Friday, October 9, 2020

3 Easy and Stunning Fall Foliage Hikes in the White Mountains

 It's my favorite time of year!  Time to see the White Mountains change from green to gold.  Lets put out pumpkins, drink cider, and go for a fall hike.  If you're looking for a perfect fall foliage hike in the White Mountains, here are three easy and stunning fall foliage hikes in the White Mountains of New Hampshire!

View from Ladies Ledge on Square Ledge Hike

Square Ledge, Pinkham Notch

This 1.1 mile out-and-back leaves from the Lost Pond Trailhead.  Park at Pinkham Notch Visitor Center and carefully cross route 16 to the trailhead.  The trail crosses over water, then immediately climbs up hill.  There is a nice lookout to Ladies Ledge.  Following the lookout, the trail gets steep and bouldery to climb to the ledge.  The view is stunning and rewards the hiker with a clear view of the Pinkham Notch.  I've also listed it as one of the best family hikes in the Whites. The ledge is very exposed and is also a popular climbing route.  Stay away from climbing ropes and don't throw objects over the edge.  

View from Artist Bluff

Artist Bluff, Franconia Notch

This 1.5 mile loop is located in the northern part of Franconia Notch. Park at the overflow lot to Cannon Ski area and walk to the back of the parking lot where you'll see the trail entrance and sign.  I travel the loop in a clockwise circuit.  The climb is moderate and goes through hardwood forest with multiple peeks at the view of the notch below.  The bluff is located on the descent and provides stunning views of Echo Lake, Cannon mountain, and the Franconia peaks to the left.  During fall, it erupts in color and is a rightly popular photo opportunity.  Continue the loop and get views along the way until you return to parallel the road back to the parking lot.  This trail is also gorgeous in winter!

Mt Willard view

Mt Willard, Crawford Notch

This 3.2 mile out-and-back is one I've written about before.  Park at the Crawford Train Depot, cross the tracks and follow the Avalon Trail until it breaks off to the left.  The first part of the trail is a gentle incline followed by a stream crossing.  After the crossing, the trail ascends through forest with a sweet view at Centennial Pool.  Continue up the trail over moderate terrain.  The last part of the trail levels off through a boreal forest until you emerge at the ledge.  Hikers are rewarded with views looking down the glacier carved Crawford Notch.

Here's How to Avoid the Crowds

These three trails are popular for good reason. They offer some of the best views in the Whites with comparatively minimal effort.  Consider visiting these sites during the weekdays, early mornings, or late afternoons to avoid crowds.  Make a back up plan to do a different hike if the trailhead parking is full.  

Plan Ahead and Be Prepared

Although these hikes are all moderate - they all area climb with uneven footing.  In fall, be prepared for variable weather and bring proper safety equipment.  Here's my list for packing for a fall day hike! Safe Travels! 

I hope you enjoy these three easy and stunning fall foliage hikes in the White Mountains of New Hampshire!

You might also enjoy these posts:

Perfect Family Hike in the Whites

5 Best Fall Hikes in the White Mountains

Fabulous Fall Family Fall Foliage Hikes