The Kancamagus Highway is just about New Hampshire’s favorite mountain drive – fantastic in any season, but especially when the forest is bursting with fall colors. The scenic byway section is a 34.5-mile (55km) long route travels through the White Mountain National Forest between Conway and Lincoln, and offers plenty of scenic views that can easily be enjoyed right from your vehicle as the “Kanc” as it’s affectionately known to locals, winds its way up to an elevation of 2,855 feet.
While you don’t need to leave the comfort of your vehicle to enjoy the views along the Kancamagus Highway, visitors who venture beyond the paved roads will find plenty of scenic sights to explore including waterfalls, gorges, swimming holes, covered bridges and more. Even short hikes will get you away from the masses on busy days. But serious hikers can easily fill a whole day on some of the longer trails.
The area is rich in human history, recent and Native American, and we’ll share many stories to help you feel even more connected to this rather special area. We’ll have opportunity to visit some sites that harken back to the days when adventurous settlers gained a foothold in creating farmable land below the granite mountains, and that of course includes a classic covered bridge.
Since the drive is relatively short, you can complete it easily in a half day with short stops, but it is recommended to allow a full day to explore all of the sites, enjoy some short walks and basically linger and absorb all of the opportunities.
The route can be be driven in either direction and you will be sure to hear about all of the locations and stories and not miss a thing.
Conway or Lincoln, New Hampshire
At least a few hours, but a day or more is recommended
Total one-way driving distance between Lincoln and Conway is 35 miles
If ever there was a classic New England drive – the Kancamagus Highway is it, especially when the forest is bursting with fall colors. This 34-mile long route travels through the White Mountain National Forest between Conway and Lincoln, New Hampshire, and offers plenty of scenic views and hiking opportunities. The “Kanc,” as it’s affectionately known to locals, winds its way up to an elevation of 2,855 feet offering visitors fantastic views of the White Mountains.
Driving the Kancamagus Highway from end to end only takes about 45 minutes but you should plan on spending at least half of a day to take in the main sights. If you’d like to take a hike or two and spend some time swimming in Lower Falls, plan on a full day or more.