Driving through Franconia Notch


Franconia Notch packs in more things to see and do than some national parks.  This narrow gap in between the Kinsman and Franconia mountain ranges is home to one of the most popular state parks in New Hampshire.

 Here’s a quick rundown of what you can do, if you devote a day to Franconia Notch:

  • Take the aerial tramway to the top of Cannon Mountain, and enjoy the view.

  • In winter, ski down Cannon Mountain

  • See the former site of the “Great Stone Face”, New Hampshire’s “Old Man of the Mountains” (the outcropping crumbled in 2003).

  • Swim at Echo Lake

  • Fish for trout at Profile Lake

  • Ride a bike or hike on the park’s trails (including the Appalachian Trail)

  • Walk through the Flume Gorge

  • Visit the New England Ski Museum

  • See the Basin waterfall and pothole

  • Take a picture of Sentinel Pine Covered Bridge, and the waterfall beneath it.

That’s what you could do, if you arrived early and devoted a day to the park.  But I didn’t.  I spent so much time hiking in Crawford Notch (which I don’t regret–it was great, too!), that I didn’t arrive in Franconia Notch until about 2 hours before sunset. And I still wanted to see the Kancamagus Highway before dark.  So, regrettably, I drove through Franconia Notch without stopping.  You can get an idea of what to expect on I-93 by watching this Drivelapse dash-cam time-lapse video:

You’ll notice that Interstate 93 is reduced to two lanes as it passes through Franconia Notch.  Also, some exits are only available on one side of the road.

There is no fee to drive through Franconia Notch.  Fees are only required in three places: the Flume Gorge ($12 per person), Echo Lake Beach ($4 per person), and the Cannon Mountain Aerial Tramway ($11 round-trip).  In each location, there are rates for children, for slightly less.

Check out the New Hampshire State Parks website for much more information on Franconia Notch, including this PDF map that shows all of the park’s hiking trails and attractions.

South of Franconia Notch, take exit 32 at Lincoln, NH, and head east on Route 112, the Kancamagus Highway.

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