“a spectacular mountain pass!”
Franconia Notch State Park has been attracting visitors for well over 200 years, long before it was made into a park. Even famed writer and naturalist Henry David Thoreau spent time here. Take a page from his book (pun intended) and explore Franconia Notch and all of its breathtaking beauty! If you can only do one thing, definitely check out Flume Gorge. Over thousands of years, Flume Brook wore the winding gorge into the solid granite that now forms the walls. Inside, it's secuded-- just you, the bubbling creek, and the verdant green plants. The gorge was discovered in 1808 by a 93-year-old woman known as "Aunt" Jessie Guernsey who stumbled upon the natural wonder while out fishing-- it took her awhile to convince friends and family that the magical place she was describing was real and worth investigating, but once word got out about the gorge, people were convinced. Since then, wooden stairs, boardwalks and overlooks have been put in to make the trek through the gorge even easier and more pleasant. There's even a covered bridge in the gorge-- it's a great place to steal a kiss from your sweetie! Hikers today can either do the entire two-mile loop or just visit the 800-foot gorge-- the whole loop is pretty stunning, but there are other things to see at the park as well! After you're done getting a view from inside the gorge, head up to the top of a mountain for your next stop. The Cannon Mountain Aerial Tramway will take you on a scenic, 8-minute ride up 4,200 feet to the summit of the mountain where you can drink in the views from the observation deck, grab a snack at the restaurant, and explore the trails. The first aerial tramway up Cannon Mountain was built in 1938, and even though that particular tramway was replaced, it's still a really cool, old-school way to experience Franconia Notch. Sadly, one of the coolest attractions in the park isn't around anymore-- the Old Man of the Mountain. In 1805, someone discovered that, from certain angles, a series of granite ledges on Cannon Mountain bore an eerie resemblance to the profile of a man. For nearly 200 years, people flocked to Franconia Notch to see the Old Man of the Mountain, but sadly, one night in 2003, the Old Man collapsed. Briefly, there was talk of rebuilding the Old Man, but a Governor-appointed task force decided that the mountain was structurally unsound. You can, however, still see a stone formation on the mountain that looks like the barrel of a cannon-- hence the name Cannon Mountain. -Roadtrippers Franconia Notch State Park is located in the heart of the White Mountain National Forest. Franconia Notch is a spectacular mountain pass traversed by a unique parkway which extends from the Flume Gorge at the south to Echo Lake at the north. For eight miles, I-93 winds between the high peaks of the Kinsman and Franconia mountain ranges. Franconia Notch was the home of the famous Old Man of the Mountain, the same "Great Stone Face" immortalized by Nathaniel Hawthorne and Daniel Webster. While you are here, stop at the Flume Gorge Visitor Center and walk through the renowned Flume Gorge, ride the exciting aerial tramway at Cannon Mountain, and visit the New England Ski Museum. Take your time, stop for a swim at Echo Lake, net a trout while fly fishing at Profile Lake, ride your bike on the Recreational Trail, watch for rock climbers, hawks, and falcons on Cannon Cliffs, or hike on the Appalachian Trail. Bring the family, stay awhile, and enjoy Franconia Notch State Park.
If you can go on the tramway, do it. You'll get some incredible views. Also, a great scenic point is Cannon Mountain. If you wanna camp, Lafayette Place Campground is the spot. There's a good visitor center as well, which sells food.
I did the water fall trail and went a bit past the water fall, very beautiful hike, and I do mean hike. A ton of trails there and i'd like to go back sometime!
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Franconia Notch State Park
- Sun - Sat: 9:00 am - 5:00 pm
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- Season End
- October 31
- Season Start
- May 15