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 info!

Scroll down to read about last year's info and to see some places to drive to enjoy the leaves.

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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 even more.

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

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

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.

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.


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E-Mail: edsanders@edsanders.com