Drive the Kancamagus Highway

New Hampshire Kancamagus Highway

  • Activities:

    Chillin, Camping, Photography, Hiking

  • Skill Level:

    Beginner

  • Season:

    Year Round

  • Trail Type:

    Point-to-Point

  • RT Distance:

    34.5 Miles

Bathrooms
Easy Parking
Family Friendly
Forest
Picnic Area
River
Romantic
Scenic
Waterfall
Wildflowers
Wildlife

This 34.5 mile stretch which offers scenic views, waterfalls, a covered bridge will leave you in awe.

The Kancamagus Highway is designated an American Scenic Byway. It cuts through the White Mountains of New Hampshire. The highest point along the drive is 3000 feet. It is known as one of the best fall viewing areas in the country. If your interested there is also several campgrounds along this route.

You can choose to start it at either end near Lincoln or Conway. Be aware there is no gas stations during this stretch so make sure you are fueled up first.

I will describe the drive starting at the Conway, NH end. One of the first stops you will want to make is the Albany Covered Bridge. The bridge extends over the Swift River.

Next you can stop at the Lower Scenic Falls. Along the Swift River it has a very nice picnic area and restrooms. This is also a popular swimming area.

The next area you will want to visit also along the Swift River is Rocky Gorge. This is another easy walk along the river that takes you over a foot bridge across the Swift River to a viewing area. No swimming is allowed here as the water can be very powerful. There is also a picnic area and bathrooms.

Possibly one of the best destinations along the Kancamagus is Sabbaday Falls. The path to Sabbaday Falls is Handicapped accessible. The trail has informational postings along it. Sabbaday Falls has a 45' drop.A pathway and wooden steps leads you to the edges of the falls. The handicapped accessible trail takes you to the top where the viewing area is located. Swimming is not allowed at Sabbaday Falls. Picnic area and bathrooms are located near the parking area.

The next several miles offer many scenic outlooks all worth the stop including Sugar Hill Scenic Vista, CL Graham Wangan Grounds, Pemigewasset Overlook & Hancock Trailhead. All of these offer amazing views. Pemigewasset is a favorite and great way to end with a sunset!

Pack List

  • Camera
  • Lunch
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Reviews

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Doing this drive during a bright day in the fall was surreal. We started from the North Conway side, and drove all the way to Lincoln. The leaves were in full fall colors, and we stopped at a majority of the major attraction areas before the watershed divide. With many stops along the Swift River, there are multiple must-see places. My two favorites were Lower Falls and the Boulder Loop Trail! The Boulder Loop trail has a nice scenic overview that popped out of nowhere! You just have to climb it. All in all the Kancamagus is a perfect area year round!

over 1 year ago
over 1 year ago

The Kanc is a great road for a scenic drive. There are picturesque overlooks, trail heads, and campsites off the road. If you're looking for a challenge, bike it! The shoulder is small in areas, but it is doable, perhaps try and bike towards the end of summer when the season slows down. Once you reach the highest point the cruise down is a great reward.

over 1 year ago
over 1 year ago

Although the snow can make for an interesting drive in the White's, a four wheel drive vehicle on a day following a recent snowfall or during mid-winter, can give absolutely stunning views every turn you take. You'll be arguing who has to drive on this adventure because sitting shotgun with the camera is the way to go!

over 1 year ago
over 1 year ago

One of the most beautiful drives that I have experienced, especially in the fall. Spectacular views of the White Mountains, several spots to pull off and capture the scenery. Especially loved the views of Mount Washington and the hotel!

over 1 year ago
over 1 year ago

Rebecca NicholsExplorer

I hike to push my limits both mentally and physically, take in the beauty of the great outdoors, and just to get away from it all. Every chance I get you will find me in the mountains, on a kayak or ending my day by the campfire!

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