Mt. Washington Valley, located in the heart of the White Mountains of New Hampshire, says hail to the “peep” each fall as Mother Nature provides a spectacle of color unmatched anywhere else in the U.S. Offering not only spectacular foliage but also a wide variety of ways to enjoy the harvest hues of nature’s artistry, this region offers plenty of great ways to enjoy fall foliage throughout autumn. Here are some conventional and a few unconventional suggestions for viewing Mt. Washington Valley’s fall foliage. Simply click on the links below, or visit www.mtwashingtonvalley.org and click on EVENTS for a complete list of fall events to augment your leaf peeping itinerary.
Image Credit: Dan Houde/Wiseguy Creative
From the Seat of a Train
Mt. Washington Valley offers a host of train rides year round; these fall rides add that spectacle of color in September and October. Book a seat on the Mt. Washington Cog Railway, and take this famous train ride to the top of Mt. Washington, the tallest peak in the Northeast. Or enjoy fabulous scenic tours to Conway, Bartlett, and Crawford Notch on the Conway Scenic Railroad. Click here for a complete list of Mt. Washington Valley’s trains and attractions.
From the Top of the Notch
Scenic drives through Crawford Notch to Bretton Woods or Pinkham Notch to Gorham offer everything from ridge top vistas and rock formations to moose sightings. Be sure to have the camera ready because there’s a new surprise around every turn.
From the Moose Van
Take a ride along the picturesque Androscoggin River and into the 13-Mile Woods area, or travel into “Moose Alleys” in other parts of the Valley on a choice of spectacular and scenic Moose/Wildlife Tours. As many as 23 moose have been spotted in one tour! Tours also includes folklore and historic features of the region. Choose from three different tours, including Dan’s Scenic Tours, Gorham Moose Tours, and MWV Moose Bus Tours/Moose Safari. The Omni Mt. Washington Hotel also offers moose tours from the hotel.
From a Gondola, Chairlift, or Zipline
Fall is the time of year to take in the spectacular vistas from Mt. Washington Valley’s mountaintops. For those who’d rather not hike up, take the lift! For a truly “zipalicious” view of foliage, try the zipline at Wildcat, the Canopy Tour at Bretton Woods, Soaring Eagle at Cranmore Adventure Park, the high ropes courses at Monkey Trunks, or the new ZipTour at Attitash (the longest single zipline span in the East!).
From the Pumpkin People Tour
A highlight of foliage season each year is “The Return of the Pumpkin People”, which is now in its 28th year. Businesses throughout Mt. Washington Valley create whimsical displays of pumpkin people, the only requirement being that the heads are made of pumpkins. Take a self-guided tour of at Settlers Green Outlet Village where 20 of the pumpkin people can be found, and vote on your favorite from Oct 1st-31st.
From the Seat of a Car
Mt. Washington Valley is renowned for its fall foliage scenic drives, including the Kancamagus Highway, the country’s only scenic byway loop. Take a Sunday drive through the mountains any day of the week and discover picnic sites, swimming holes, wildlife, and family attractions along the way. Make sure you vote for the Kancamagus Highway through September 28th in USA Today’s 10 Best Scenic Autumn Drives contest.
From the Seat of a Golf Cart
Many of Mt. Washington Valley’s golf courses remain open throughout October, offering golfers picturesque holes and challenging courses. This is the time to enjoy golf at Mt. Washington Valley’s 11 courses, which are all within a 45 minute drive from North Conway, NH. Go to www.Golfmwv.com and check out profiles of each course, including lists of the most picturesque holes on each golf course. You can imagine with fall foliage in the background how gorgeous these spots are for putting and peeping!
From a cozy B&B, Inn, Motel, Hotel, or Family Resort
Mt. Washington Valley is well known for its wide variety of lodging. More than 50 country inns and B&B’s offer cozy and romantic retreats while the region’s motels, hostels, and campgrounds provide additional options for those seeking getaways on a budget. Family resorts, condos, vacation rentals, and timeshare properties round out the offerings so there’s something for everyone. Many of these lodging properties have packages and itineraries for fall foliage getaways.
From the Seat of a Bike
Mt. Washington Valley offers ideal biking terrain, ranging from gentle back roads that go through covered bridges and past farms and meadows to extreme off-road slick tracks. In fact, New Hampshire was recently named among the most cycling-friendly states in the country. There are even inn to inn biking tours offered throughout the fall.
From the Table in the Dining Room
Mt. Washington Valley offers more dining with a view than any other New England destination. Whether it’s overlooking North Conway with Cranmore Mountain front and center from the White Mountain Hotel’s dining room or a fabulous view of the Moat Mountains and Presidential Range from Darby Field Inn, you’ll find spectacular dining with a view throughout the Valley.
Whether you put your foot to the pedal or the metal, don’t forget to bring a camera because the foliage in Mt. Washington Valley is arguably the most exquisite in New England. For all your fall foliage planning information, visit www.mtwashingtonvalley.org or call 1-800-DO-SEE-NH (800-367-3364) for help in planning your getaway. And be sure to check out www.VisitNH.gov for all the resources you need to explore New Hampshire this fall.