Franconia Notch is a spectacular mountain pass, or “notch”, between the Kinsman Mountain Range and the Franconia Mountain Range in Northern New Hampshire. The Franconia Notch State Park is in the White Mountain National Forest and easily accessible from I-93.
Franconia Notch has many attractions for those seeking wilderness adventure or a family-oriented weekend vacation.
- Nature Hikes In the White Mountains
- Waterfalls of the White Mountains: 30 Hikes to 100 Waterfalls
- AMC White Mountain Guide
- High Huts of the White Mountains
Franconia Notch Area Attractions
Flume Gorge and Visitor Center is located at the base of Mt. Liberty. The visitor center has great views of Mt. Liberty and Mt. Flume. The Flume is a granite gorge 800 foot long natural gorge, up to 90 feet high and between 12 and 20 feet apart. There is a walking trail with points of interest and natural features.
Echo Lake is located on the North end of Franconia Notch. The Lake is great for swimming and fishing with great views of the surrounding mountains. There is a campground for RV and access for small boats.
The Basin is a beautiful waterfall with a giant pothole, 30 feet in diameter and 15 feet deep, at it’s base. The pothole is believed to have been eroded when the glaciers receded from the area after the last ice age. The swirling of smalls stones and debris has smoothed and enlarged the granite depression for the last 15,000 years or so. In his book, Nature Hikes in the White Mountains (affiliate link), Robert Buchsbaum calls The Basin “one of the largest, most impressive glacially carved potholes you will ever see.” A short hike from the Basin are The Cascades, which are a series of waterfalls that flow over open ledges.
Cannon Mountain Aerial Tramway is the location of the first passenger aerial tramway in North America, which began operation in 1938. You can take a scenic 5-minute ride to the 4,180-foot summit of Cannon Mountain in one of two enclosed cable cars and enjoy panoramic views of the distant valleys and mountains. The tram ascends 2,022 feet vertically over a one mile.
The New England Ski Museum
The Old Man of the Mountain – gone but not forgotten.
Hiking and Backpacking
The Kinsman and Franconia Mountain ranges offer challenging, rewarding hiking and backpacking in some of New England’s highest peaks and access to it’s most remote wilderness. The Franconia Mountain Range forms the Western border for the Pemigewasset Wilderness.
The Appalachian National Scenic Trail (the “AT”) crosses through Franconia Notch. Coming over the Kinsman Ridge, the trail passes under I-93 before heading up Mt. Liberty and then North along the Franconia Ridge on the border of the Pemigewasset Wilderness.
The Appalachian Mountain Club maintains a mountain hut system in the White Mountains. The Lonesome Lake Hut is located on Lonesome Lake in the Kinsman Range with views of the Franconia Range across the notch. The Greenleaf Hut is located on Mt. Lafayette with grand views of the Franconia Range. For more information about the AMC hut system, check out the book High Huts of the White Mountains (affiliate link).
Hiker parking is available at the Flume Gorge Visitor Center, Basin, Lafayette Place, Old Man, Cannon Mountain, and Echo Lake parking lots. The Appalachian Mountain Club offers AMC Hiker Shuttles to shuttle hikers and their gear to and from the trailhead. Check with the AMC for more details.
The Franconia Notch Recreational Trail is a paved bicycle touring path, 9 miles long, that connects many of the Franconia Notch trailheads. The trail is located between the Flume Gorge Visitor Center and the Skookumchuck Trail. Pedestrians may also use this trail, but should avoid obstructing the cyclists way. Bike rentals are available in Lincoln and Franconia.
The Pemigewasset River flows through Franconia Notch. There is excellent trout fishing in the Pemi. At the head of the river, Profile Lake is a clear mountain pond known for it’s brook trout. Profile Lake is fly fishing only. Just North of Profile Lake, but in an entirely different watershed, is Echo Lake. Echo Lake flows Westward toward the Connecticut River watershed.
Click this image for a larger map of Franconia Notch.
- Franconia Notch State Park is within the White Mountain National Forest
- The Kancamagus Highway is a nearby National Scenic Byway through the White Mountain National Forest
- The Appalachian Mountain Club provides many services in this area
- The maps on this page were made with DeLorme Topo (affiliate link)