Almost anywhere you drive in New Hampshire is going to give you wonderful vistas of fall foliage. The White Mountains, the Great North Woods, and the Lakes Region provide ample opportunity to see spectacular fall color.
Both the Federal Government and New Hampshire State Government have designated national and state scenic byways that offer some of the best scenery and fall foliage viewing. Many of these drives can be combined for a wonderful extended foliage vacation.
National Scenic Byways in New Hampshire
The America’s Byways program has three scenic byways in New Hampshire that make excellent fall foliage drives:
- Connecticut River Byway – The Connecticut River Byway that runs the entire north to south distance of the state from north to south along the Connecticut River.
- Kancamagus Scenic Byway / Kancamagus Highway – The Kancamagus Scenic Byway / Kancamagus Highway, officially NH-112, is an exceptionally beautiful fall foliage drive running east to west through the heart of the White Mountain National Forest.
- White Mountain Trail – The White Mountain Trail loops through the White Mountains and can be combined with the Kancamagus Scenic Byway for an extended fall foliage drive.
New Hampshire State Scenic Byways
New Hampshire’s Department of Transportation has created a bunch of scenic and cultural byway tours that make the perfect basis for a New Hampshire fall foliage drive. These include the:
- The Appleway – The 10 mile Appleway takes your through farms and orchards in Londonderry and provides a wonderful way to spend a fall afternoon.
- Branch River Valley Trail – The Branch River Valley Trail travels 14 miles along Routes 153 and 125 in New Hampshire’s Lakes Region. Along the way be sure to check out the New Hampshire Farm Museum in Milton and the Museum of Childhood in Wakefield.
- Canterbury Shaker Village Byway – The 12 mile Canterbury Shaker Village Byway is only 20 minutes from Concord. The highlight of this drive is Canterbury Shaker Village, but don’t discount the foliage along Route 132 and the other small roads that make up this byway.
- Coastal Byway – The Coastal Byway is 18.5 miles along New Hampshire’s coast on Route 1A from Portsmouth to Seabrook. Things to see along the way include the City of Portsmouth, Hampton Beach, historic Wentworth-By-the-Sea Hotel, Odiorne State Park, the Seacoast Science Center, and the historic Wentworth-By-the-Sea Hotel.
- Currier & Ives Trail – The Currier & Ives Trail travels 30 miles from Route 127 from north of Salisbury to Contoocook, Route 103 to Route 202/9 below Henniker. Farms and orchards dominate this route, but you also want to be on the lookout for Hopkinton’s two covered bridges, Rollins State Park, Mt. Kearsarge Indian Museum Educational and Cultural Center, and the Blackwater Dam and River.
- General John Stark Scenic Byway – The General John Stark Scenic Byway is a 34 mile loop on Routes 114, 13, and 77. The Piscataquog River passes alongside much of this route, and the area is famous for its fairs and festivals such as the annual Goffstown Pumpkin Weigh-off.
- Independence Byway – The Independence Byway makes a 21 mile half loop along Routes 107, 108, and 27 in New Hampshire’s Seacoast region passing through the centers of centers of Exeter and Hampton. Be sure to check out the American Independence Museum in Exeter while traveling this trail.
- Lake Sunapee Scenic and Cultural Byway – The 25 mile long Lake Sunapee Scenic and Cultural Byway borders beautiful Lake Sunapee along Routes 103 and 11.
- Lakes Tour – The 97 mile Lakes Tour circles Lake Winnipesaukee. Views of lakes, mountains, traditional New England villages mix with fall foliage for spectacular scenery.
- Moose Path Trail – The Moose Path Trail passes 98 miles through the Great North Woods.
- Presidential Range Trail – The 115 mile long Presidential Range Trail is a little different take on the Kancamagus Scenic Byway and the White Mountain Trail through the White Mountains. It can be easily combined with the others to make for a longer foliage drive.
- River Heritage Trail – The 120 mile River Heritage Trail brings you the White Mountains, working farms, and the Connecticut River Valley.
- Woodland Heritage Trail – The Woodland Heritage Trail makes a 65 mile loop at the north end of the White Mountain National Forest.