Spring time in the White Mountains can be unpredictable, but there is plenty of fun that can be had. Some activities are actually favorable in the Spring! Spring is also a great time in this area because the crowds are smaller and finding a quiet place on a mountain bike trail, at a scenic pond, or in a brewery is easy and enjoyable! Below are a few "Out of the Ordinary" activities we suggest in the spring time.
Bird Watching - If you enjoy being in the outdoors and seeing wildlife then bird watching may be your calling! Spring is the perfect time to view the many varieties of birds we have here in New Hampshire. All you need for a day of birding is a pair of binoculars and a bird book, it's that simple! Great fun can be had in April and May watching birds that are migrating back to their summer home in New Hampshire. Birds such as the barred owl, black capped and boreal chickadee, and pileated woodpecker can be spotted any time as they do not migrate. Peregrine falcons can be spotted among the high cliffs in Franconia Notch State Park. Loons begin to appear on the still waters of the White Mountains to build their nests, while bald eagles cruise high above the large turbulent rivers in search of a meal. For more information on birds, their habitat, migration, and identification visit www.nhaudubon.org.
Fishing - Spring is the best time of year to pursue the numerous species of fish that live in New Hampshire's rivers, lakes, and ponds. Whether you are new to fishing, or have been doing it for years, there are plenty of opportunities to "hook up". Spin fishing and fly-fishing are the two most popular methods of fishing in the White Mountains region. After the ice is gone from the lakes and ponds ("ice out"), fish begin feeding aggressively. Warm water species such as smallmouth bass, largemouth bass, and chain pickerel are a thrill to catch. Casting medium sized lures or flies to rocks, logs, and even docks is a great way of targeting these fish. Coldwater species such as northern pike, eastern brook trout, and rainbow trout are also exciting to pursue, although they do not always come easy. One minute the trout,bass, or pike are in a feeding frenzy, the next minute they won't even look at your lure or fly! That is the reason the sport is called fishing, not catching! For more information on fish species, water bodies, and license information visit www.nhfishandgame.com
Mountain Biking/Road Cycling - There are hundreds of miles of mountain biking trails and roads that are perfect for a two wheeled adventure in the White Mountains! Try riding the Franconia Notch bicycle path, it winds for 9 miles over paved terrain through the scenic State Park. There are numerous scenic stops along the way such as Echo Lake and the famous Basin. These places are ideal locations to stop for a picnic lunch. The Franconia Notch bicycle path is a great way to spend a day outside with the family. Another option for the paved cyclist is the Kancamagus highway (Lincoln/Conway) or Route 49 (Thornton/Waterville Valley). These are classic road cycling routes that offer a good mix of downhill and uphill climbs. They also bring you directly through some of the most beautiful mountains in the entire state! If you are looking to get off the paved road check out the Lincoln Woods Wilderness Trail (Lincoln) or Tripoli Road (Woodstock/Waterville Valley). Great Glen Trails (Gorham) offers mountain bike rentals and have extensive trail systems to explore. For more information on suggested routes, bicycle safety, and more visit http://www.nh.gov/dot/programs/bikeped/maps/ , or stop by the White Mountains Visitor center off exit 32 in North Woodstock.
Brewery Visits and Craft Beer Shops - The mountains are not the only thing that is white here in New Hampshire, so is the foam atop the delicious craft brews that are being poured in the state! The White Mountain region is a great place to spend a rainy day visiting the numerous breweries and beer shops in the area. The Woodstock Station Brewery (N. Woodstock) is a great place to enjoy a beer and a bite to eat. Take a tour of their newly expanded brewery. If you are looking for some exciting foreign flavor profiles in your brews, check out Schilling Brewery (Littleton). The artisanal brewery specializes in crafting European style ales and lagers and serving quality pizzas, pretzels, strombolis and more. Another great place to dine and try an array of beers is Moat Mountain Smokehouse and Brewery (N. Conway). While in the area swing by Tuckerman's Brewery and try some of their brews in the new tasting room, or go for a brewery tour! Although all of the breweries mentioned offer "growlers" of their beer to take home, you may want to seek out a certain bottled brew from a store. Wayne's Market (Woodstock) has a fine selection of local New Hampshire and New England beers along with a good assortment from the rest of the country. Another great craft beer store in the Conway area is the Glen Beverage Co. (Glen). For more information check out the NH Brewery Map.
Waterfall Viewing - Spring is the best time of year to view waterfalls in the White Mountains. Rivers and streams are running high due to melting snow from the mountain tops. This snow melt, called "run off", makes even the smallest of waterfalls a sight to see. Some waterfalls are located directly next to a road while others are tucked away in the mountains. Some of the most spectacular roadside waterfalls are the Flume and Silver Cascades (Rt. 302, Hart's Location), Lower Ammonoosuc Falls (Rt. 3, Twin Mountain), and Rocky Gorge and Lower Falls (Kancamagus Hwy., Albany). If you are looking to get away from the road and onto a trail there are several short hikes that will lead to some very impressive falls. Ripley falls (0.6 mi) in Crawford Notch, The Basin, Cascades, Kinsman & Rocky Glen (1.0-1.1 mi) in Franconia Notch, and Sabbady Falls (0.3 mi) off the Kancamagus highway are great to visit. The trails leading to these waterfalls are well maintained and should be free of mud or rough footing. Waterfall viewing is an excellent way to spend a day outside with the family. Waterfalls are beautiful, but can be dangerous at times, especially when surrounding rocks are wet, so please use caution. Be sure to closely supervise children when visiting waterfalls. Respect the water, rocks, and wildlife so that everyone can enjoy these special places. And remember to bring a camera to capture the beauty of these rushing waters! For more information stop by the White Mountains Visitor Center off exit 32 in North Woodstock and pick up a Covered Bridges and Waterfalls of the White Mountains map.