New Hampshire Fall Foliage: Best Places to See Fall Colors

If you’re on the hunt for the best spots to soak in the breathtaking fall foliage in New Hampshire, you’ve come to the right place. 

Fall in New Hampshire is like stepping into a postcard, with vibrant reds, oranges, and yellows lighting up the landscape. 

So grab your camera and let’s dive into the best places to see the stunning fall colors!

New Hampshire fall foliage
Table Rock hike

New Hampshire Fall Foliage

Why New Hampshire is a Fall Foliage Destination

Why do we all flock to New Hampshire come autumn? Simple. The state’s diverse landscapes offer a spectacular show of colors, from the rugged mountains to the serene lakes. 

Every twist and turn reveals a new breathtaking view that’s perfect for your Instagram feed or just soaking in the natural beauty.

When to Visit for Peak Fall Colors

Timing is everything when it comes to fall foliage. In New Hampshire, the colors start to pop in late September and usually peak in mid-October

But don’t worry if you miss the peak – the tail end of the season is just as beautiful, with softer, more muted tones that still make for stunning scenery.

Best Spots to See Fall Foliage in New Hampshire

New Hampshire fall foliage

White Mountains

First up, the White Mountains. This area is famous for its incredible foliage views. Take a hike or a scenic drive – you really can’t go wrong. 

The Franconia Ridge Loop is a personal favorite, offering jaw-dropping vistas of the fall colors from high above.

Kancamagus Highway

The Kancamagus Highway, or “The Kanc” as locals call it, is a must-see. This 34.5-mile scenic byway cuts through the heart of the White Mountains, offering numerous pull-offs where you can stop, stretch your legs, and take in the scenery. 

Trust me, it’s one of those drives that you’ll remember forever!!

Monadnock Region

Looking for a mix of mountain and small-town charm? Head to the Monadnock Region. Mount Monadnock itself is a great hike with panoramic views, but the surrounding area’s quaint villages and rolling hills are just as captivating.

Lakes Region

The Lakes Region offers a different kind of fall beauty. Picture the vibrant foliage reflected in the clear waters of Lake Winnipesaukee – it’s a scene straight out of a painting. 

Plus, there are plenty of cute towns to explore and enjoy a cozy meal.

Great North Woods

For those who prefer a quieter, more off-the-beaten-path experience, the Great North Woods is perfect. The foliage here is just as spectacular, but you’ll find fewer crowds. It’s an ideal spot for a peaceful fall getaway.

Best Scenic Drives for Fall Foliage

Kancamagus Highway Drive

I mentioned The Kanc earlier, but it deserves its own spotlight. This drive is packed with scenic overlooks, waterfalls, and trails. Make sure to stop at Sabbaday Falls – it’s a short hike to a beautiful waterfall, surrounded by colorful leaves.

Fall colors
Viewing Site off Kancamagus Highway

Mount Washington Auto Road

For a bit of adventure, drive up the Mount Washington Auto Road. The views from the summit are unmatched, and on a clear day, you can see all the way to Canada. 

Just be prepared for some steep, winding roads!

Lakes Region Loop

Take a leisurely drive around the Lakes Region. Start in Laconia and make your way around Lake Winnipesaukee. There are plenty of spots to stop, take photos, and enjoy the fall colors reflecting off the water.

Lake Winnipesaukee
Lake Winnipesaukee in fall

Best Fall Hikes in New Hampshire

Mount Monadnock

Mount Monadnock is a classic. The hike is moderate, and the 360-degree views from the summit are absolutely worth it. On a clear fall day, you can see the vibrant colors stretching for miles.

Mount Monadnock best hike in NH
Mount Monadnock

Franconia Ridge Loop

For those up for a challenge, the Franconia Ridge Loop is a must. This 9-mile hike offers some of the best fall views in the state. The ridge walk is nothing short of spectacular, especially when surrounded by the brilliant autumn colors.

Franconia Ridge Loop
Franconia Ridge Loop

Arethusa Falls

If you prefer a shorter, easier hike, Arethusa Falls is a great option. The trail leads to one of New Hampshire’s tallest waterfalls, which looks even more beautiful with a backdrop of fall foliage.

Arethusa Falls
Arethusa Falls

Table Rock Trail

Table Rock Trail is a relatively short hike that overlooks Lake Gloriette and Dixville Notch. The scenery is especially spectacular in the fall. Sitting on the edge of a cliff is not for everyone though.

Be very careful if you plan to take photos at the top, the straight drop-down and winds can be scary if you are afraid of heights.

➡️ Read Next: 13 Best Hikes in New Hampshire – You Don’t Want to Miss!

Fall Foliage Tours and Activities

Not sure where to start? Consider a guided foliage tour. There are plenty of options available, from bus tours to guided hikes. It’s a great way to see the best spots without any stress.

Mount Washington Cog Railway

Experience the stunning fall foliage from the comfort of a train as you ascend Mount Washington, the highest peak in the Northeast. The Cog Railway offers breathtaking views and an unforgettable experience.

Boston to New Hampshire Fall Foliage White Mountains Day Trip

This full-day guided tour takes you through some of the most scenic spots in New Hampshire, including the White Mountains and the Kancamagus Highway. The tour includes transportation to and from Boston, making it a hassle-free way to enjoy the foliage.

