Finding Fall Foliage Off The Beaten Path in NH’s White Mountains


Fall foliage lining the banks of the Ammonoosuc River

Spectacular seasonal scenery has arrived in New Hampshire just in time for the Columbus Holiday Weekend.  The cooler temps in recent days is helping transform the leaves on the trees into a cornucopia of color.  While the foliage is a little later than the past couple of years there is beautiful color to be seen just about everywhere you look. We took the road a little less traveled in the White Mountains to see what we could find.

Foliage at Beaver Pond Scenic Area

Fog lifting off trees at Beaver Pond Scenic Area

From Woodstock  head up Route 112 through Kinsman Notch, you’ll be driving along part of the River Heritage Trail, one of NH’s Scenic and Cultural Byways.  Before too long you’ll come to Beaver Pond Scenic Area.  I’ve heard this is an awesome spot to take in the fall colors and I will certainly attest to that! We caught the scene just as the fog was lifting unveiling pops of color on the trees below – it was beautiful!

View looking at Swiftwater Covered Bridge with trees along the front sides

View looking up at Swiftwater Covered Bridge from the river down below

We left Beaver Pond en route to Bath.  This quiet country road winding along the Wild Ammonoosuc River will take you into Bath, where we stopped for a great photo opp at the Swiftwater Covered Bridge. Built in 1849, this is the fourth bridge to span this part of the Ammonoosuc. Take a few minutes and venture to the other side, you’ll find it’s a short walk to the river where you can really appreciate being so close to the water while enjoying the bridge from an entirely different view.

Exterior of The Brick Store

Historic cannons and sitting area beside outside of Brick Store, Bath Covered Bridge beyond this area

Our next stop was in the village of Bath.  Stop at the town green and walk around this quaint small town which is home to The Brick Store – it’s in the National Register of Historic Places as America’s Oldest Continually Operated General Store in the country.

View of Bath Covered Bridge from down near the riverbank

Just behind the store – check out the Bath Covered Bridge.  This historic gem was built in 1832, it’s almost 375 feet long! & and is the fifth structure to be located on this site.  This spot is also allows great access down by the riverside.

Kris riding a bike along the recreational rail trail path that goes along the river

Riding a bike through an old railroad bridge on rail trail

After enjoying some down time in town we continued up 302 heading for the Ammonoosuc Recreational Trial for a little biking.   What a great find! The trail runs about 19 miles from Woodsville to Littleton.  The river provides a picture perfect backdrop to ride through the foliage.

View of mountain ranges covered in fog with foliage covering trees

Large Maple tree with orange and green colored leaves

We continued up Route 302 to 117 and Sugar Hill.  This quintessential small town overlooks the White Mountain National Forest.  We headed to Sunset Hill, one of the highest points in town, where on a clear day you can see sweeping views of the Presidential, Franconia, Kinsman and Dalton Ranges.  Despite the fog covering the mountains, the foliage was still gorgeous and well worth the trip.

White steepled church with trees covered with fall foliage surrounding it

On our way into Franconia we made a couple of stops – first at this historic chapel.  (This is a very popular picture stop in the spring during the lupine festival.)

Exterior of Polly's Pancake Parlor

And after an almost full day of leaf-peeping you just have to stop at Polly’s Pancake Parlor… known far and wide for their pancakes of course!

Coffin Pond framed by trees with shades of yellow and orange and pops of red

Close up of colorful trees reflecting in water

Once in Franconia we took a slight detour up Route 18 to Coffin Pond – this is another spot I heard we just had to see.  The colorful canopy of trees reflecting in the water below is spectacular!  And the quiet calm is incredibly relaxing.

Close up of The Basin

From here we made our way to Interstate 93 South – to Franconia Notch State Park.  We wanted to stop at The Basin.  The walk down to the Basin has a lot of nice cascades along the way. It’s easy to see why this natural wonder is such a popular spot to stop.

Kris taking a picture of the Baby Flume waterfall

View of the Baby Flume from straight on

If you plan a little extra time here you can check out the Baby Flume.  This lovely little waterfall  is just a short walk down the Pemi trail.

No doubt about it, there’s some great color along this route. With cooler weather on the way the color will only continue to intensify.  Be sure to follow all our travels this fall on Facebook and Instagram!