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Franconia Notch State Park, located in the heart of the White Mountain National Forest, spans an eight-mile portion of Interstate 93 with the Flume Gorge at the south and Echo Lake to the north. The mountain pass consists of peaks from both the Kinsman and Franconia mountain ranges. The parkway is a remarkable mountain pass offering travelers spectacular views of nearby ridges, area attractions, and natural wonders.
Once home to the famous Old Man of the Mountain rock formation, Franconia Notch also encompasses the Flume Gorge and Visitor Center, the Cannon Mountain Aerial Tramway, the New England Ski Museum, Echo Lake, Cannon Mountain Ski Area, Profile Lake, the Basin, and an abundance of hiking and biking trails.
Franconia Notch is an outdoor enthusiast’s oasis. The mountain peaks and surroundings offer scenic vistas unlike anywhere else in the world. Profile Lake, at the base of what was once considered home to the Old Man of the Mountain, is known for its excellent fly-fishing. The Recreational Trail is perfect for those looking for a mellow stroll or bike ride while numerous other trails throughout the notch are available for those looking to gain more elevation. The cliffs on either side of the parkway are full of rock climbers during the warmer months. Travelers can often look up to see climbers rappelling off the nearby cliffs.
The Notch is full of a variety of wildlife and it is not uncommon for travelers to spot some kind of furry critter while traversing the parkway. Hawks, moose, falcons, eagles, deer, bear, racoons, porcupines, and skunks are just some of the possible sightings. Using caution while driving this area is always advised. You can visit the New Hampshire Fish & Game Department’s website to learn more about wildlife in this area.
The Appalachian Trail spans part of the notch before continuing north to Mount Washington. This portion of the trail is known as the Franconia Ridge Trail which skirts the 5,249 ft summit of Mount Lafayette. Franconia Notch includes a variety of natural wonders for visitors to enjoy as well as other must-see stops such as the covered bridge near the Flume Gorge, the Old Man of the Mountain historic marker, and Boise Rock.
In Fall, the foliage in Franconia Notch State Park is simply spectacular. Each year, New Hampshire draws millions of visitors to see the region’s annual display of color which plays out for only a few select weeks. Travelers are able to see first-hand the multi-colored mountainsides, the variety of trees that undergo this transformation, and the rugged terrain.
For more information about Franconia Notch State Park, click here.