➡️ Book Here: Check Rates & Availability

New Hampshire White Mountains Autumn Foliage Tour from Portland

This full-day guided tour focuses on the stunning Mount Washington and includes stops at key viewpoints like Jackson Covered Bridge and Glen Ellis Falls. It’s perfect for those looking to explore the best foliage spots with expert guidance.

➡️ Book Here: Check Rates & Availability

White Mountain Express – Longest Gondola in NH

Looking to experience the New Hampshire fall foliage from an elevated perspective? Enjoy breathtaking mountain vistas and autumn colors aboard New Hampshire’s longest gondola, which takes you to the 2,733-foot summit of Loon Mountain. 

At the top, take in panoramic 360° views from the observation tower and discover ancient glacial caves.

Fall Festivals and Events

New Hampshire knows how to celebrate fall. Check out local festivals like the Deerfield Fair or the Warner Fall Foliage Festival

These events offer everything from live music to delicious fall treats.

Family-Friendly Fall Activities

Castle in the Clouds

Castle in the Clouds is a historic estate offering breathtaking views of the fall foliage. The estate hosts a variety of fall events, including foliage tours, craft fairs, live music, and hiking trails. It’s a perfect spot to enjoy the season’s beauty while immersing yourself in local culture and history.

The New Hampshire Country Store

The New Hampshire Country Store is a charming destination in Moultonborough, perfect for picking up local goods and enjoying the fall atmosphere. The store often features seasonal items, local crafts, and delicious treats. It’s a great place to stop during your fall foliage tour.

Mack’s Apples

Looking for something the whole family can enjoy? Try apple picking, corn mazes, or pumpkin patches. Places like Mack’s Apples in Londonderry offer a fun fall day out for all ages. Their apple cider donuts are delicious!! 

Pumpkin patch in NH

Where to Stay for Fall Foliage in NH

Choosing the right place to stay can make your fall foliage trip even more enjoyable. Here are three highly-rated hotels in New Hampshire:

Omni Mount Washington Resort

⭐️ RATING: 8.2 | Check Rates & Availability

Located in the heart of the White Mountains, this historic resort offers stunning views and luxurious amenities. Perfect for a relaxing getaway after a day of leaf-peeping.

Omni Mount Washington Resort
Omni Mount Washington Resort

Inn at Pleasant Lake

⭐️ RATING: 9.0 | Check Rates & Availability

This charming inn in the Lakes Region offers cozy rooms and beautiful lake views. Enjoy a peaceful stay with easy access to some of the best foliage spots.

Hanover Inn Dartmouth

⭐️ RATING: 8.9 | Check Rates & Availability

Situated in the picturesque town of Hanover, this inn provides a comfortable stay with easy access to the Great North Woods and other foliage destinations.

Planning Your Fall Foliage Trip

What to Pack for a Fall Trip

Packing for a fall foliage trip is all about layers. The weather can be unpredictable, so bring a warm jacket, and comfortable hiking boots, and don’t forget your camera!

Fall Foliage Map and Resources

Make use of online resources like the New Hampshire Fall Foliage Tracker to plan your trip. This tool helps you find peak foliage times and the best spots to visit.

Fall colors

FAQs About New Hampshire Fall Foliage

When Is The Best Time To See Fall Foliage In New Hampshire?

The best time to see peak fall foliage is typically mid-October, but late September and early November can also be beautiful.

What Are The Best Places To See Fall Foliage In Nh?

Top spots to see New Hamshire fall foliage include the White Mountains, Kancamagus Highway, Monadnock Region, Lakes Region, and Great North Woods.

Are There Any Scenic Drives For Fall Foliage In Nh?

Yes, the Kancamagus Highway, Mount Washington Auto Road, and Lakes Region Loop are fantastic scenic drives.

What Are The Best Fall Hikes In Nh?

Some of the best fall hikes are Mount Monadnock, Franconia Ridge Loop, and Arethusa Falls.

➡️ Read Next: Best Hikes in New Hampshire

Can You Recommend Any Fall Foliage Tours In Nh?

Guided foliage tours are available and are a great way to see the top spots. Check local tour companies for options.

How Long Does The Fall Foliage Season Last In Nh?

The fall foliage season generally lasts from late September to early November.

What Should I Bring For A Fall Foliage Trip In Nh?

Bring layered clothing, comfortable hiking boots, a camera, and a map or GPS.

Are There Any Fall Festivals In New Hampshire?

Yes, check out festivals like the Deerfield Fair and Warner Fall Foliage Festival.

How Do I Find Peak Foliage Times In New Hampshire?

Use online resources like the New Hampshire Fall Foliage Tracker to find peak times.

What Are Some Family-Friendly Fall Activities In Nh?

Apple picking, corn mazes, and pumpkin patches are great family-friendly activities.

Conclusion

The New Hampshire fall foliage is a sight to behold. Whether you’re hiking, driving, or just relaxing, the vibrant colors and crisp air make for an unforgettable experience. 

So pack your bags, grab your camera, and get ready to enjoy the best of autumn in New Hampshire. Happy leaf-peeping!

➡️ READ NEXT – Summer Activities in NEW HAMPSHIRE

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