The Eastern White Mountains (aka the Mount Washington Valley) is an outdoor enthusiasts’ playground and between the mountain peaks, lakes, state parks, and plenty of forests, it’s no wonder that people from around the world descend on this part of the White Mountains during fall foliage season.
Visit an Attraction
Cranmore Mountain Resort is a great place to spend a few hours, especially if you want a little bit of adventure, and lots of foliage views. Start out at Cranmore’s Mountain Adventure Park to twist and turn down the Mountain Coaster, fly like a bird on the Soaring Eagle Zip Line or defy gravity on the Giant Swing. Take a ride on the scenic chair lift for spectacular foliage views across the Mount Washington Valley. If you’re looking for a more relaxing way to take in the colors, book an old-fashioned train excursion on the Conway Scenic Railroad. Take to the Valley on a 2-hour Sawyer River or an hour-long, Conway excursion, or opt for the beauty of a 5-hour tour through Crawford Notch on the Mountaineer.
Explore and Discover
There are many beautiful places to discover while you’re visiting the Mount Washington Valley, but if you only have one day, consider adding one or two of these to your list. The Madison Boulder Natural Area is not only a part of New Hampshire’s State Park system, it is also a truly rare find. This massive boulder is 83’ in length, 23’ in height, and 37’ in width and has been named the largest glacial erratic in the United States and among the largest in the world. Another great spot is the 700-foot Cathedral Ledge. This spectacular spot is also a State Park, and you can either drive the 1-mile auto road to the top or you can access several trails from Echo Lake Beach. Enjoy the foliage and beautiful views of the Saco River Valley and the White Mountains beyond. There are many beautiful examples of historic covered bridges in the White Mountains, and you can find several of them within short driving distance of one another in the Mount Washington Valley. The Jackson Covered Bridge (or the Honeymoon Bridge as it is affectionately known) is one of the most photographed covered bridges in the United States and you can add your photos to the online collection. Don’t miss out on the Albany Covered Bridge on the eastern end of the Kancamagus Highway as well as the Saco and Swift River Bridges in Conway.
Go For a Walk
This region is known for its many hiking trails, walks in the woods, and access to the larger, more daunting peaks in the Presidential Range. If you’re spending a day, opt for one of these smaller walks that still offer stunning foliage views. Foss Mountain, located in Eaton, is the perfect family hike that is slightly off the beaten path. While this is a beautiful spot regardless of the season, it really shines in the fall with panoramic views from the top. Table Mountain is on the “52 With a View” list and offers wonderful foliage views. The trailhead for this 4-mile out and back trail is located on Bear Notch Road, which is the connector road on the Kancamagus Highway. Looking to add a waterfall to your foliage adventure? Pinkham Notch’s Thompson Falls is a quick and easy hike that is a great way to check both a foliage hike and a waterfall off your fall “bucket list”.
Time for something to eat!
Settlers Green Outlet Village is not only a great place to head to fine some incredible deals and tax-free shopping, but they also have some delicious lunch options, all in one convenient location. Barley & Salt, FIRE by Wicked Fresh, Cheese Louise (gourmet grilled cheese…yum!) and the Met Coffeehouse (Also serving sandwiches), are just a few of the tasty places to try out. Take a post-lunch stroll around the Settler’s Green property to find all the whimsical and beautiful sculptures and murals on their Art Walk.
Take a Tour
A fun tradition in the Mount Washington Valley is the Return of the Pumpkin People, hosted by the Jackson Chamber of Commerce. Businesses and community members create and display Pumpkin People throughout the region and with the handy map that can be picked up at participating businesses, participants can take a self-guided driving tour to view all the submissions and vote for their favorites.
Bringing the Kids?
Be sure to head to Glen where you will not only find Story Land, a storybook themed park, but right next door is Living Shores Aquarium, the only aquarium in New Hampshire. This indoor walk-through adventure will captivate you with over 20 exhibits ranging from interactive tide pools, tropical bird encounters, sting ray feedings, and much more.
Staying For Dinner?
Enjoy an abundance of delicious dining options in North Conway and Jackson
Spending the night?