Quick Links

Not all the best parks in the United States are national parks, some state parks boast some of the most remarkable landscapes in the country. If one is traveling to New England in the fall, then Franconia Notch State Park is a must. It is located in the heart of the White Mountain National Forest and includes the stunning Echo Lake and the eye-catching Flume Gorge.

This coming autumn, consider going on some stunning foliage tours of New England or elsewhere in the country. New England is world-famous for its foliage, and there are a number of things one should know before one goes there. Among the many places in New England, Franconia Notch is arguably one of the best for foliage.


Franconia Notch - One Of The Best State Parks In New England

Franconia Notch is one of New England's gems. It is a spectacular mountain pass that's traversed by a unique parkway from the Flume Gorge to Echo Lake. The I-93 passes through Franconia Notch between the Kinsman and Franconia mountain ranges straddling the park for eight miles.

  • Location: Northern New Hampshire
  • Established: 1928

The Kinsman Range and Franconia Range are part of New Hampshire's stunning White Mountains. They cover around a quarter of New Hampshire and are part of the northern Appalachian Mountains. They are extremely popular for visitors from NYC and other major population centers in the area and are the most rugged mountains in New England.

The highest peak of the White Mountains (and the northeastern United States) is Mount Washington at 6,288 feet or 1,917 meters.

Related: A Guide To The Best Places To See Fall Foliage In The U.S.

Franconia Notch State Park - Perfect For Autumn Foliage

The charming New England state of New Hampshire is famous for its stunning foliage. The best times to see foliage in New Hampshire are mid-September through mid-October. During this time the colors of fall rush over the state - the foliage coming from the northwest to the southeast.

  • Best Foliage Season: mid-September through to mid-October
  • Peak Foliage: October 5 to October 10 For The White Mountains

Franconia Notch is one of the most stunning places in the state to behold these vivid autumn colors. Another suggestion is to drive along Route 112 which winds between Lincoln and North Conway.

New England is known as the quintessential autumn - a place of crisp air, blue skies, and trees ablaze with red, orange, and yellow. To learn more about the foliage in New Hampshire, refer to the New Hampshire Foliage Tracker.

Franconia Notch is in the White Mountains of New Hampshire and according to the Foliage Tracker, the peak time for foliage in this area is October 5 to October 10.

Other Attractions In Franconia Notch

There are plenty of outdoor recreational things to see and do here, ride the aerial tramway at Cannon Mountain, walk through the Flume Gorge, visit the New England Ski Museum, go trout fishing, go rock climbing, and more.

  • Attractions: Hiking, Mountain Biking, Fishing

Another attraction is the Old Man of the Mountain historical site. It was a series of five granite cliff ledges on Cannon Mountain that looked like the profile of a man's face. It is a symbol of the Mohawk people, but it collapsed in 2003.

  • Old Man Of The Mountain: One Of New Hampshire's Most Famous Landmarks

Cannon Mountain is also famous for being one of the most challenging hills in New England and has a year-round aerial tram. In the summer it takes people to the summit for sightseeing and in the winter, it carries skiers. At the base, is the New England Ski Museum where visitors learn about the history of alpine skiing.

  • Aerial Tram: Year-Round On Cannon Mountain

Go in the winter, and go skiing at Cannon Mountain - a ski resort that first opened in the 1930s.

Related: The Fall Foliage Map Tells Us That Autumn Is The Best Time To Visit The Smoky Mountains

See Foliage and Go Swimming In Echo Lake

One of the most picturesque places in the park to see the autumn foliage is Echo Lake. Echo Lake is 15.7-acre (6.4 ha) in size and is located near North Conway. It is part of Echo Lake State Park and has a small swimming beach.

  • Elevation: 1,931 Feet

From the shore of Echo Lake, one can gaze out at views of Mt. Lafayette and Cannon Mountain. There are boat rentals on the lake too - so rent a canoe, kayak, or pedal boat.

  • Fee: $4.00 Per Adult

Visitors can also make reservations at Echo Lake Beach before arriving as parking is limited - particularly on the weekends and holidays. The beach has walk-in spaces for visitors on a first-come-first-served basis.