass made history when it reached the summit of Mount Washington, the tallest peak in the Northeast. That day, the Mount Washington Cog Railway (or the Cog, as it is affectionately called) became the first mountain-climbing railroad to use a toothed cogwheel to engage a rack placed between the trails.
Over the course of its 147 years, the Cog has brought millions of visitors and train aficionados from around the world to the rooftop of New Hampshire. If you like the sounds of standing at 6,288' feet, spotting distant hikers tackling the Presidential Range, and exploring the Mount Washington Observatory (located within Mount Washington State Park), book your tickets for this ever-popular option today.
Excursions run daily and year-round, and include the option of a classic steam engine or innovative bio-diesel locomotives.
Trip length dependent on weather conditions. Visit TheCog.com for more information and to purchase your tickets online ahead of time.
CAFE LAFAYETTE DINNER TRAIN (North Woodstock, NH
Following the tracks of the Hobo Railroad, the Cafe Lafayette Dinner Train is an elegant way to enjoy dinner and an adventure all in one! Indulge in a leisurely five-course meal as you spend two hours traveling along the Pemigewasset River, and if you're feeling daring, we'd say "dress up, but make it vintage!".
Other Ways to Ride the Rails
Would you rather explore railroad tracks under your own steam? Look into booking a tour with Rail Bike Adventures in Laconia, NH or Scenic Rail Riders in Concord, NH. Both options offer scenic pedaling aboard multi-passenger rail bikes, and are open May through October.