Fall Foliage (Leaf Peeping) Touring in The Great North Woods
of New Hampshire, and Vermont along the Connecticut River between NH and VT is one of the best tour guide areas
in New England a peeper can hope to find in the autumn (fall). Maples, birches and Oak trees change leaf color
in the autumn making for great leafpeeping. You can hike the trails and take pictures of the leaves, a photographers'
and tourist dream land.
www.greatnorthwoods.org - Fall Foliage - 1998
Click here to find 1999 fall foliage
Scroll down to read about last year's info and to see some places to drive
to enjoy the leaves.
If you arrived here stuck in someone else's frames...use this
link to break free!
Several folks have asked why I had no fall foliage (leaf peeping) section on my web sites beyond a brief description
in a couple of places. I have been reluctant to share my views on leaf peeping routes because no matter what I
write here, someone's going to dislike it. Oh well, here goes!
The places I'm going to describe are mostly on back dirt roads, some with dead ends. All are roads we have
been able to get through under normal conditions with our Saturn.
Before you leave the main roads be sure you have some munchies and a full gas tank, maybe a roll of toilet paper
and a shovel. Pay attention so you don't become a victim of the
dreaded ditch suction!
The "official" guides both in print and on the internet tell you about the paved state roads as
places to go for foliage peeping. While you will see a lot of very nice colors, you are missing out on the most
beautiful scenes in the area.
Middle of the Great North Woods season
I've taken quite a few picture of foliage over the last few weeks and will post some in the foliage section
sometime this winter as I get time.
October 13th. There were more high winds and rain over the weekend. Much of the color is gone from trees
at higher elevations and other exposed areas north of the notches in New Hampshire. There are still plenty of colorful
leaves on the trees in the valleys and leeward side of hills and mountains. You'll see a tree that's been blown
bare and right nect to it another at full color in some places. South of Franconia Notch on down to Concord NH
appears to be about at peak at the moment.
October 8th. We've had a heavy rain and some high winds since the 29th of September. Some of the trees are
now bare, but right next to them will be trees in full color and others still green. This weekend was excellent
for leaf peeping north of the notches. I'd say we're right in the middle of the color though. The maple on our
front lawn is still green, those in back red with about half the leaves on the ground. Driving along back roads
don't just look up at the leaves on the trees but down at those on the ground. I like taking pictures of these
Beginning of the season
September 29th. It's still great up here. I just drove from Concord to Lancaster on I-93 and route 3. The
color gets really good from Campton on north. On the west side of I-93 it look about peak from Campton to the notch,
the east side still pretty green. From the notch north to Lancaster it's mostly around peak with some green areas
on the hills around Whitefield. You'll still see maples next to each other with one green, another at peak color,
and the next with half the leaves off. I'd say around 95% of the trees still have their leaves on and in full color
though. I just took a lot of pictures of the cars and their owners on the Glidden Tour. What a spectacular sight!
The sky has finally cleared of haze to a deep blue. Photography and leaf peeping is absolutely in order now! If
you're not here already, get on with it!
September 23rd. GET UP HERE ASAP! (As Soon As Possible!) The leaves went from pretty good to peak overnight.
Keep scrolling down to see where to go. From Franconia Notch north it's GREAT! The leaves in the notch went from
green to gorgeous overnight too. In the notch they are more yellow and brown as the trees are mostly beechs and
birchs at the higher elevations. As you sescend the north end of the notch and above you'll find reds and oranges
from the maples.
It's now the 22nd of September, 1998. I just returned from a drive "down south" and took a few
back roads in Bethlehem and Whitefield. NOW is the time to get up here. The leaves are coming into excellent color.
Depending on weather conditions, such as wind that would help remove leaves, the next 2 to 4 weeks should be excellent.
This year (1998) the season seems to have begun in Pittsburg
through Groveton around the 18th September and is in pretty
good color on the 20th. I am writing this on the 20th. Further south around Lancaster
some trees are at peak, about 80 percent of them still green. Driving over to Gilman,
VT a slightly larger percentage is in full color. Dalton, NH
has small sections in full color, most still green. Whitefield,
NH is pretty much the same.
