New Hampshire is northern and partly mountainous, so it will begin showing off its fall colors in late September. NH state map. An obvious choice for scenic fall drives is the White Mountains, including the magnificent Kancamagus Highway from North Conway to Lincoln. Wonderful forests and brilliant color also will be showing farther north, near Franconia Notch and Crawford Notch state parks, and the Great North Woods between Colebrook and Dixville Notch. The western mountains toward Lebanon and Hanover, and central lakes region also offer great beauty. New Hampshire foliage drives page.
WHITE MOUNTAINS REGION
Pinkham Notch Loop – This loop encircles the peak of Mount Washington and touches on town names that evoke rugged outdoor sports: Jackson, Gorham, Bartlett and others. Travelers will see spectacular views of the Presidential Mountains. Jackson is a lovely village for dining and shopping, and the center of town is like a stage for the beautiful and Jackson Covered Bridge. A good side trip is a drive up the Mount Washington Auto Road, presenting one of New England’s most spectacular mountain vistas. Route map.
Lake Winnipesaukee Loop – This very large lake, surrounded by hills, offers beautiful views across the water from vantage points in the towns of Laconia, Wolfeboro, and Moultonborough. This area is a major summer vacation resort, so there is lots of shopping and dining. Depending upon how late in the fall you arrive here, you could be lucky enough to tour Castle in the Clouds in Moultonborough, a 1920’s-era Craftsman-style mansion high in the mountains, or to take a sunset cruise with Mount Washington Cruises from Weirs Beach. Route map.
DARTMOUTH LAKE SUNAPEE REGION
Connecticut River near Lebanon Loop – The western side of this loop skirts the Connecticut River, the state border with Vermont, giving travelers a chance to skip across to the Green Mountain State for a stop at White River Junction or Norwich. On the New Hampshire side, enjoy a stop at Hanover, home of Dartmouth College (good burgers and bookstores). Consider stopping and stretching your legs on a walk along the Northern Recreational Rail Trail, which touches upon Lebanon and Enfield and Canaan, all part of the drive route. Enjoy views of the authentic Packard Hill (covered) Bridge in Lebanon. Route map.
Mount Monadnock Loop — The 3,165-foot-tall Mount Monadnock is the centerpiece of this trip. Monadnock State Park has excellent public services and many hiking trails that are accessible and enjoyable even to averagely fit climbers. A nice stop is at Stonewall Farm in Keene, offering farm tours, animals visits, and a farm store. Mountain biking and cross country skiing trails are open in season. Route map.