Franconia, New Hampshire

Cannon Mountain, a majestic 4,000-footer located in Franconia, New Hampshire, is a prominent peak in the Kinsman Range of the White Mountain National Forest.

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About This Location

Cannon Mountain, a majestic 4,000-footer located in Franconia, New Hampshire, is a prominent peak within the Kinsman Range of the White Mountain National Forest. With an elevation of 4,080 feet, Cannon Mountain stands as a captivating destination that draws visitors year-round to explore its natural beauty and engage in a variety of outdoor activities.

The appeal of Cannon Mountain lies not only in its stunning natural surroundings but also in the diverse recreational opportunities it offers. Whether you're interested in hiking, climbing, skiing, or fishing, this mountain and its base area have something to offer outdoor enthusiasts of all kinds. Visitors to Cannon Mountain can look forward to experiencing the area's breathtaking scenery, enjoying a ride on the aerial tramway, savoring a meal at the summit restaurant, and exploring a museum dedicated to the history of skiing. It's no wonder that tens of thousands of visitors flock to Cannon Mountain each year to partake in its attractions and natural wonders.

Cannon Mountain Ski Area boasts a rich history as it is one of the oldest ski areas in North America. Trails had been cut on the mountain prior to 1933, but it gained widespread recognition that year when the Taft Slalom was created as the first racing trail in North America. These original trails were cut by the Civilian Conservation Corps, as the ski area was and continues to be state-owned. Notably, Cannon Mountain hosted the first Alpine Skiing World Cup races ever held in North America in 1967, with the races listed as occurring in Franconia.

In 1938, a significant addition was made to the mountain with the construction of an aerial tramway, marking the first of its kind in North America. Fast forward to 1980, and a new tramway was erected with a vertical ascent of 2,022 feet and a capacity of 140 people, featuring two seventy-person cabins. This upgrade represented a significant expansion from the original lift. Remarkably, the old tram base and summit stations remain intact, with one of the old cabins serving as the entrance to the New England Ski Museum, which opened in 1982 at the mountain's base area. The Cannon Mountain Tramway remains a unique attraction in the state of New Hampshire. Today, visitors can reserve tickets in advance or purchase them on-site. The tramway operates from late May to mid-October, providing a swift ten-minute journey to the 4,080-foot summit of Cannon Mountain, where visitors can enjoy breathtaking views of mountains spanning four states and even Canada on clear days.

For those seeking a more active way to reach the summit, Cannon Mountain offers several trail approaches, with the most popular being the northernmost section of the Kinsman Ridge Trail. This trail is renowned for being one of the shortest hikes to a 4,000-footer. While relatively brief, the hike to Cannon Mountain is far from easy, involving a challenging ascent up a rocky and steep ski trail. Along the way, hikers are treated to the Cannon Cliffs viewpoint, which offers a splendid vista across the notch to the Franconia Range. Upon reaching the summit, visitors are rewarded with scenic walking paths, a 360-degree observation deck, a summer-operated cafe, and restrooms. The Kinsman Ridge Trail to Cannon Mountain is approximately 3.8 miles round trip and features an elevation gain of 2,260 feet. Due to its popularity, hikers can expect to encounter others on the trail. The best times to explore this route are from April through October. Dogs are welcome but should be leashed. Hiking Cannon Mountain via the Kinsman Ridge Trail generally takes around 3.5 hours to complete.

Parking for Cannon Mountain hikers is available in the dirt parking lot located adjacent to the large Cannon Mountain Aerial Tramway lot. This dirt parking area offers space for a few dozen cars, and additional overflow parking can be found next to the Old Man of the Mountain Historic Site parking lot. Visitors using the tramway can utilize the tramway lot, while skiers have their own designated ski lot. Parking is free at these locations, making it convenient for visitors to embark on their Cannon Mountain adventure.

Cannon Mountain truly stands as a remarkable destination within the White Mountain National Forest, offering a blend of natural beauty, outdoor activities, and historical significance that continues to attract and captivate visitors year after year.

Location Features

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Tramway Drive, Franconia, New Hampshire

GPS Coordinates:
44.156667, -71.698722
Directions to location:
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Directions to parking area:
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Parking Notes:
Hikers of Cannon Mountain are supposed to park in the dirt parking lot located just next to the large Cannon Mountain Aerial Tramway lot. The dirt parking area has space for a few dozen cars. Overflow parking can be found adjacent to the parking lot at the Old Man of the Mountain Historic Site.


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