Kancamagus Scenic Byway
State: New Hampshire
Length: 28 miles / 44.8 km
Time to Allow: This winding road will take about an hour to traverse.
While the Kancamagus Scenic Byway only takes up about 30 miles, it’s a gorgeous byway ready to show you the mountains. Take a day to explore the local scenery with unparalleled views of the White Mountain National Forest. If you want the perfect place to view fall foliage, this is the location with rich history, culture, and beauty. The locals call the Kancamagus mountain the “Kanc,” and it’s unspoiled from civilization and bursting with maple, birch, and beech trees.
Whether it’s raining, the leaves are turning, or it’s a brilliant sunny day, the mountains offer epic views and fantastic camping. Explore the wilderness with trails, walking paths, soothing ponds, and many beautiful scenes out of this world. At its highest point, the mountain reaches just under 3,000 feet near Lincoln, NH. The byway is untouched by the modern world, with no gas stations, restaurants, hotels, or stores. Mind you, all of these amenities are nearby, but you can escape from daily life on this trail.
Start in Conway, NH, south of the mountains, and stop at Diana’s Bath, a series of pools, cascades, and the Lucy Brook. It’s a fabulous place to stop for a picnic, hike, or simply to view the scenery. The Saco River runs through town and with options for tubing, kayaking, and canoeing. In the summer the water makes for a fantastic swimming location, all with views of the mountains. Find a fantastic restaurant at every turn, like the Moat Mountain Smokehouse, for some barbecue.
Make sure to check out the picturesque covered bridges in North Conway with five different options. Take a journey on the railroad for an old-fashioned train experience on antique and restored passengers cars from the roaring twenties. Head west and spend the night at the Covered Bridge Campground and stop at the Rocky Gorge Scenic Area by the Lower Falls.
If you would rather have a resort, you can go off route a little to the Waterville Valley Resort. It’s a fabulous skiing location in the winter or a camping spot in the summer. Of course, you can get a room at the lodge right on a lake by Mt Osceola. Up the way, you can stay at the Loon Mountain Resort, too, with several scenic overlooks on the way with views of Bear Mountain, Mt Carrigain, and more.
The Pemigewasset River flows nearby, adding to the beauty and nature. Try out cross-country skiing, learn to ski, rent an e-bike, or even explore caves. A maze of glacial caves are at the summit with granite boulders deposited during the last ice age. Definitely check this out in warmer weather but come back for snow sports in the winter.
End your trip in Lincoln and North Woodstock at the Flume Gorge, a natural 800 foot gorge with incredible scenery. Check out Clark’s Trading Post, too, for a family-friendly adventure with a bear show, train ride, a mansion, and more. The town offers a water park too for kids and the Alpine Adventures Outdoor recreation for zip-lining, treetop canopy tours, and more outdoor activities.
More New Hampshire Byways
You can check out additional Byways in New Hampshire by clicking on the list of byways below, or by going to the New Hampshire Byways home section. To find even more of scenic byways in the United States, visit our scenic byways map.