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Franconia Notch State Park, Franconia

4.8
State Park · Nature / Park
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Franconia Notch State Park is a public recreation area and nature preserve that straddles eight miles (13 km) of Interstate 93 as it passes through Franconia Notch, a mountain pass between the Kinsman Range and Franconia Range in the White Mountains of northern New Hampshire, United States. The northern part of the park, including Cannon Mountain and Echo and Profile lakes, is in the town of Franconia, and the southern part, including Lonesome Lake and the Flume, is in Lincoln. Attractions in the state park include the Flume Gorge and visitor center, the Old Man of the Mountain historical site, fishing in Echo Lake and Profile Lake, and miles of hiking, biking and ski trails.
The park is home to Cannon Mountain, a state-owned ski resort started in the 1930s. The mountain is named for a rock formation in the shape of a cannon found on the summit, but the "Old Man of the Mountain" formation was by far the more famous; it collapsed in May 2003. Cannon is also famous for being one of the most challenging hills in New England. It boasts an aerial tram, which runs year-round, ferrying sightseers to the summit in the summer time and skiers in the winter. At the base of the tramway is the New England Ski Museum, with exhibits on the history of alpine skiing in New England and America.
On the west side of the notch, halfway up the side of Cannon Mountain, is Lonesome Lake, an easy day hike up the Lonesome Lake Trail from the state park's Lafayette Place campground. The Lonesome Lake Hut, one of numerous well-kept huts throughout the White Mountains that are maintained by the Appalachian Mountain Club, is found at the southwest end of the lake, near its outlet. Huts offer meals and lodging (reservations are recommended).

Opposite Cannon Mountain, on the east side of the notch, are the Eagle Cliffs, so named for the eagles that sometimes roost there. The Greenleaf Trail, a hiking trail, winds around the south side of the cliff and up to Greenleaf Hut, another AMC hut. East of Greenleaf Hut and outside the state park is the 5,249-foot (1,600 m) summit of Mount Lafayette and the Franconia Ridge Trail (also the Appalachian Trail). The Appalachian Trail continues north to Mount Washington and eventually to Mount Katahdin in Maine.

Beneath a waterfall in the Pemigewasset River is a granite pothole about 20 feet (6 m) across known simply as "the Basin". It was scrubbed out by stones dragged (and eventually deposited) by the retreating North American ice sheet, and since made smooth by 15 millennia of rapidly whirling pebbles and grit. Below the Basin is "Old Man's Foot", a distinctively shaped rock formation, also the natural result of Pemigewasset's erosive energy.
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Franconia Notch State Park reviews

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TripAdvisor traveler rating
TripAdvisor traveler rating 5.0
662 reviews
Google
4.8
TripAdvisor
  • This place is beautiful. This is my second time in this area. We took the Falling Waters trail. There are some points where you are hugging some rocks and scaling them. There are spots where we had... 
    This place is beautiful. This is my second time in this area. We took the Falling Waters trail. There are some points where you are hugging some rocks and scaling them. There are spots where we had...  more »
  • This is a beautiful park. You can take hikes, see waterfalls, Plume Gorge, Basin Trail and other great spots. Great views through out. We enjoyed our time there. 
    This is a beautiful park. You can take hikes, see waterfalls, Plume Gorge, Basin Trail and other great spots. Great views through out. We enjoyed our time there.  more »
  • Driving on the pass through Franconia Notch during autumn's peak foliage and stopping at all the sights is great. The Flume, Basin, and Boise Rock are a few of many nice places to explore, and... 
    Driving on the pass through Franconia Notch during autumn's peak foliage and stopping at all the sights is great. The Flume, Basin, and Boise Rock are a few of many nice places to explore, and...  more »
Google
  • This park is a beauty. There are so many things to do here and one might get too overwhelmed. I suggest the following places: 1. Visit Mt. Washington - There are 3 ways to reach the top: Guided Tours, Cog railway, or your own car. Guided tours are 2 hours from base to base so, it might feel a bit rushed. Visiting with your own car is adventurous - roads get narrower sometimes, and there is no railing, it is a bit challenging but if you're up for it, then definitely do try. It's worth the experience. Cog railway is plain beautiful, you get to enjoy the scenic views without any effort - If driving up with your car is overwhelming, this is definitely the best option. 2. Take a train - Conway Scenic. They do these guided tours and it's just fun in the train. They have trains starting almost every hour until 1 I guess. I'm not sure, but you can check their website. 3. Take the Cannon Mountain tramway at Franconia Notch State Park - it's just fun and has breathtaking views. After taking the tramway, you'll have to hike a little - it's a very small hike probably less than 5 minutes. then, you'll reach a building that's 3 stories high. Take the stairs and you'll reach the top. - That's where it has all those views, They say that on a clear day you can even see Canada. From there, definitely do visit Flume Gorge. Funny story, when we were thinking of visiting places for fall colors, we saw a beautiful scenic water falls sliding across our TV in Fire TV wallpapers, the title said "Avalanche Waterfalls" but when we visited this state park, we couldn't find it. Nobody knew those waterfalls, google maps took us to Flume Gorge and from the pictures hanging outside the Flume Gorge, we realized it's the same. Unfortunately we visited after the closing hour and couldn't see those waterfalls. But I heard it's definitely worth visiting. All in all, NH is a beauty. Always call before visiting these places as they might close during extreme weathers.
  • Absolutely lovely view. Worth the steep 25 min hike at Artist’s bluff view point . Don’t need any hiking gear but wasn’t the easiest hike either. A local told us it’s the best view in New Hampshire and we thought so too. It’s mindblowing. Echo Lake Beach is a must if you want to swim. It has an amazing view. Also has a bunch of other trails like Flume Gorge and Lafayette. Flume gorge was really good although not sure it was worth 18$. You could go in the evening hours for free.
  • Gorgeous stop on my "see America tour." The Cannon Mountain Tram was a wonderful ride up the mountain and the view from the top, amazing! The hikes around the rim and to the tower made the price worthwhile. If I had more time in the area, there is much to do. Next time!
  • My family and I visited Franconia Notch State Park on our tour of the Northeastern United States. I had never heard of this park but it is now one of my favorite places I have ever been. The fall colors are abundant and breathtaking. Echo Lake was my favorite spot. The trees around the lake were beautiful, there was a reflection of the trees in the glistening water, and behind the trees surrounding the lake there were mountains covered in fall colored trees. We took a hike up the Basin trail and while it was tough and pretty much straight up hill, the views we were rewarded with along the way were spectacular. I want to go back every year it is just so beautiful. There was so much of the park that we didn’t have time to do because we only had half a day but I know we could have spent so much more time there because of all the trails and the beautiful sights.
  • Easy to purchase tickets online. Need to get check in to get paper copies. Clean facilities and bathrooms. Friendly and informative tram operators. Easy quick ride to the top with a fairly accessible route to the outlook tower. Lots of small deviations to picturesque views and openings. It's nearing peak season, so the colors are spectacular.

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