Best time to travel to New Hampshire

New Hampshire Fall Colors 2024

The state where your dose of fall foliage resides

Best time: mid-September–mid-October

New Hampshire Fall Colors
New Hampshire Fall Colors
New Hampshire Fall Colors
New Hampshire Fall Colors
Franconia Notch State Park, New Hampshire

As mid-September approaches, New Hampshire transforms into a canvas of vibrant autumn colors, attracting leaf peepers from far and wide. Known for its stunning fall foliage, the Granite State promises a memorable experience for nature enthusiasts and photographers alike.

Peak Times for Fall Colors Season

Mid-September through mid-October is when colorful fall foliage rushes over New Hampshire, and it usually unveils itself from northwest to southeast. During this period, the foliage reaches its peak vibrancy, painting the landscape with hues of red, orange, and gold. Travelers flock to scenic drives to witness nature's spectacular display before the leaves begin to fall. For those planning their visit, the Fall Foliage Tracker is a valuable resource, allowing users to view approximate color changes weekly throughout the season. You can use the sliding bar or click directly on a region to see the most current foliage report, ensuring you don’t miss the peak colors.

Best Places for Leaf Peeping

New Hampshire boasts an abundance of towns for leaf peepers. Just look through the list below, bring your camera, and go on an adventure!

Conway

There may be no better way to experience New Hampshire's fall foliage than aboard the Conway Scenic Railroad, offering unforgettable views through the White Mountain clefts adorned in autumn colors. Tickets for the scenic railway rides vary depending on the option chosen, such as the Mountaineer Dome Class offering upper dome seating for the best views, the Mountaineer First Class with spacious seats and climate control, or the Sawyer River Premium with similar upper dome views. Tickets for the scenic railway rides start at $25 for children and $50 for adults. For those seeking adventure on foot, trekking to Diana’s Baths, a scenic series of swimming holes and waterfalls near North Conway, offers a refreshing and picturesque retreat amidst nature's seasonal spectacle.

Waterville Valley

Discover an unbelievable U-shaped mountain range that cradles Waterville Valley. This region becomes especially beautiful as the autumn colors light up the slopes. That's why this region's abundant hiking pathways look so inviting for so many outdoor enthusiasts.

Sandwich

Pleated between the woody foothills of the White Mountains and the loon-rich banks of Squam Lake, Sandwich village offers plenty of driving routes, hiking trails, and an alluring downtown scene. But if your visit coincides with the 100-year-old Sandwich Fair, you would have even more fun: livestock competitions, midway rides, and much more.

Walpole

Welcome to a beautiful village bordered by 19th-century buildings, accompanied by orchards, farms, and the Connecticut River, of course. The views at Alyson’s Orchard, one of the best orchards in the country, are definitely heart-stopping. Just come and see for yourself.

Hanover

Hanover is famous for its lush landscapes. The Appalachian Trail, the Connecticut River, and all the nearby mountains will certainly take your breath away. To take in all the beauty around, you can rent a kayak or canoe from the nation’s oldest boating club—Ledyard Canoe Club.

Jackson

Surrounded by the White Mountains and girded by numerous hiking paths, Jackson is the gem of the Whites. The town sees its inns filled with skiers throughout the winter, but you've never seen a place like this before during fall. Here you can take in 5 miles (8 km) of the stunning mountain scenery along Jackson Scenic Loop. You can discover it by car, by bike, or on foot.

Fall Foliage Drives

New England can offer a load of amazing fall foliage drives, but the Kancamagus Highway or simply the Kanc in the White Mountains is the most famous. Evans Notch (Route 113) provides a quieter alternative to the Kanc. It begins and ends in Maine, but along the New Hampshire border, this route is winding, steep, and truly unforgettable. You can also choose to drive around Squam Lake and Lake Winnipesaukee, which offer outstanding views of mountains and water altogether.

For a closer encounter with nature's artwork, explore Crawford Notch and Franconia Notch state parks further north, where the panoramic vistas are truly awe-inspiring.

Where to Stay

If you've made a choice to visit New Hampshire during the fall foliage period, the state has an endless list of hotels, lodgings, and inns to offer. But campsites continue to be particularly popular around New Hampshire. All-time favorites are Mead Explorer Base Camp near Sandwich and Hampton Beach State Park Campground near Walpole.

Activities and Local Attractions

Visitors to New Hampshire can immerse themselves in a variety of activities amidst the state's breathtaking fall landscapes. Start by exploring Diana’s Baths near North Conway, where picturesque waterfalls and serene pools offer a peaceful retreat. Outdoor enthusiasts can venture to the Lakes Region to enjoy activities like boating, fishing, and lakeside picnics at Squam and Winnipesaukee lakes, surrounded by vibrant autumn hues. Along the way, discover local treasures, such as antique shops in Bethlehem and the historic Sandwich Fair, featuring livestock shows and carnival rides. Indulge in the flavors of New Hampshire at Alyson’s Orchard in Walpole, known for its scenic orchards and fresh farm produce. Photography enthusiasts can enhance their skills with a Photography Workshop or join a Fall Foliage Tour to capture the beauty of the season.

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