Stunning fall foliage at Franconia Notch State Park in New Hampshire

Explore the Best of Fall in New Hampshire This Year!

Heather Taylor - August 16, 2022

Glorious Fall Foliage Awaits!

A woman hiking the Artists Bluff Trail at Franconia Notch State PArk in New Hampshire

There are some fantastic ways to spend some time this fall in New Hampshire, but none more spectacular, perhaps, than Franconia Notch State Park. Franconia Notch State Park is one of the most popular New Hampshire State Parks – and it’s easy to see why!

Franconia Notch State Park is located in the White Mountains of New Hampshire and is home to popular attractions like the Flume Gorge and the Cannon Mountain Aerial Tramway, not to mention great hiking and biking trails. With so many things to offer the visitor this fall, it’s no wonder it’s one of the most popular ways to spend your fall in New Hampshire. 

There are a couple of nearby Select Registry Bed and Breakfasts, too. Staying at one of these fantastic New Hampshire Bed and Breakfasts ensures you’ll have even more time to enjoy the best of fall in New Hampshire, which can include things like drives in the scenic Kancamangus Highway, hikes into the stunning White Mountains, tours of New Hampshire’s covered bridges, and so much more. 

New Hampshire’s fall foliage season is nearly here, and now is the best time to plan your adventures. It’s a very busy time of year at the region’s Inns and Bed and Breakfasts, so if you want to experience the best hospitality around, browse our collection of New Hampshire Bed and Breakfasts below and start planning! 

A stunning New Hampshire covered bridge at Franconia Notch State Park in New Hampshire

Explore Franconia Notch State Park

As we’ve mentioned already, Franconia Notch State Park is one of the most popular parks in the New Hampshire State Parks system. You’ll find Franconia Notch State Park in the western portion of the White Mountains. It straddles eight scenic miles of Interstate 93 as it passes over the “notch” in the mountains between the Kinsman Ridge and the Franconia Range. 

There are a variety of things to do at Franconia Notch State Park, including hiking, biking, rock climbing, and enjoying the stunning beauty of Mother Nature. Thought it’s a fantastic park to visit any time of year – including winter when there’s great skiing at Cannon Mountain – a fall visit to Franconia Notch State Park is nothing short of spectacular. 

Franconia Notch State Park is a place filled with natural wonders. In the southern portion of the park, you’ll find the impressive Flume Gorge, and in the north the serene waters of Echo Lake. There are miles of trails to explore here, not to mention an aerial tramway that takes you to the top of Cannon Mountain for impressive views. Here are the top things to do at Franconia Notch State Park this fall: 

  1. The #1 thing to do in Franconia Notch State Park is to hike the Flume Gorge – which we’ll cover in more detail below. 
  2. There are plenty of great hikes in Franconia Notch State Park, but in the fall you simply don’t want to miss a trip up the Artists Bluff Trail. The view from the top, pictured above, is sensational.
  3. At the top of the Artists Bluff Trail, you’ll be looking out over the scenic Echo Lake. When you’re done hiking, we recommend a trip down to the shores of this lake. It’s a lovely place for boating and even a bit of fishing. 
  4. If you really want to enjoy sweeping views of fall in New Hampshire, hop aboard the Cannon Mountain Aerial Tramway and ride it to the 4,080-foot tall summit of Cannon Mountain. This was the first passenger aerial tramway in Noth America, and it’s a scenic 8-minute journey worth taking. 
  5. Explore the region called “The Basin,” a large pothole-covered area in the Pemigewasset River.  This part of Franconia Notch State Park was carved out by glaciers more than 25,000 years ago, leaving behind the interesting granite bowl you see today. 
  6. While in Franconia Notch State Park, don’t miss your chance to see one of the prettiest examples of New Hampshire’s covered bridges, the Sentinel Pine Bridge, which is located in the Flume Gorge portion of Franconia Notch State Park.
  7. Bikers can also enjoy touring through Franconia Notch State Park on their bike trail. Rentals are available if needed. 
  8. Skiers won’t want to miss the New England Ski Museum found here, either. There are a variety of fun skiing-related artifacts to admire here. 

This is just a taste of what awaits you at Franconia Notch State Park. Keep reading to learn more about the popular Flume Gorge, and then book your getaway at one of these New Hampshire Bed and Breakfasts before it’s too late! 

The Flume Gorge at Franconia Notch State Park in New Hampshire

Explore the Magnificent Flume Gorge

Of all the beautiful things to see and do at Franconia Notch State Park, none are more mesmerizing than the Flume Gorge. The Flume Gorge is a natural geological feature that sits at the base of Mount Liberty, extending for 800 beautiful feet. 

