Oct 15, 2021 Attractions Around the Kancamagus Highway, NH
I absolutely love the Kancamagus Highway, or as locals like to call it the Kanc, which is a 34 mile drive across the great outdoors. There are no restaurants, buildings, or even cell service along this drive, so be sure to fill up your gas tank before making the drive. A detailed guide on some of the best points of interest and tips for your drive on the Kanc can be found on my blog post here. In this post, I am writing on popular day excursions around the Kanc.
Artist Bluff Trail
Artist Bluff Trail is 1.5 mile trail classified as easy to moderate. Moderate at times since there are steep inclines so one should wear appropriate footwear. This trail is also heavy trafficked so be prepared for crowds, especially during the fall. We had to wait a couple of minutes since there was an actual line to the top. However, although the trail is crowded, the views of Cannon Mountain, Franconia Notch, and Echo Lake below are so impressive and worth the wait. Pets are allowed on trail.
We stumbled upon Echo Lake State Park when climbing Artist Bluff Trail, because their entrances are right across the street from one another. I noticed people paddle boating when climbing Artist Bluff Trail and decided to make my way over to the lake. Entrance $4 for adults and $25 to rent a paddle boat. The backdrop of the lake with the canopy of fall foliage at its peak was incredible. I told Sam this maybe one of the most romantic settings we have been in! Makes for a fun date night or a perfect family outing. If paddle boating is not your thing, there was a snack bar and picnic tables. You can bring your own lunch and enjoy the views.
Conway Scenic Railroad
All aboard! The last thing we did on our fall foliage excursion was take a ride on the Conway Scenic Railroad. Although it was not connected to the Kancamagus Highway, we opted in for a fall scenic excursion on the old fashion train that consists of a 1950’s era streamline passenger car. The train departs in a train station built in 1874 in North Conway. We chose the Barlett excursion which is a one hour and 45 minute train ride through the Saco River to Barlett. I recommend booking ahead of time since tickets can sell out. There are different train excursions you can book through the company. To buy tickets for the fall scenic train ride you can book here. You can even add on a dining option for a New England styled dinner during the train ride. During the Christmas season, a Santa Claus express is offered with an hour long seasonal train ride, and you get to meet Santa. Perfect if you have small kids.