Some interesting roads I happen to like
- From Route 3: Take a right in Colebrook, NH (if
you're headed north, east in any event) towards the north end of Main Street on route 145. Stop and look at the
falls on the right in a mile or two. Keep going until you come to the Poore
Family Homestead, in Stewartstown, NH. If it's open for visitors, stop. There are a lot of maples in the area
that should have great color early in the season. Go on up the road a ways until you come to historical marker
on the right for Megantic's grave. Drive up the dirt road to the intersection and take a right. The cemetary is
a couple of hundred yards on the right. From here you can either keep going beyond the cemetary back south on the
dirt road which after several intersections will bring you back to route 26 or 145. Just wander and get lost, they
are all pretty. If you aren't that adventurous, go back down from whence you came to the cemetary and proceed north
on route 145 to Pittsburg, NH. Somewhere along the way you'll
see a sign on the right across from an old school house informing you that you are at the 45th parallel, half way
between the equator and the arctic circle. There is a road to the right just beyond this sign leading to Clarksville
Pond, another nice drive. It comes to a dead end.
- Most of the back roads in Pittsburg have nice foliage. I prefer the logging company road on the right beyond
the First Connecticut Lake.
- There's a really nice drive that takes you up to a Secret
G Scale Garden Railroad. I'm not going to tell you any more about it. If you can figure it out, go there.
- I will concede one of the main routes here is really pretty, that being route 26 between Colebrook,
NH, going through Dixville Notch to Errol,
NH. It takes you through the Dixville Notch
Mountains and by the Wildlife Observation
Area. Here's a 180 Degree View from Dixville Notch
looking South, East, North, at Colebrook, Columbia, Stewartstown and Vermont. taken in the summer and a Panorama from route 26 east of Errol Village.
While you're up here you're going to need a place to stay. These places are right in the middle of the foliage:
If you're into camping, check out these great campgrounds:
A little later in the season
- State route 110 between Northumberland, NH,
(Groveton, NH) and Berlin,
NH is a nice drive. The real treasures are just north of 110 though. A mile or two after you leave Groveton,
take the road to the left to Nash Stream Road. It dead ends about 7 miles up. A really nice drive on a pretty good
gravel road with nice color. My wife saw her first Moose up
- After you come back to route 110, continue east towards Berlin. (Take a left) There is a back road you can
take a left on if you want before you get to 110 at the last turn onto Nash Stream Road. This road parallels route
100 for a ways, but there is a section not open in the last hundred years or so, which will force you to take a
right back down across another bridge to route 110. Anyway, take a left wherever you come out on 110 and head east
until you come to another dirt road to the left. Take this and get lost. Be sure you have plenty of gas. You're
going to eventually come out in Milan, NH somewhere. If you
happen to see a sign for apples for sale on route 110 in Milan, stop by Henry
Lang's Unique Orchard. He and his brother have really done some interesting things with fruit trees. If you
go up route 110A you'll pass Milan State Park which has the Milan
Fire Tower at the top of it. You can see a really nice view from there.
This is all I have time to write at the moment (morning, September 20, 1998). I have to do a little work
on our furnace before the cold weather hits, and replace the fuel filter and air conditioner clutch on the Saturn.
(Over 103,000 miles on a 1997 SL1) After that hopefully we'll have some time to go out and take some pictures of
foliage to put up here for you.
Well, I've pretty much rebuilt the heat exchanger in our furnace now, (evening, September 20, 1998) didn't
get to the car.
Oh, by the way, yesterday had to get an estimate on the car for a new fender. We were on our way to the Scottish
Tattoo at Loon Mountain where the New Hampshire Highland
Games are held over the weekend. On the way about a mile south of Trudeau Road on route 3 a small (about 200
pound) black bear came barreling full tilt out of the woods from the passenger side of the car. There was no oncoming
traffic, so I braked and swerved hard left in an attempt to avoid it. The thing still managed to run into the passenger
side fender, leaving some fur behind and cracking the fender slightly. The bear was thrown back to the edge of
the woods and laid there twitching. Our older daughter was riding in a car with one of her friends behind us and
"enjoyed" the experience. They remained with the bear while we drove off to call the Bethlehem police.
By the time we returned they had watched the bear get up and bolt back into the woods. The alignment is now slightly
off on the Saturn, there is also some bear fur stuck in
the hub cap and on the tire rim. By the feel and the sound of the impact I had expected to see about half of the
front end destroyed. Saturns just bounce though.
I have hiked all over that section of woods and never saw a sign of bear. No bear claw trees (How they mark
their territory), no bear tracks or crap, nothing. About a mile northeast I have seen many signs of bear. Something
must have spooked it. I have encountered many moose in that area, the two adult ones blundered in front of cars
this summer and were killed. I've expected sooner or later to hit one and probably will, but a bear is rather unusual
to hit on the road.
