Location: White Mountains, New Hampshire
Nearest Major Air Service: Manchester, New Hampshire, Boston, Massachusetts, Providence, RI
Access Directions: Franconia Notch State Park is located on I-93 - the following exit numbers will help you when in the notch. There are pull-offs between Exit 34A & 34B.
Exit 34A: Flume Gorge & Gilman Visitor's Center, The Basin Pull-Off, it is on both the northbound and southbound. Hiker Parking, on the northbound side. Lafayette Campground and Hiker Parking, on the southbound side only. Boise Rock, on the northbound side only.
Exit 34B: Cannon Mountain Tramway, New England Ski Museum, Bike Rentals & Repair
Exit 34C: Echo Lake Beach, Cannon RV Park, Peabody Base Lodge
Drive Times: Concord 1 hour, Nashua 1 ¾ hours, Boston 2 ½ hours, Hartford, CT 3 hours, Providence 3 ½ hours, Montreal 3 hours
Fees: Flume Gorge Visitor Center, $7 per adult, $4 per child. Cannon Mountain Aerial Tramway, $9 adult, $5 child.
Activities: Skiing, Canoeing, Hiking, Camping in the backcountry, Climbing
Contact: Franconia Notch State Park, Franconia, NH Phone: 603-823-9513 website
Franconia Notch State Park - Lafayette Campground:
- 97 wooded tent sites - 47 are by reservation only, 2 are for youth group reservations, and 48 are for first-come/first-served campers.
- Lodge house with camping supplies, information about hiking trails, safety, and the natural and cultural history of the park
- Open from mid May to mid October.
- Sites have a picnic table, car parking and an open fireplace.
- Coin-operated showers
Franconia Notch State Park, Franconia, NH Reservations: 603-271-3628
Appalachian Mountain Club Huts website
An unique network of eight mountain huts, each a day's hike apart, stretches 56 miles along the Appalachian Trail through the White Mountain National Forest in New Hampshire, amid some of the most spectacular scenery in the East. Each hut offers bunkroom accommodations, running water, and one-of-a-kind views. Seven huts offer full-service lodging with hearty breakfasts and dinners prepared by the experienced hut crew. Reservations are necessary to stay at the huts. Call 603-466-2727, Monday to Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Franconia Notch is a spectacular mountain pass traversed by a unique parkway which extends from the Flume Gorge at the south to Echo Lake at the north. For eight miles, I-93 winds between the high peaks of the Kinsman and Franconia mountain ranges. Located right in the center of the White Mountain National Forest, Franconia Notch State Park in New Hampshire is 6,692 wild acres of amazing outdoor fun and recreation. Franconia features a variety of activities: skiing on Cannon Mountain, canoeing Echo Lake, hiking the Appalachian Trail, taking a leisurely auto tour, camping in the backcountry, or climbing one of several very challenging and rewarding mountains. There are hundreds of miles of hiking trails in the Whites. Perhaps the most famous is the Appalachian Trail (AT), which is the designation for a string of trails that are part of this 2200 mile footpath connecting Springer Mountain in GA to Katahdin in ME.
Like so many other scenic wonders in the northern half of the United States the Wisconsin Glacier created the terrain that is Franconia Notch State Park approximately 15,000 years ago. The scouring powers of the ice in the glacier removed the soil and left the red Conway Granite behind, sculpting this narrow valley and leaving some of the highest peaks in New England. At 5260' Mount Lafayette is the highest peak in NH outside the Presidentials. The park is dominated by Mt Lafayette, home to the AMC's Greenleaf Hut, the other major peak on the ridge is Mt Lincoln, with Little Haystack on the opposite end.
The original draw to this region goes back to 1850 when writer Nathaniel Hawthorne immortalized the Old Man of the Mountain, a unique geological feature that is world famous. The Old Man was actually a rock shoulder that stuck out of Profile Mountain. Five layers of granite ledge, one on top of each other once formed what appeared to be the face of an old man, gazing eastward from the side of the mountain. The ancient formation was over forty feet tall, and received annual maintenance to seal cracks formed by the endless cycle of freezing and thawing in the New Hampshire winters before it fell from its cliff-side perch recently.
The Flume Gorge at the southern tip of Franconia Notch State Park is a very popular attraction. Discovered in 1808, the narrow natural gorge is only 10 to 20 feet wide and has granite cliffs rising 70 to 90 feet upward. The narrow rocky gorge has Flume Creek rushing through the granite boulders at its base. From the Flume Gorge Visitor Center you can walk or take a shuttle bus to hike the gorge. A boardwalk allows visitors to walk through the claustrophobic, cool, damp crevasse and see the lush plant life that flourishes in this sheltered area.