6 Things to do near Franconia New Hampshire

Sep 6th 2021

We initially came to Franconia because we really wanted to hike the Franconia Ridge, an 8+ mile hike with almost 4K ft of elevation gain. But mother nature had other plans, as the remnants of hurricane Ida made its way into the Northeast.

It was time for plan b, so we found a few cool things to do around the area during the week that we were here.

Old Man of the Mountain

Way up on the top of this mountain used to sit a series of granite cliff ledges, that when viewed from the side resembled a human face. It collapsed on May 3rd 2003, and 17 years later the Old Man of the Mountain Memorial was completed.

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The memorial is really cool, it has a few "steel profilers" that when you view from a certain spot, it brings the human face back to life!

You can tell a tremendous amount of work was put into this, and honestly I'm not even sure how they were able to line up all those shapes to make it appear as a face.

It's a really easy walk, all paved, and also includes great views of Franconia Notch. You can also find history about the area as well.

The Basin

15,000 years ago during the last Ice Age, and then over the course of time, water has carved a 20ft wide pothole into pure granite. In the middle of this thing is a rock formation that resembles a human foot!

The whole area is absolutely beautiful with water cascading and shaping the mountain beneath your feet. 

There's two overlooks to view the basin from. The lower overlook gives you a good view of the giant pothole, and the upper view affords a view of the old mans foot!

Artist's Bluff

This is a moderately strenuous 1.5 mile loop that takes you out to some pretty scenic views of Echo Lake, and Cannon Ski Mountain. There's a lot of up and down with this hike, with a total elevation gain of almost 1K ft.

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It definitely seemed to be a trail that the locals are fond of, and for good reason! It's absolutely beautiful.

You can barely see us on that bluff!

I love when we can get the drone up because it offers a different perspective that you typically wouldn't otherwise see. 

Cloudland Falls

You can find this beathtaking waterfall on the Falling Waters Trail, in Franconia Notch State Park. It's a little under 2 miles out and back to the falls, and the hike is moderately strenuous with a pretty constant uphill grade.

This was the start of the Franconia Ridgeline hike that we initially came for and didn't get to do, but we wanted to at least view the waterfalls at the beginning of the hike.

It's definitely worth just seeing the falls if that's all you're able to do, but if you have the time and the energy, definitely consider hiking the ridge! Hopefully we'll be back next Fall to conquer this beast!

Kancamagus Scenic Byway

Completely relatively recently (1960), this scenic byway stretches fro 32 miles into some absolutely amazing and beautiful backcountry of the White Mountains. There's a couple of overlooks to stop and take in the beauty of this amazing area.

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Boise Rock

O.K., so it's a rock. But it has an interesting back story to it! Apparently this guy was going through the area a long time ago, hit a snowstorm, cut open his horse and climbed inside of it to stay warm, underneath this big rock.

They found him the next day still alive, but they had to cut him out of the horse because the skin was frozen shut.

There's definitely a couple movies that have scenes like this, and although the story seems far-fetched, you really just never know!

Where we camped

Fransted Family Campground was our basecamp for the week. Overall it was a pretty quiet week, and the campground itself is absolutely beautiful. However, that all depends on where you book your stay.

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The full-hookup area is not where you want to be. There's no privacy, and the sites are really close together. Instead, book a water and electric only site, which will put you in the forest!

Well, that wraps up our week in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. The state is absolutely beautiful and as we're nearing 2.5 years of living on the road, we've started to think about finding a new home base. So each new state we visit is a new opportunity to wonder "is this the one?"

Unfortunately, while the place is absolutely gorgeous, its homeschooling laws are in direct conflict with our unschooling way of life.

But we'll be back! It's a wonderful place to spend time in.

Onward to Maine!

Author

Nick Haskins
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