Anyway, back to the foliage and back roads to enjoy.
- A few hundred yards down route 110 from the intersection with route 3 in Groveton)
you'll come to Lost Nation Road on the right. It is blacktop all the way to Lancaster. Kind of bumpy but real pretty
any season, especially in the fall. A ways down the road on the right you'll see the Groveton
Fish & Game Club. We have a nice range there where the wife and the girls and I enjoy an occasional afternoon
of plinking. Poke around a little and you might figure out the Secret
Waterfall # 1. Continue on a while longer and you'll come to a water
powered cider mill. You might like their cider, but I don't. No worms in the apples they use. The only way
to get REALLY good cider is with wormy apples! There are a couple of roads to the left from the Lost Nation road
after you get into Lancaster. No matter how you go up in there, you'll eventually wind up on North Road in Lancaster.
If you take a left you'll wind up in Jefferson, a right will take you to Lancaster.
- You can hike the Lancaster Section of the Heritage
Trail. Once you get out past the fir trees the rest of the hike has excellent foliage to see along with a beaver
dam. It's an easy hike with very little incline, a fair amount of it is along an old logging
railroad bed. You can follow the old railroad bed for a ways beyond the trail, but the beavers have dammed up the
water so it covers the old bed stopping you from continuing. The
Heritage Trail heads northwest, then south and north again after crossing a small bridge just below the first beaver
- While in Lancaster, be sure to go up Corrigan
hill to Weeks State Park. There is a gate at the top of
Corrigan Hill with a sign for Weeks State Park. The
road to the top isn't suited for motorhomes as there is a hairpin turn near the top. There is a great
view looking east from part way up the road with a routed sign board to show the names of the mountains. Climb
the stairs in the stone observation and fire tower
to get a 360 degree view from the top of Prospect
Mountain. Then walk over to the Mansion for
a look at a history of logging in the area, mounted
animals, and mounted birds.
- Going down the south side of Corrigan hill there is a dirt road to the east (left if you're going down hill).
This is a pretty drive. Depending on the turn you take you'll end up in Lancaster,
Jefferson, or Whitefield.
- There are two dirt roads off the north side of Corrigan Hill on route 3. The higher up one is Reed road
and will bring you to route 2 about 2 or 3 miles east of Lancaster.
There are some nice views looking down on Lancaster and
over to Vermont.
- The other dirt road is Stebbin's Hill road. We can make it through over to Buffalo road with the Saturn,
but depending on the ruts near the top we have dragged bottom sometimes. The maple trees lining both sides of the
road make the drive worth it. Watch for the buffalo at the bottom of Buffalo road. You will come out on Route 135.
Going right will bring you back to Lancaster in a couple
of miles. If you go left in about 4 miles will be a covered bridge into Lunenburg,
- If you go south on route 135 either from the north end of it which is on Main
Street in Lancaster, from the bottom of Buffalo road
or from the covered bridge, you will next come to Dalton, NH.
There are some great views of the Connecticut River and even more interesting, some
surprising history about Dalton and John's River. Dalton
is honeycombed with some really great back roads. Go uphill (left if you're going south) on just about any of them
and you'll either end up in Whitefield, back in Dalton,
in Lancaster or down in Littleton. The views from some of
the mountain roads are spectacular.
- Let's go back up to Corrigan Hill and then down the south side to Martin Meadow Pond road at the bottom.
I forgot to mention that the Lancaster Section of the
Heritage Trail goes up and around Weeks State Park and then
down an abandoned road to Martin Meadow Pond Road. A mile or two down the road you'll come to Martin
Meadow Pond. The Heritage Trail is Martin Meadow
Pond road down to the blacktop road in Dalton. Martin Meadow
Pond road is a dirt road in goor condition with great color in foliage season.. When you come to the blacktop going
right will bring you to route 135 and to Dalton or back to
Lancaster along the Connecticut River either way. This section
of the Connecticut and of the John's River are both excellend paddling if you bring your canoe. Just don't go too
far below the railroad bridge in Dalton as there is a dam you
wouldn't want to go over.
- About a mile below Martin Meadow Pond road is Mountain
Lake Campground. If you stay there and go to the back of the campground you'll find a great view or Mount Prospect
and Weeks State Park.
- There is some great foliage surrounding beautiful old Victorian houses right in the middle of Lancaster.
