Kancamagus Highway - New Hampshire - A Scenic Byway through the White Mountain National Forest


The Kancamagus Highway or Scenic Byway extends about 26.5 miles or 42.4 kilometers through the White Mountain National Forest. Travel time along the scenic highway takes approximately one hour to drive. The highway passes through the heart of the White Mountains and along the base of Mount Kancamagus.

Most visitors of the highway are drawn due to the colorful foliage in early autumn and throughout the spring and summer months. The road travels through rich forests, old logging roads and trails and even Indian hunting paths. Drivers are encouraged to take their time to explore the history that the byway offers. One of the most popular destinations along the highway is Clark's Trading Post. This trading post has been run and operated by the Clark family for over 70 years and features a fire station, steam locomotive, a large museum and even trained North American black bears. Located along a historic Main Street, visitors can find just about everything related to the Kancamagus Highway at this destination.

Travelers can drive to the east end of the Kancamagus Highway and take a train ride on the Conway Scenic Railroad. There are several train rides that vary in duration of time, like the Valley Train that travels through Conway and Bartlett or the Notch Trail which travels to Crawford Notch and Fabyan Station.

Another popular destination along the scenic highway is Lost River Gorge. The Lost River winds through the area and falls through the Gorge. Natural history formations, ecology, and flora are prominent in this area. Many travelers then head north toward Franconia Notch State Park which is high up in the White Mountains. The park offers a lot to see including the Flume Gorge and the Old Man of the Mountain. The Old Man of the Mountain is a visage created from erosion that portrays a portrait of an old man on the mountainside. The Flume Gorge stands at 90 feet tall and runs 800 feet long. Following the Flume Gorge takes visitors to a two-mile trail across several bridges and waterfalls. Scenic pools and large glacial boulders also grab the attention of the traveler. An aerial tramway at Cannon Mountain is available to ride and allows for lots of scenic views. Falcons and hawks have been seen hovering along the ride. Visitors can then swim at Echo Lake, take in some rock climbing or hike along the Appalachian Trail.

Continuing eastward along the highway are many recreational opportunities. One of New Hampshire's largest ski resorts is located nearby. The Attitash Bear Peak features two large mountains with a lot of snow skiing possibilities. Off season, the resort still flourishes as it offers horseback riding, hiking and relaxation activities.

The last stretch of the highway provides a drive along the Mount Washington Auto Road. This eight mile road leads right to Mt. Washington and is known as "the top of New England.'' Expansive views of the Presidential Range and White Mountain National Forest are seen here as well as hiking opportunities that take travelers right up the highest peak in the northeast.

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