Franconia Notch State Park

May 22. 2013 5:04PM
View from Artists' Bluff (Lisa Martineau)
Located in the heart of the popular 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.

Activities: Camping, swimming, hiking, picnicking, fishing, boating, biking, skiing/snowboarding, cross country skiing, snowmobiling

The Basin
The beautiful waterfall at the Basin, has at its base, a granite pothole 20 feet in diameter. It is believed to have been eroded 15,000 years ago while the North American ice sheet was melting. It has been smoothed by small stones and sand whirled around by the Pemigewasset River. Below the Basin is a water-eroded rock formation called the Old Man's foot.

Cannon Mountain
Cannon's 80-passenger aerial tramway quickly ascends 2,022' over a horizontal distance of more than a mile whisking you above the timberline to the 4,200-foot summit for spectacular views of the White Mountains, into Maine, Vermont and even Canada. Walking trails leave from the summit station to an observation tower with panoramic views of the valleys and mountains. Cafeterias and The New England Ski Museum. For winter activities at Cannon, visit our Winter Fun section.

Echo Lake Beach & Cannon Mountain RV Park
Beautiful Echo Lake, at an elevation of 1,931 feet, offers swimming, fishing, and small boat access, as well as views of Mt. Lafayette and Cannon Mountain. In a different watershed from Profile Lake, its waters flow westerly toward the Connecticut River.

Flume Gorge
A natural chasm takes visitors from the Flume Visitor Center on wide gravel paths and wooden walkways through covered bridges, past waterfalls and through the 800-foot long gorge with its sheer 90-foot walls. Scenic pools, glacial boulders, and mountain views. Free 15-minute movie at the Information Center provides an introduction to Franconia Notch State Park.

Lafayette Campground
98 sites, showers. Camp store. Excellent hiking, biking base with easy access to Appalachian Trail and nine-mile paved bike path.

New England Ski Museum
The Museum houses the most extensive collection of historical ski equipment, clothing, film, photographs, literature, and artwork in the East. The extensive archive is renowned by scholars and historians across the country. The New England Ski Museum is officially recognized by the United States Ski Association as a Regional Musuem, one of four in the country. Located at the base of Cannon Mountain in Franconia Notch, New Hampshire, the Museum is a popular stopping place for skiers and travelers throughout the year.

Old Man of the Mountain
Also known as "The Profile" or the "Great Stone Face," an internationally known phenomenon, the Old Man was discovered in 1805 by workmen building the first road through Franconia Notch. The Old Man was a natural, granite profile jutting from a sheer cliff 1,200 above Profile Lake. Carved by nature thousands of years ago, the profile was formed by five separate ledges and measures 40 feet from chin to forehead.

Profile Lake
This small, clear body of water is the headwaters of the Pemigewasset River. Directly below the Old Man of the Mountain, it is often called the Old Man's Washbowl. The lake is well-known for its brook trout and is open to fly-fishing only.

Hiking in Franconia Notch State Park
The Appalachian Trail winds its way through Franconia Notch and offers some of the most groomed trails and spectacular scenery in New Hampshire. However, a hike through the Flume Gorge, located at the southern tip of Franconia Notch State Park is equally exciting. The natural gorge is narrow, with granite cliffs rising up 70-90 feet on either side. The Flume Creek splashes through the boulders at its base.

You can climb the stairs at the north end of the Flume out of the chasm into old growth forest. The trail descends downhill to the covered Sentinel Pine Bridge, built in 1939.

Further north down the Franconia Notch Highway is the Basin. The natural pool made of solid granite has been forcing water into a naturally carved bowl for over 15,000 years.

From the Basin, you can pick up the Appalachian Trail for a six-mile day hike. Take the trail north along the west bank of the Pemigewasset River to Lafayette Campground passing by Lonesome Lake. Lafayette Campground sits beside the 5,260 feet high Mount Lafayette. The campground is a popular stop for hikers; they keep more than half of their 97 sites open to be taken on a first come, first served basis.

  • Bald Mountain and Artists Bluff, reached by a short hike, offer fine views of Cannon Mountain and Franconia Notch. The 1 1/2 mile loop begins in the parking area across Route 18 from Peabody Base Lodge. After 1/4 mile a short, steep path diverges left for 1/10 mile to the open summit of Bald Mountain. The main trail continues on from the junction and bears right, up and across the low ridge. A short, unmarked path diverges left to the open top of Artists Bluff. The main trail continues down to Route 18 near Echo Lake.

  • Lonesome Lake, nestled in the mountains 1,000 feet above the floor of the notch, is a popular hiking destination. It is reached by a 1 1/2 mile (one way) trail that begins at Lafayette Place, just south of the cabin near the campground. A lakeside trail leads to the Appalachian Mountain Club (AMC) hut at the far end of the lake and passes by an inactive beaver lodge.

  • Kinsman Falls, a beautiful, secluded and oft overlooked spot on Cascade Brook can be found by following the Basin-Cascades Trail for 1/2 mile from the Basin. Many potholes and ledges in the brook along the way make for an enjoyable twenty minute (one way) walk. A rough path diverges left off the trail to the cool base of the falls. Follow the main trail a short way to a brook crossing to the left that leads to Rocky Glenn Falls.

  • The open ledges at the 2,557-foot summit of Mt. Pemigewasset (Indian Head) afford excellent views of Franconia Notch, the Franconia Range and the valley to the south. The 1.4 mile (one way) trail climbs moderately to the summit from the Flume Visitor Center parking area. Return can be made by the same route or via the Indian Head Trail that diverges from the Mt. Pemigewasset Trail just below the summit, and leads one mile to Route 3, one mile south of the Flume Visitor Center.

Location: On I-93/Route 3, Franconia Notch Parkway, Lincoln/Franconia

General Information: 603-823-8800
Flume Gorge & Visitor Center: 603-745-8391
Lafayette Campground: 603-823-9513
Cannon Mountain, Echo Lake Beach, Cannon RV Park: 603-823-8800
New England Ski Museum: 603-823-7177

Amenities: Campground, RV campground, restrooms, cafeterias, gift shops, 8-mile paved recreation path, canoe, paddle boat and bike rentals, boat launch, covered bridges, hiker information center, New England Ski Museum, full service ski area

Operation Schedule:
Franconia Notch in General: Year-round
The Flume Gorge & Visitor Center: Early May to Late October
Cannon Mountain Aerial Tramway:
• Summer: Mid-May to Mid-October
• Winter (skiing/snowboarding): Late November to Mid-April
Lafayette Campground: Mid-May to Columbus Day
Cannon Mountain RV Park: Year-round
New England Ski Museum: Memorial Day to Columbus Day & Dec. 1 to March 3 - Daily noon-5pm

NH State Parks
NH State Parks Pet Policy

White Mountains

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