When installing our water treatment systems throughout the state, the Secondwind team can’t help but take in the majestic beauty of New Hampshire’s fall foliage. In this month’s blog, we’ll share a guide to some of New Hampshire’s most scenic drives. We hope you’ll take some time to appreciate our state’s autumnal beauty with your family and friends.
It’s the most colorful time of the year! Spectacular shades of red, orange, and yellow are already sweeping across New Hampshire this fall. It’s a great time to explore the Granite State’s winding back roads, stone walls, quaint villages, and covered bridges with family and friends. So grab your pumpkin spice latte and use this guide to experience some of New Hampshire’s best fall foliage.
New Hampshire’s Best Fall Foliage
If you want to see the best of New Hampshire’s fall foliage, get off the highway. The state has over 1,000 miles of designated scenic and cultural byways. Here are some scenic drives recommended by New Hampshire’s Office of Tourism:
Starting from Route 202 in Hillsboro, this drive offers 30 miles of jaw-dropping fall foliage, including a dazzling view of Pat’s Peak in Henniker, a ride through the picturesque town of Hopkinton, a glimpse of the Contoocook River and the oldest surviving covered railroad bridge in the U.S., quaint shops, and a brilliant view of Mount Kearsarge. If you want to keep cruising from there, check out some of the other dazzling scenic drives in the Merrimack Valley.
This little fall foliage loop starts in Keene and continues down Route 101 toward historic Marlborough. Take Route 124 south and for 12 miles you’ll experience vibrant views, including Mount Monadnock’s reflection in Perkins Pond, and pasture vistas. Continue your drive to Jaffrey, where there’s an abundance of shops and farm stands. Head north on 137 and west on 101 past the lovely Dublin Lake to circle back.
When the fun-filled days of summer pass us by, fall sweeps in with its crisp air and magnificent colors, which are mirrored on the beautiful waters of Lake Winnipesaukee. There are a variety of ways to enjoy this tour, but the visitnh.gov website suggests driving clockwise, starting in Alton, and heading onward to Alton Bay, Gilford, Weirs Beach, Meredith, Holderness, Center Harbor, and Moultonborough.
This 25 mile route borders Lake Sunapee and is a beautiful, slower-paced alternative to Interstate 89. Start off in Newbury and travel north on Route 103 and you’ll get great views of Mount Sunapee. When you hit the Route 11 junction, head north back toward Lake Sunapee a picture-perfect place to enjoy lunch on the harbor.
As you continue east on 11, you’ll enjoy the dazzling autumn colors that frame Otter Pond, Little Sunapee Lake, and Pleasant Lake. When you come into the small and quaint town of New London, you’ll be wowed by the majestic views of Mount Kearsarge.
The White Mountains offers roughly 142 miles of scenic foliage. There are multiple variations to this multi-notch mountain ride, with four scenic byways:
As of October 11, the Northern White Mountains (including Franconia Notch, Franconia/Sugar Hill, Bethlehem, Twin Mountain/Bretton Woods and Gorham) were at 90% peak, but there is still plenty of color to be seen in other regions. Check out the White Mountains Foliage Tracker to get up-to-date regional foliage reports.
A must for nature lovers, this ride takes you through 120 miles of beautiful scenery with many opportunities to see wildlife including moose, black bear, and deer. It includes three scenic byways:
Designated a National Scenic Byway in 2005, this byway begins at Fourth Connecticut Lake near the Canadian border and follows the western border of New Hampshire.
This wilderness byway is ideal for the outdoor enthusiast.
The route circles the northernmost section of the White Mountain National Forest known as the Kilkenny District, and celebrates the wood products heritage of northern New Hampshire.
Photo: Denis Tangney Jr. | visitnh.gov
If you like a side of history with your scenic drives, you’ll love the New Hampshire Seacoast region’s American Independence Byway. This 21-mile loop starts in Exeter center and continues on Route 150 south through Kensington. From there, you’ll jump on Route 84 east toward Hampton Falls. You’ll take Route 1 North–the old stagecoach road from Portsmouth to Boston–where you’ll pass beautiful salt marshes, ponds, and waterways. It continues on Route 27 toward the coastal scenic Route 1A.
Fall Foliage Tracker and Reports
Because peak foliage varies by region, it’s a good idea to check out visitnh.gov’s state-wide foliage tracker before heading out for your scenic drive. The site also offers up-to-date foliage reports. Got any great fall foliage pictures to share? We’d love to see them! Share them with the Secondwind Water Systems team via email.