edsanders.com - From Lancaster NH to North Conway, New Hampshire

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Road-Trip Index
North Conway is a real tourist trap and outlet store town. The traffic there is absolutely horrible in the summer, fall foilage and ski seasons. Therefore I don't recommend going there during these times. The best times to go road-tripping to North Conway is when the regular tourists are elsewhere... from after ski season to Memorial Day weekend, from after labor day and before the foliage season, and after foliage, before ski season. Road-tripping means you want to enjoy the roads! How can you do so when they're clogged with "normal" tourists?

There are several ways to get to North Conway from Lancaster. All are very scenic.

What you'll see along the way

Often you can see moose about 4 miles south of Lancaster on the bend following the entrance to the White Mountains Regional High School. Slow down! I've seen two moose/car collisions near there. One morning I passed a Lotta-Rock Dairy truck there. They were just connecting it to a wrecker to tow its remains off. It was a quite large truck, and the front was rather well stove in. They were also loading a large moose carcass onto a trailer.

A few weeks later I came upon another moose body being winched onto another trailer, and the wrecked car waiting to be towed that had hit it. An ambulance was leaving with the human victims. This was about 500 yards south of the truck/moose collision.

There had been another moose hit shortly before about a mile south of these two. I didn't see what happened, but heard about it and saw the large blood spot in the road. You can learn more about moose here.

Following "moose alley", you'll pass the Weathervane Theater on the right.

Just after you turn on Route 3 south in Whitefield, watch on the left for the last moving ball railroad signal in the country on the left. You'll see another interesting railroad signal looking back over the old train station building. There's usually something interesting looking across the river as there are some cabooses being restored as well as some other railroad equipment.

Look to the left as you climb the hill out of Whitefield. There's a beautiful view of the Presidential Mountain Range.

A few miles after you leave Twin Mountain on route 302 you'll come to Bretton Woods and the Mount Washington Hotel. The Mount Washington Hotel was where the International Monetary Conference was held over 50 years ago that set into motion the way finance is dealt with internationally to this day. There is an incredible view of the hotel with majestic Mount Washington as a backdrop.

About 2 miles farther down the road is the entrance to Crawford Notch. You can look at a map of the Crawford Notch Hiking Trails. The word "Notch is explained in the Coos County Glossary

The notch is very steep, so go slow. There are mony places to pull off and look at the view or to take a short hike on one of the many trails.

You'll pass the Flume and Silver Cascades, Saco Lake, Frankenstein Cliff, Breakneck Brook, Sleeper Brook, Bemis Brook, and a lot of other interesting sights.

You'll notice the train tracks through the notch and several trestles. It's in this notch that a moose derailed a locomotive by charging it head on a few years ago. The moose even staggered off a ways before dieing.

After you leave the notch you'll pass through the town of Bartlett and by the north end of the Bear Notch Road. Next you'll go By Attitash Ski area on your right.

Continue on to North Conway. Here you'll find all kinds of outlet stores and touristy type stuff. There's the Conway Scenic Railway in the middle of town if you want to go for a ride on the rails. There are two mountain climbing equipment stores in North Conway where I buy all my stuff.

Cathedral Ledge is just outside of North Conway off West Side Road. Really good climbing. There's a road to the top, open after the snow melts.

When you're done in North Conway, you can head north again on route 302 and 16. A few miles after leaving North Conway, take a right and head north on Route 16 through Pinkham Notch. You'll pass Storyland and Heritage New Hampshire on the right.

In a few more miles after cresting the top of the notch, you'll see a great view to the left of Tuckerman Ravine, where people lug up their skis on their back and ski into the late spring and early summer. A few come out via body bags.

Next you'll pass the entrance to the Mount Washington Auto Road. This is only open in the summer, and is well worth the trip.

At the bottom of the notch you come to the intersection of route 2, taking a left will lead you back to Lancaster. You're in the town of Gorham which has the usual junk food and fast food establishments and some restaurants. Look on the left by the intersection and you'll find an interesting steam engine and the beginning of a museum, as well as a playground.

After passing through Gorham, take a left on Route 2 West and head up Gorham Hill to Lancaster.

On the way you'll pass Six Gun City and Santa's Village. There are some great views across Jefferson Meadows of the Presidential Range.

A warmup Challenge!

If you want a real challenge and a beautiful drive (if you don't get lost), you can try following these directions: Only try this after mud season and before snow, the road I'm going to send you on is closed in the winter and becomes a snowmobile trail.

Other things to see in the area.

Road-Trip Index

If you haven't clicked to them already, be sure to check out some of my other web sites: www.greatnorthwoods.org and www.allroutes.to .

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Copyright 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000 by Ed Sanders.