13 Best Stops Along The Kancamagus Highway To See Fall Foliage

As soon as the calendar flips to September, New Englanders start thinking about their favorite fall activities. Chief among them is “leaf-peeping” which can be kind of a catch-all for visiting small villages and rural areas while admiring the brilliant colors that come with autumn in this region!

There are many great areas to explore and roads to journey along in the fall to capture the best foliage views. Among them all, the Kancamagus is arguably the most iconic.

The Kancamagus is a 34.5-mile east-west state route in northern New Hampshire that is a section of Route 112. The roadway runs in the middle of the picturesque and rugged White Mountain National Forest, connecting Bath and Conway. Along the highway, you will find beautiful covered bridges, waterfalls, overlooks, and much more! This blog post provides you with some of the best spots to pull over along the Kancamagus in the fall to see the best views NH has to offer!

Stop #1

Lincoln Woods Bridge

Town: Lincoln, New Hampshire 

Location: HERE

The Lincoln Woods Trail is one of the White Mountain National Forest’s most popular and accessible routes. It is a primary route into the headwaters of the East Branch of the Pemigewasset River, and it leads into the Pemigewasset Wilderness, one of the largest roadless areas in the eastern United States.

The 160’ long suspension bridge that spands the East Branch of the Pemigewasset River is very close to the parking area.

Stop #2

Otter Rocks

Town: Conway, New Hampshire

Location: HERE

Otter Rocks is located along the Hancock Branch of the Pemigewasset River, this site is a beautiful spot for a picnic. It has picnic tables overlooking cascades and a small pool. The spot is very popular in the summer for visitors hoping to cool off and enjoy some beautiful views. It is easy to access the swimming holes from the nearby parking lot.

Stop #3

Hairpin Turn

Town: Lincoln, New Hampshire 

Location: HERE

For many years, the hairpin turn on the Kancamagus Route has been an iconic aspect of the highway. When it comes to organizing a trip down the Kancamagus Highway, many people are anxious about the turn. The truth is that, while the bend is a large hairpin, it is safe if driven at or below the posted speed limit.

The best way to capture the hairpin turn is from above. Park at the Hancock Overlook and you are basically there!

Stop #4

Hancock Overlook

Town: Lincoln, New Hampshire 

Location: HERE

The Osceola Range is visible from the beautiful overlook in Hancock. It’s located at the “hairpin turn” along the Kancamagus. Mt. Hancock’s trail begins here so it is a popular parking area for hikers.

Benches and a sun/rain cover are available at the overlook. Signs provide very helpful descriptions of the views.

Stop #5

Pemigewasset Overlook

Town: Albany, New Hampshire 

Location: HERE

Anyone searching for a beautiful view of the White Mountains should stop at the Pemigewasset Overlook, which is located along the Kancamagus Scenic Byway. Interpretive signage describing the views is available in a beautiful pavilion. The structure showcases some of the best views while also providing shade and protection from the elements on hot, sunny, or rainy days. Inside, there is also seating along the benches.

Stop #6

Sugar Hill Scenic Vista

Town: Conway, New Hampshire   

Location: HERE

The Sugar Hill Scenic Overlook, roughly in the middle of the famed Kancamagus Highway, offers stunning views of Mount Tremont, Owl Cliff, Bear Mountain, and Sugar Hill, among other things. There is a parking lot as well as a small pavilion with historical information and a snapshot of the peaks that can be seen from this vantage point. During peak fall foliage, this overlook is especially lovely.

Stop #7

Sabbaday Falls

Town: Campton, New Hampshire

Location: HERE

Sabbaday Falls is one of the most popular stops along the Kancamagus Senic Byway, and it’s only a 15-minute walk from a paved parking lot on an evenly graded and gravel-surfaced route with a stone staircase and gravel boardwalk right next to the falls. The falls are a beautiful set of cascades that flow down a small flume. The geology of the falls is explained through interactive panels. Swimming is prohibited. In the parking lot, there are restrooms and picnic tables. As this is a fee site, there is also a self-serve pay station.

Stop #8

Russell-Colbath House Barn

Town: Albany, New Hampshire 

Location: HERE

The Russell-Colbath House, a timber frame barn, the Town of Albany Cemetary, and the one-half mile Rail N’ River Trail are all part of the Historic Site. Parking, restrooms, picnic tables, and informative signage are among the additional amenities. It’s a great stop to capture beautiful buildings and foliage!

Stop #9

Rocky Gorge Scenic Area

Town: Albany, New Hampshire 

Location: HERE

Rocky Gorge is a tiny, powerful gorge down which water nearly always rushes, even during droughts. Rocky Gorge, carved by glaciers, is a beautiful scenic place. Rocky Gorge has a 10-foot drop and rapids running through it.

Rocky Gorge is easy to reach and accessible to people with impairments. A short and simple stroll along the Swift River from the parking lot leads you across a foot bridge spanning the Swift River. For viewing and photographs, you can stand straight above the gorge. Make sure to read the fascinating informational posts about how Rocky Gorge came to be.

Stop #10

Lower Falls

Town: Albany, New Hampshire 

Location: HERE

One of the Kancamagus Highway’s most popular attraction is Lower Falls. The Swift River plunges many feet over polished granite boulders into a big pool, creating a stunning sight. Picnicking, sunbathing, and swimming are all popular activities. There is an 80-car parking area, restrooms, and charcoal barbecues at the picnic tables.

Stop #11

Albany Covered Bridge

Town: Albany, New Hampshire 

Location: HERE

In 1858, the Albany Covered Bridge was built for the first time. Over the years, repairs and restorations have kept the bridge in the useable state it is now. There is a huge parking area on site that can accommodate buses, as well as restrooms. On both sides of the bridge are explanatory panels, as well as a granite fishing pier on the north side. During the winter, the bridge is closed, however, pedestrians are welcome.

Stop #12

Swift River Covered Bridge

Town: North Conway, Conway, New Hampshire

Location: HERE

Located just off the Kancamagus Highway is the beautiful Swift River Covered Bridge which is well worth checking out and photographing! The Swift River Covered Bridge is 129 feet long that was built in the Paddleford truss style with added arches. The bridge was constructed in 1870 and stands one-half mile north of N.H. Route 16 at Conway Village over the Swift River. It has an overall width of 21’0″ with a roadway width of 17’2″. The structure is closed to vehicular traffic.

Stop #13

Saco River Covered Bridge

Town: North Conway, Conway, New Hampshire

Location: HERE

The current Saco River Covered Bridge was built in 1890 and it stands only a few hundred feet from the Swift River Covered Bridge. During a flood in 1869 that swept the Swift River Covered Bridge down the river, the original Saco River Covered Bridge was hit. Both bridges were hauled 2 miles downstream after the Saco River Covered Bridge was knocked off its abutments. The Swift River Covered Bridge was built using the ruins of the ancient Saco River Covered Bridge and the Swift River Covered Bridge.

Between 1987 and 1989, the Saco River Covered Bridge underwent extensive renovation.

Related Articles

Responses

Your email address will not be published.