Kancamagus Highway, New Hampshire

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Scenic Highway 112 aka the Kancamagus Highway aka the Kanc is a National Scenic Byway that traverses 34 miles of the beautiful White Mountain National Forest in New Hampshire.

You’re probably wondering why we chose to do a New England road trip when the leaves weren’t turning. The simple answer is: we didn’t want to fight the crowds.

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The White Mountains

As crowded as some of our destinations were during non-leaf peeping season, we can’t imagine what it is like in October when the trees turn. With that said, we were not disappointed in the least about seeing Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont on the cusp of autumn. Although we did see a few trees showing their colors, we thought the foliage was beautiful as it was – green. So now that we’ve cleared that up, hop on board, buckle up, and let’s do the Kanc.

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The Kancamagus (Can-cuh-ma-gus, sort of rhymes with August) Highway begins in Conway, New Hampshire, if you’re driving West, but a few miles up the road in North Conway, we decided to stop for lunch. Our pick: Muddy Moose Restaurant & Pub. The weather was perfect, so we were able to sit on their patio, have a great burger, and enjoy the fresh air in the White Mountains. We are giving them a high five because their food and service was great. Thanks, Muddy Moose!

Back on the road in Conway, we stopped to see our first covered bridge.

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The Saco River Bridge was built in 1890 and spans – you guessed it – the Saco River.
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The Saco River as seen from the bridge.

Our next stop was the Saco Ranger Station. While a drive on the Kanc is free, a special pass is required for parking at the scenic areas. The ranger gave us a great map of the highway along with some other information, and he told us about the can’t-miss sights along the road. After that quick stop, we were off on our adventure.

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There are six National Forest campgrounds along the Kanc. All have potable water, bathrooms, parking, open fire places, and picnic tables. None of the campgrounds have RV hook-ups. Campsites are generally available from mid-May through mid-October, and most are only available on a first-come basis. Wood for campfires cannot be brought into the national forest. For information about camping on the Kanc, contact the White Mountain National Forest Ranger District. Additional campgrounds and hotels are available in Conway, North Conway, and Lincoln.

Albany Covered Bridge

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The White Mountain National Forest Covered Bridge was constructed by the Town of Albany in 1858 and renovated in 1970.

Lower Falls Scenic Area

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Scenic falls on the Swift River

Rocky Gorge Scenic Area

We spent about an hour at Rocky Gorge. The area had well maintained walking trails, a bridge, rocks, pools, and even a small flume. This was one of our favorite stops along the Kanc.

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A small flume at Rocky Gorge
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The (rock filled) Swift River at Rocky Gorge

Russell-Colbath House Site

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The Russell-Colbath House, a historic farmhouse that sits near the Kancamagus Highway

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Across from the house is a small cemetery that is still maintained by the Town of Albany. What is it about old cemeteries that piques our interest? The age of the graves, perhaps, or maybe it’s the interesting headstones. Doesn’t it make you wonder who these people were, and wouldn’t you like to know their stories?

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Many of the graves in this cemetery are marked simply by fieldstones, such as the two in the right foreground.

And, here is the interesting but sad story of Ruth Russell Colbath, the wife of Thomas Colbath. For the rest of her life, Ruth maintained her family home and the farm with the help of her children and a local handyman. No one ever solved the mystery of what Thomas was doing for all those years.IMG_7632 (1)

Sabbaday Falls

This was our favorite stop on along the highway. The hike to the falls was wonderful, and the falls… well, see for yourself.

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Sabbaday Falls

The earthy scent of the lush, green forest and the crashing of the water on the rocks. That’s our kind of hike, and we loved every minute of our time here. The US Forest Service has added bridges, stairs, and viewing areas for ease in accessing the falls. There is also a picnic area near the parking lot. The hike is about .6 miles round trip with a 75 foot elevation gain.

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Serene scene
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From Sugar Hill Overlook. A few of the trees are about to start changing into their fall colors.
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Here’s one getting a head start on its autumn colors.

Lincoln Woods

This is the trailhead into the Pemigewasset Wilderness and the Franconia Mountain Range. Apparently, this strenuous trail is not for the faint of heart.

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Suspension bridge over the Pemigewasset River
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The Pemigewasset River as seen from the bridge
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Look who we found near the parking lot!

At the end (or beginning, depending on which way you’re going) of the Kanc is the town of Lincoln, New Hampshire, which was our stop for the night.

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In Lincoln, we had dinner at Gordi’s Fish & Steak House. Does roasted beet salad sound good? Homemade clam chowder? Steak and baked potato? We loved their atmosphere, food, and service. This restaurant came highly recommended by the folks at our hotel, Holiday Inn Express. High fives, to Holiday Inn Express and to Gordi’s!

We’re at the end of this journey, but stop by again for more of our New England road trip, tips and tricks, and other exciting destinations. Become a follower on our site and on Facebook, and we would very much appreciate it if you would tell your friends about us.

We’re going to close this post with one more look at beautiful Sabbaday Falls.

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Until the next trip…

Travel safe, travel smart, and we will see you down the road!

Mike and Kellye

Badwater Basin

As always, we strive to be as accurate with our information as possible. If we made a mistake, it was unintentional. (Hey, we’re only human!) We aren’t paid for our recommendations, and we only recommend our own tried and true vendors and venues. Our suggestions are for places that we’ve heard good things about but haven’t visited personally, and our opinions are our own.

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