Drive the Kancamagus Highway

Conway, New Hampshire

4.8/5
based on 5 reviews

Details

Distance

34.5 miles

Route Type

Point-to-Point

Description

Added by The Outbound Collective

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!

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Features

Chillin
Camping
Photography
Hiking
Bathrooms
Easy Parking
Family Friendly
Forest
Picnic Area
River
Romantic
Scenic
Waterfall
Wildflowers
Wildlife

Reviews

This is a great drive and both Lincoln and North Conway are worth exploring. There are lots of national forest campgrounds along the river with awesome swimming in the summer and tons of cool hiking trails. We visited in the summer, which was amazing and not too busy. I hear fall is insanely beautiful, but also really crowded.

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!

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.

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!

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!

Leave No Trace

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Please explore responsibly!

Nearby

Hike White Horse Trail

Hike Cathedral Ledge

Explore Sabbaday Falls

Hike Mt. Carrigain

Hike Mt. Crawford

Snowshoe to Arethusa Falls via Bemis Brook Trail