The calendar might still say summer, but we are already thinking FALL.
The leaves will be changing before you know it, and with it comes the visitors who have been waiting all year for the chance to tromp, drive, and frolic through the veritable rainbow of colors that will be painting our mountaintops, main streets, and scenic byways in no time.
What are the best things to do in the White Mountains during fall? When is the best time to book fall lodging? What should you pack for fall weather? Most importantly, when is peak foliage in the White Mountains? (Our short answer: it changes every year! Typically, visitors can expect the brightest colors from the end of September through the first two weeks of October.)
This is your checklist/cheat sheet to stave off any headaches once the season is in full swing. After all, fall is a brief – let’s make the most of it.
Book Your Lodging ASAP
Book your lodging – like, now. Our fall foliage is legendary, and visitors from across the globe flock to the White Mountains throughout September and October. While we love a good spontaneous trip, foliage season is not the time to fly by the seat of your pants (lest you arrive in our region with no place to rest your head).
Do Your Research
Many of our Major Attractions start to wind down in the stretch between Labor Day weekend and Columbus Day weekend. Check out the dates of operation for each Attraction before you hit the road – we’d hate for you to come for a visit and miss out on your must-see spots!
Is hiking on the agenda? Purchase a paper map, read trail descriptions, and brush up on these basic hiking tips before you hit the trail. Being unprepared is one of the quickest ways to get yourself in trouble on a hike, even if it’s a short one.
Plan a Scenic Drive on the Quiet Side
Chances are, if you are planning a fall foliage trip in the White Mountains, you’ve already heard about the Kancamagus Highway. It’s scenic and stunning….and not the only great stretch of road. The Kanc can get packed with traffic during peak foliage weekends, so do yourself a favor and try out a few of these less traveled routes.
Pack for Each Season (and Pack Sensibly!)
“If you don’t like the weather, just wait a few minutes” pretty much sums up the White Mountains experience.
On any given day, and especially if you go up in elevation, you can encounter everything from sunshine and t-shirt weather to drizzly rain, snow squalls, and freezing temperatures. We love how the mountains keeps us on our toes – just don’t freeze yours by wearing the wrong thing.
Even if you are just going on a scenic drive or enjoying one of our Attractions, pack layers and cozy add-ons like hats and mittens. As far as shoes go, hiking boots are a must to prevent slipping on leaves or slick rocks.
Planning a hike? Always, always pack the 10 Essentials.
Attend Local Events
If you love fall as much as we do, celebrate it at one of our landmark events! We have everything from the Return of the Pumpkin People in Jackson, NH (running throughout the month of October) to the extraordinary NH Highland Games hosted at Loon Mountain Resort each September.
Take a look at our Events Calendar and book tickets for your faves online today!
Add In a Fall Activity
Your itinerary might be looking pretty full already, but always remember to add in a signature fall activity. Our suggestions? Conquer a corn maze, pick apples at an orchard, fly through the forest on a zipline, tour covered bridges, and go on a fall foliage hike.
Can’t you feel the crunch of fall leaves under your feet already? We’ll see you in the mountains in no time!