The Flume Gorge is a remnant of the Jurassic Age around 200 million years ago. You can read about the geology of the Flume Gorge here, but it’s certainly impressive to witness how Mother Nature has shaped this area over the years – and continues to shape it to this day. Though the Flume Gorge was once covered in molten lava and basalt, over time, erosion has given way to the towering Conway Granite walls you see today. 

Though the Flume Gorge is only 800 feet long, there’s a lot to see. What makes the Flume Gorge so impressive is the 70-90 foot-tall granite walls you’re walking through, which are only 12 feet (and a maximum of 20 feet) apart. Off the boardwalk, you’ll see various ferns, trees, plants, and water all working together to continue shaping this stunning part of Franconia Notch State Park. 

Highlights of the Flume Gorge include the following: 

  • The Flume Covered Bridge is one of the oldest of New Hampshire’s covered bridges. 
  • Table Rock is a large section of Conway Granite that is 500 feet long and 75 feet wide.
  • Avalanche Falls is the waterfall located at the top of the Flume Gorge. 
  • Liberty Gorge is a secondary gorge that can be accessed from Flume Gorge. 
  • Sentinel Pine Bridge is one of the oldest New Hampshire-covered bridges, and it covers the pool, a basin that is 40 feet deep and 150 feet wide and surrounded by cliffs. 
  • Wolf Den is a small, narrow space in the rocks that the brave are welcome to crawl into. 
  • Glacial Boulders are remnants of the last ice age to move through the Flume Gorge over 25,000 years ago. Some boulders are large and estimated to weigh more than 3 tons. 

To access the Flume Gorge, you’ll take a 2-mile loop trail, which you can expect to take about 1.5 hours – depending on how often you stop to take photos and admire the scenery, of course! You can expect to encounter plenty of stairs and uphill climbs during your time in the gorge, and sturdy shoes are highly recommended due to the water in the area. 

When you’ve thoroughly explored every aspect of the Flume Gorge and Franconia Notch State Park, a relaxing stay at one of the leading New Hampshire Bed and Breakfasts will be waiting for you. Don’t miss the best of fall in New Hampshire!

Best Places to Stay in New Hampshire

Adair Country Inn & Restaurant

Down a long winding drive surrounded by rock walls, ponds, gardens, and 200 acres, sits the Adair estate, a New England country bed and breakfast. Relax in elegance at this White Mountain retreat. The Bethlehem, NH bed and breakfast offers spacious public rooms with fireplaces, comfortably appointed guest rooms, many with fireplaces, and all with air conditioning.

The restaurant features a diverse menu with exciting food in a casually elegant atmosphere. Enjoy wonderful views of the Presidential Mountain Range, stroll through perennial gardens, or curl up with a good book from the extensive library. Personal attention, cleanliness, flavorful food, and proximity to White Mountain activities are hallmarks of Adair. Recipient of the Trip Advisor Certificate of Excellence 2013, 2014, & 2015.

Sugar Hill Inn

The good life is waiting for you at the romantic Sugar Hill Inn a class New Hampshire Bed and Breakfast Inn. Couples only, no children. Surround yourself with amazing views, beautiful art, stylish rooms, and the best dining in the White Mountains. The Sugar Hill Inn is the place to unwind after hiking Franconia Ridge, zipping across Breton Woods, climbing Mount Washington, or photographing New Hampshire’s numerous waterfalls and covered bridges.  We are consistently rated as one of the top New Hampshire B&B destinations to stay in the White Mountains.

Each guest room is individually decorated with a focus on comfort, romance, luxury, and style. All rooms have Nespresso Espresso makers, robes, and slippers. Many rooms have gas fireplaces, mini refrigerators, and whirlpool tubs. Get refreshed with a hot stone massage, a dip in the pool or a cocktail on the front porch.  We also offer exclusive luxury cabins like no others in New Hampshire.

The Notchland Inn

Get away from it all, relax and rejuvenate at our comfortable granite manor house, completed in 1862, on a 100-acre estate within the White Mountain National Forest. Settle into one of eight spacious, romantic guest rooms, five luxurious suites or two pet-friendly cottages which offer couples or families a bit more independence. The guest spaces at our New Hampshire bed and breakfast are individually appointed and each has a working wood burning fireplace.

Here in Crawford Notch, where outdoor activities abound in every season, we are spared both television and cell phone signals; however, you are only a click away from complimentary Wi-Fi throughout the main inn building. A wonderful five-course dinner and full country breakfast are served in the fireplaced dining room overlooking the pond and gardens located on the grounds of our New Hampshire B&B. Visit with Bear, our Bernese Mountain dog. Secluded, yet near to all that the Mt. Washington Valley has to offer. Notchland… a magical location.

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