The White Mountains Trail
Distance: 99 miles
Highlights: Views of covered bridges, waterfalls, mountains and villages; North Woodstock, Franconia State Park, Bretton Woods, Mount Washington Toll Road, Crawford Notch State Park, Cog Railway, Intervale, Bartlett Covered Bridge, North Conway, Conway Scenic Railway, Russell Colbath House, Loon Mountain, Hobo Railway and Lincoln; Year-around recreation and shopping options;
The White Mountains Trail on Route 112 in North Woodstock. This route passes several of the White Mountains most popular family attractions Clark's Trading Post and Whale's Tale Water Park. At the south end of Franconia Notch, the Indian Head Profile on Mount Pemigewasset can seen on the western side of Route 3. Franconia Notch State Park includes a variety of natural wonders and hiking trails.
After leaving Franconia Notch, continue north to exit 35 and bear right on Route 3 north. You'll soon reach the site of the 1944 Bretton Woods Monetary Conference, which established the gold standard and World Bank. Here you can take the Mount Washington Cog Railway to the summit of the highest mountain in the northeast. Alternately, take the Mount Washington Toll Road to the summit.
Nature reasserts itself past Bretton Woods. The Mount Eisenhower Wayside Park offers spectacular views of the Presidential Mountain Range. The Crawford Notch State Park - offers visitors six miles of rugged beauty, natural rock formations and spectacular waterfalls.
In Bartlett Village, you can turn right onto Bear Notch Road, which connects with the Kancamagus Highway. There are several scenic turnoffs along this road, open from spring until late autumn. To fully experience the White Mountains, Trail, continue along Route 302 past Bear Notch Road to Attitash Bear Peak, a ski resort and summer recreation attraction.
The Washington Valley is reached just past Attitash. A turn south on West Side Road takes you to the traffic lights in Conway. Or continue on Route 302 past the Bartlett Covered Bridge and through the junction with Route 16. Story Land is just half a mile north of this junction. You will head south past Hartmann's Model RR Museum to Intervale Scenic vista. Continue south on Route 16 and pass through outlet shopping center North Conway, also the home of the historic Conway Scenic Railway.
South of North Conway, Route 16 climbs Pine Hill. A pullout on the right affords a wonderful view of Saco River, Cathedral and White Horse Ledges, Mount Washington and the Saco Covered Bridge. At the junction of Routes 16 and 113, bear right, and go through the lights, heading south through Conway village. Turn right at the light onto Route 112, the Kancamagus Highway.
The Kancamagus Highway is a national scenic road that traverses the White Mountains National Forest, climbing nearly 3,000 feet, providing dramatic views. Along its length are hiking trails, designated scenic areas and stunning overlooks. Stop at the Russell Colbath House Historic Site and see how the 19th century settlers lived. Visit www.kancamagushighway.com for photos and additional information.
There are numerous scenic outlooks including those with views of the Pemigewasset and Osceola Ranges plus Mount Hancock. After passing the summit, the road descends past the Greeley Ponds and Lincoln Woods trailheads. Upon entering Lincoln, you pass Loon Mountain with its ski area and gondola ride, through the village of Lincoln and past the Hobo Railroad.
Once you reach Interstate 93, you'll want to head south and return home to the Glynn House Inn. Coffee, tea and delicious freshly baked cookies will be waiting. Wine and hors d'oeuvres will be served before its time to head out for dinner.
Glynn House Inn, 59 Highland Street, Ashland, NH 03217 603-968-3775