During October, people come from all over the world to watch Mother Nature unfurl her colors in northern New Hampshire, with color peaking from north to south over a several week period. Peak foliage is the point at which the color of the leaves is the brightest. This year, peak color is expected over Columbus Day weekend, although there will still be plenty of color to see in the following couple of weeks.
Here are some suggested drives that will help you see the best and brightest colors the region will be showing off.
Around the Connecticut Lakes: Take Route 3 north from Pittsburg, past Lake Francis and the three Connecticut Lakes right up to the Canadian border. The colorful maple trees provide a stunning contrast with the evergreens — and you might even see a moose or two during your travels! The Rainbow Grille is a great spot to stop for a bite to eat.
Foliage Loop: This road trip winds its way from Groveton to Stark along Route 110 east, where you’ll want to stop and take some photos of the famous Stark Covered Bridge over the Ammonoosuc River and the nearby church. Admire the colorful countryside as you motor into Berlin and then head north on Route 16 alongside the Androscoggin River, through 13 Mile Woods and the towns of Milan and Errol. In Errol, pick up Route 26 and head west to the dramatic and soaring cliffs of Dixville Notch and plenty of chances to see stunning displays of fall foliage. Continue on Route 26 to Colebrook and a stop at the Colebrook Country Club & Hotel for an afternoon cocktail or overnight accommodations before turning south and returning to Groveton on Route 3.
Route 2 & the Presidential Range: Route 2 between Lancaster and Gorham is a short ride with jaw-dropping vistas of both the Kilkenny Range and the Presidential Range of the White Mountains, with the peaks named after presidents, including Washington, Adams, Madison, and Jefferson. There are several pull-offs along the way to admire the views and take photographs. In Gorham, take a side trip on the Mount Washington Auto Road to the top of Mount Washington, the highest peak in the Northeast. Expansive views and the possibility of snow on the mountains and color in the valleys is something you won’t forget. Back on the valley floor, head to White Mountain Café & Bookstore in Gorham for good eats and a variety of coffees and teas.
Twin Mountain & Crawford Notch: Head north from Franconia Notch on Route 3 to Twin Mountain. At the lights in Twin Mountain, head east on Route 302 to Bretton Woods and Crawford Notch for some spectacular viewing of the changing landscape. For an incomparable fall foliage experience, consider a stop at the Bretton Woods Adventure Center for the Canopy Tour and soar through the treetops, or book a ride on the Mount Washington Cog Railway and travel in style to the summit of Mount Washington. The AMC Highland Center at the head of Crawford Notch is perfectly positioned for dramatic views of the landscape and is also a welcoming spot for a refreshment break or an overnight stay.