Walk to the top Bunker Hill Street from the municipal parking lots and down any of the side streets. There are
a lot of maples on the hill. Bunker Hill Street is the one between the Information Booth and Parker's Gift and
Souvenir shop. You can stay at the Lancaster Motor Inn across
the street from the info booth. We are working on a river walk to treat you to even more scenery. Go from the
Lancaster Motor Inn down Main Street and cross the bridge over Israel's
River. Look to the right (down river) at the southeast end of the bridge. You'll see a bench to rest on and
a path leading to a bridge. (I am intimately acquainted with the bottom of the bridge and stream below as I helped
the folks install the thing.) As of the 19th of September, 1998, you have to bushwhack your way for a ways to the
left after you cross the bridge. You'll come to a field and a couple of paths at the other end of the field. Back
track to return to the bridge. You were just on an island. The plan is to build another bridge to another island
then from that over to the old Thompson Manufacturing building that is presently being remodeled.
- Another great place to stay is the Twin Maples Bed &
Breakfast, a few blocks north of the Info booth on Main Street on the same side of the street. You can sit
on the porch and watch the beautifully colored leaves fall from the twin maples (wonder how they decided on the
name) right on the front lawn. When you get sick of looking at colored leaves you can go inside and look at colored
glass in their impressive collection of depression glass. I've looked at both and I can't decide which is better,
so the heck with it, just enjoy it all.
- There's an expansive view of the Kilkenny and Presidential Mountains from Beaver
Trails Campground. You're also right on the Connecticut and Israel's
River. They have an interesting nature trail that's an easy walk from your spot.
- The middle of Whitefield is a super place to look
at leaves and get some info. Their info booth is right on the town square, the square being filled with maples
providing great color. You can drop into Frank's Barber Shop for a trim right across from the info booth. Bill
Weeks is hard at work restoring the building Frank's is in as well as the old
water powered grist mill. You might see him at work, but please stay back a bit for your safety.
- The road splits just across the bridge by the mill in Whitefield
Village. To the left is route 3 south, the right up the hill takes you toward a road with a very pretty view.
Look at the top of the hill on the left for Kimball Hill Road. This is blacktop for a little while then tirns to
dirt. Less than a mile up it you will come to a beautiful view of the mountains across from the
Kimball Hill Inn. You can stay there and wake up to a view of colorful maples slowly shedding their leaves
before winter. (Maybe not so slowly if the wind happens to be blowing).
- There are a lot of dirt roads between Whitefield
and Dalton I mentioned before. From the
Kimball Hill Inn go back down to route 116 and go left (south). The either of the next two right turns will
take you into the maze of back roads to get lost in. For that matter the roads to the left in Whitefield
aren't to shabby either, so it doesn'r really matter what you do, just turn off the main road and get lost. Sooner
or later you'll come to blacktop again and find your way to one of the surrounding towns.
Well, it's 1:45 AM and I have to get up and continue working on my furnace after buying some sheet metal
screws at Kilkenny Building Center. Hopefully tomorrow I'll
get some time to get out and snap some digital pictures for you of foliage. And work on the car. And work on the
brakes on the motorhome. And dump in some of the 50 or so disks of pictures that aren't in the computer yet. And
work at adding some of the 5000 or so pictures to the site that are waiting on the hard drive. And work at scanning
in more history for you. (I have a pile coming)! Eventually there will be a lot more Lancaster, Whitefield and
Northumberland history added to this site, and a great deal more on www.shunpike.org
covering other areas including down to Piermont. And... And.... And..... Well, you know how it goes. If you don't
know, well you're not busy enough! Get off your duff and come to the Great North Woods to look at some leaves!
Snap a few pictures! Hike a little! Check out all the neat stuff up here! If I can take the time to pound the keyboard
to tell you about it, you can take the time to get up (or over or down) here to enjoy it!
Oh, and please don't forget to support the sponsors
of this mess! Without their help I wouldn't be able to afford to bring this to you from the fastest server in the
world! I don't charge 'em much so they can afford to not charge you much. What a deal!
Back to Whitefield again.
- There are three ways to get to Mount Washington
Regional Airport You can go south on route 3 up a long hill. Shortly after the top of the hill is a road to
the left with an airport sign. There's a fellow out there who gives airplane rides so you can get another view
of the leaves. You can fly in if you have an airplane, check out the section on Mount
Washington Regional Airport to learn about the services. Pilots can call 837-9532 to have a rental car brought
to the airfield for you. The other way to get to the Mount
Washington Regional Airport is to go east on route 116 towards Jefferson. The road to the airport is on the
right in a mile or two.