Wander Always & Stay Wilde


A Weekend in Mount Washington and Kancamagus Highway, New Hampshire

The White Mountains of New Hampshire are a year-round destination for outdoor enthusiasts and families exploring the area. Every season offers a new perspective of the stunning scenery of the mountains and especially foliage in the autumn months. Covering roughly 1/4 of the state of New Hampshire, the White Mountains are a part of the Appalachian Mountain range and are considered to be the most rugged mountains in all of New England. While there, the starting point for my travels was in Plymouth, New Hampshire, which is a city close to Lake Winnipesaukee. This proved to be a great central location for all of the places visited in the area. The summit of Mount Washington is roughly a two-hour drive from Plymouth and the drive gave the opportunity to travel the Kancamagus Highway and explore all of the scenic overlooks and hiking trails along the way.


For over 150 years, travelers have driven, hiked, and explored the Mount Washington Auto Road leading to the peak of Mount Washington. It opened to the public in 1861, making the road the first and oldest man-made attraction in the country! Construction of the Auto Road, also known as the Carriage Road, began as early at 1854 after a charter was granted for building by the New Hampshire State Legislature. The Auto Road climbs 4,723 feet from its base and stretches to over a mile in the sky at 6,288 ft – the highest point in the Northeast. Keep in mind that the road is extremely dangerous with sharp turns and most areas are without a guardrail. The drive-up should take about 30 minutes. There are ample number of turnouts and viewpoints to stop and admire the view as well as to cool the car’s brakes on the way back down.

To travel on the Auto Road, admission is $35 for a car and driver and $10 for every additional adult. Located on Route 16 in the Pinkham Notch in New Hampshire, the Auto Road is just 18 miles north of North Conway.

For more information visit the official Mount Washington Website: https://mt-washington.com

If visiting the area for the day, we stopped in North Conway for lunch before our long drive on the Auto Road. Check out Moat Mountain Smokehouse & Brewing Co. for great BBQ and burgers. They offer both indoor (with limited capacity) and outdoor seating with their full menu.

3378 White Mountain Hwy, North Conway, NH 03860

Notable stops on your way to Mount Washington, if traveling from Route 112 through Conway to Gorham, are Glen Ellis Falls, Crystal Cascade, Jackson Falls, Diana’s Baths The Conway Scenic Railroad.

Side Note: Featured in my lifestyle post “Travel Bags For Your Next Trip,” the Herschel Supply Co. Classic Mid-Volume Backpack (in the photo above) is my favorite travel bag to carry with me on day trips. It is large enough to fit my DSLR camera, an extra lens, my GroPro, a lightweight jacket, a water bottle, and a few other essential items I might need throughout my day!

Average annual wind speeds are marked at 35 miles per hour. Miles were at 40 miles per hour in the photo taken above! I was honestly scared to walk around for fear of being swept away by the wind!

The above photo shows the summit of Mount Washington! Elevation is 6,288 feet, making the peak the highest in the northeastern part of the United States. It is also similarly known as the home of the world’s worst weather since it is often unpredictable and fluctuates many temperatures throughout a given day.


The Kancamagus Highway, a National Scenic Byway, runs for 34.5 miles from Lincoln in the west to Conway in the east through White Mountain National Forest. The highway climbs nearly 3,000 feet offering spectacular and dramatic views along the way. Along its length are hiking trails, campgrounds, designated scenic areas, and numerous overlooks.

At the west end of the highway, the Lincoln- Woodstock area has been a major summer resort since as early as 1870. Now it is a year-round resort for outdoor adventure seekers and for those who want to enjoy golfing, tennis, and bicycling, among other outdoor sports. Loon Mountain Resort is a popular destination that has its own gondola, zipline system, glacial caves, hiking trails, and more. If you find yourself in Lincoln and are craving some ice cream, check out Udderly Delicious, a cute shop with homemade ice cream across the street from the RiverWalk Resort at Loon Mountain.

Overlooks & hiking trails along the highway:

Lincoln Woods

Hancock Overlook

Pemi Overlook

C.L. Graham Overlook

Sabbaday Falls

Sugarhill Overlook

Rocky Gorge & Lower Falls


On our way back from Mount Washington, we took Bear Notch Road (only open during the summer and fall months). The road connects to Route 112, the Kancamagus Highway, and going west leads to Sabbaday Falls. This was a stop that we missed initially when driving to Mount Washington! A stop not to miss. The hike is roughly 0.7 miles out and back and is a hike appropriate for all ages that leads to the stunning Sabbaday waterfall. Legend of the falls has it that the men initially built a road in the area named the brook Sabbaday Brook for the Sabbath Day, or “Sabbaday.” The trail to the falls has been hiked by travelers from the area since the early 1800s and is part of the White Mountain National Forest.


Offering breathtaking views of the Osceola Range, the Handcock Overlook is located at the “hairpin” turn on the Kancamagus Highway. For hikers, the trailhead for the Handcock Notch Trail starts here. This trail offers numerous brook crossings and is most easily accessible after the snow melts.


Some of the most beautiful natural attractions along the Kancamagus Highway are the hidden waterfalls. The rock formations of the Rocky Gorge are so incredibly formed you can walk right up to the Swift River’s edge and even catch an up-close glimpse of the Lower Falls. Another view of the Lower Falls can be seen along the built bridge, and the bridge continues along a path to Falls Pond.

While in New Hampshire, I broke into my new Sorel Kinetic Caribou Boots. Not only are they aesthetically pleasing and work with any outfit you pack on your travels, but they are also extremely comfortable! Even with thinner to normal thickness socks, I did not have one blister or complaint from wearing them. I suggest ordering either your normal size or sizing 1/2 a size up, if available. This will allow you the freedom to wear a thicker sock if you wish. There is a microfleece lining to these shoes making them versatile for summer weather (it was up to 90 degrees in the White Mountains) and perfect for cooler weather. They are also waterproof which makes them the perfect shoe to add to your wardrobe. To purchase these shoes on Amazon: Sorel Women’s Kinetic Caribou


Offering breathtaking views, especially in peak foliage season, the Sugar Hill scenic overlook offers views of Mount Tremount, Owl Cliff, Bear Mountain, and Sugar Hill Mountain. Its location is about halfway around the highway between Lincoln and Conway.


Also known as the “Wagon Ground” or “meeting place” of the Native Americans that lived and hunted in this area, the C.L. Graham Overlook shows beautiful views of the Swift River Watershed and the mountains to both the north and east. Located close to Sabbaday Falls, this scenic overlook is hard to miss as there are signs on the Kancamagus Highway pointing in its direction.

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