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beautiful fall foliage at Franconia Notch State Park

Nestled within the White Mountains, about an hour north of Concord, you’ll find the stunning Franconia Notch State Park.

Renowned for its incredible scenic beauty, it offers a range of outdoor recreational opportunities. This incorporates several miles of hiking trails, including the Appalachian Trail, which passes through the park.

Franconia Notch is also home to a number of notable attractions, such as the Flume Gorge, the Cannon Mountain Aerial Tramway, and the New England Ski Museum. In addition, it is a well known hotspot for rock climbing, mountain biking, and cross-country skiing. While birding, photography and picnicking are regularly enjoyed too.

For those who want to stay overnight there are also several campgrounds in this New Hampshire state park. This allows visitors to set up their tents or rent a cabin and spend a night or two in the heart of a truly magnificent environment.

Activities

During their visit to Franconia Notch State Park, guests can enjoy its breathtaking natural beauty in several ways.

Below are just a handful of the various activities you can engage in during your visit there.

Flume Gorge at Franconia Notch State Park

The Flume Gorge is a popular natural attraction. Comprising a narrow canyon, it was formed by glaciers over thousands of years and comprises a unique and breathtaking landscape.

Visitors can take a self-guided tour through the Gorge, which includes a walk along a wooden boardwalk that follows the Pemigewasset River.

During this tour they will be taken to a covered bridge, waterfall, and an observation deck, from where the Gorge’s full natural beauty can be witnessed.

Avalanche falls at Franconia Notch State Park

Cannon Mountain Aerial Tramway at Franconia Notch State Park

The Cannon Mountain Aerial Tramway is another ‘must-see’ attraction within Franconia Notch State Park.

This tramway takes visitors on a breathtaking journey to the top of Cannon Mountain, offering stunning views of the surrounding landscape.

Taking the form of a two-stage gondola, it carries passengers from the base of Cannon Mountain to its summit, a 4,000-foot climb that takes just under 10 minutes.

The summit offers panoramic views of the White Mountains, including Mount Washington and the Presidential Range, as well as the scenic Franconia Notch valley.

Hiking at Franconia Notch State Park

From easy walks along the Pemigewasset River to challenging climbs up Cannon Mountain, there is something for hikers of all levels and interests at Franconia Notch State Park.

One of the most popular hiking trails in the park is the Lafayette Place Loop, which provides stunning views of the Franconia Ridge and the surrounding White Mountains. The loop is a 4.6-mile hike that takes about 2-3 hours to complete and is considered a moderate hike.

Another popular trail is the Falling Waters Trail, which follows a series of waterfalls and cascading streams. The trail is considered an easy hike and is a great option for families with young children.

For those looking for a more challenging hike, the ascent of Cannon Mountain is a must-try. The mountain offers several hiking trails, including the Kinsman Ridge Trail and the Hi-Cannon Trail, that lead to the summit, which is 4,080 feet above sea level. From the summit, hikers are treated to panoramic views of the surrounding landscape.

red covered bridge at Franconia Notch State Park

Rock climbing at Franconia Notch State Park

The park offers rock climbing opportunities for climbers of all skill levels.

Some popular climbing spots in the park include Cannon Cliff, Whitehorse Ledge, and the Lost Hemisphere.

Before climbing, be sure to obtain all necessary permits and equipment, and always follow proper safety guidelines and techniques.

It is also important to be aware of current conditions and any closures or restrictions in the park.

Cross country skiing at Franconia Notch State Park

The white mountains aren’t called the white mountains for nothing!

Throughout the park there are excellent opportunities for cross country skiing.

Designed for skiers of all abilities, the park has well-groomed trails that wind through the beautiful White Mountain scenery.

Before heading out on any of them, make sure to check the current weather and trail conditions, and always come prepared with appropriate clothing, equipment, and supplies.

The Basin at Franconia Notch State Park

Birding at Franconia Notch State Park

Franconia Notch State Park offers excellent opportunities for birding. The park’s varied habitats, including deciduous and coniferous forests, wetlands, and high-elevation summits, support a diverse array of bird species.

Some of the most commonly seen bird species in the park include the Blackburnian Warbler, the Black-throated Green Warbler, and the Rose-breasted Grosbeak.

During migration, visitors may also see birds such as the Cerulean Warbler, the Northern Parula, and the Black-and-white Warbler.

Pets

Pets are welcome at Franconia Notch State Park, but during your visit you will have to keep them on a leash for the entirety of your time there.

You also won’t be able to take them into several areas of the park, including its swimming beaches, picnic areas, and even some of its hiking trails.

Owners are also required to be mindful of their pet’s behavior and clean up after them to preserve the park’s natural beauty and protect its wildlife.

Camping

Whether you’re camping with a tent, RV, or backpack, Franconia Notch State Park offers a range of options for visitors to enjoy the great outdoors and explore the park’s beautiful scenery and diverse wildlife.

If you plan to camp in a tent, there are several campsites that are open from spring through fall and offer basic amenities such as fire pits and picnic tables. RV campers meanwhile can also find a number of sites with electrical and water hookups, as well as dump stations for waste.

In addition, backpackers can explore the park’s many trails and enjoy a wilderness camping experience. There are several backcountry campsites located throughout the park, but you will need to obtain a permit to stay at them.

Park Location

Franconia Notch State Park
Flume Gorge, Daniel Webster Hwy
Lincoln, NH 03251
Phone: 603.823.8800

Park Website

Map

Video

Here is a short Documentary about Franconia Notch State Park: