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Fall foliage update for Route 302 in New Hampshire

Updated with new information as of 30 Sept

I just received an update tonight from a photographer who traveled up Route 302 into the Crawford Notch  area.

Michelle Brenholtz says she traveled up Route 302 to the Willey House on Route 302 and from there to Bretton Woods, 302 is past peak with some bare trees!  She talked to the owners at Willey House gift shop and they said due to the early frost and Irene they peaked early. STILL GREEN, yes 302 is still green and hasn’t turned yet.
Well Michelle just came back from another trip up 302 and now feels it’s mostly green and just hasn’t turned yet. So the opinion that 302 had peaked already was premature! During the coming week we’ll see what develops there.
She also said she drove the Kanc and it was in great color if not peak.

As of today Michelle says “If you were to divide the mountains down the middle, the Eastern side is still turning (like from Bear Notch road East) and the Western side is moderate to near peak color (Bear Notch road to Twin Mountain to Franconia region). The best color on the Kanc is from 93 to the elevation sign. 93 north through Franconia Notch up 3 to Twin Mountain has great color. 302 from Twin Mountain to Bretton Woods has moderate color. Bretton Woods to Conway has light to moderate. Some vibrant patches but also a good amount of green. So maybe there will still be good color on Columbus day weekend”.

Here is a slideshow of Michelle’s trip in Northern NH from 302 to Franconia (Note these are only snap shots to give us an idea of what the color looked like in the northern NH region. There is an i in the upper right corner and if you click on that you can see details of the location. Again my thanks to Michelle Brenholtz for allowing me to use her images.

[flagallery gid=4 name=”Gallery”]

What does this mean to you and your plans?

In my opinion, I think we may find those areas at higher elevations might have gotten a harder frost than we thought and this is going to cause the leaves to drop fast.  I will keep an eye on my reports as they come across my desk and I will let you know here if I find any other areas.

Right now there is no reason to think this is going to be wide spread and it may be nothing more than the valley between Mt. Tom and Mt Jackson held the cold in and lowered the overnight temps to where the leaves peaked and are dropping now. This does happen if we get a frost that is too cold.

Groton State Park VT area Report

Taken by Eyal Oren photographer of Owls Head

Taken by Eyal Oren photographer of Owls Head

Now to show that this is not wide spread. another photographer, Eyal Oren who is a photographer in Marblehead sent me these shots from just over the border in Vermont with a view from Owls Head. As you can see this area hasn’t really gotten to peak yet.

You can see on the map below Mother Nature is teasing us… And the one thing you can say about her is she’s never predictable…

View Larger Map

Remember! I do not want you to be in a panic over this but I do want you to be forewarned.

Escape today

Jeff Foliage
Vistaphotography Art and Stock photography

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Jeff Foliage

My name is Jeff Folger,
but people call me Jeff Foliage.
I have several pages that I write blogs for such as:
My most popular blog is for Leaf peepers: Jeff
I live in Salem, Massachusetts and work as a blogger and Travel Photographer. I'm also the founder of the New England Photography Guild.
Feel free to visit me on my blogs and see what life in New England is like.

I started with Yankee Magazine as their first blogger on everything fall foliage. Now I blog on my own blog on my favorite subject, telling leaf peepers where the fall foliage is showing up in New England and helping them (to some extent) plan their fall foliage vacations.
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*HOT* Fall foliage update for Route 302 in New Hampshire — 10 Comments

  1. Jim-
    Rt 302 provides a nice cut through the Groton State Forest. Lots of ponds to hit along the way. The Owl’s Head Overlook is just past kettle pond. There is a gate on the road that is unlocked around 9am and stays open until sunset. You drive up and park then hike up (5 minutes, easy but uphill) to reach the overlook.
    Hope that helps.

  2. I am sorry you had such a rainy day today. 🙁 I posted some pics from yesterday on my facebook. I haven’t added them to flickr yet because I am working on a zenfolio account. Anyway…I got great color yesterday with the stormy skies.

    As for the Willey house people and their forcast, I agree with you. I had said to them that I thought maybe more color would be coming in and that is when they told me it was past peak. So I believed them. And when I looked at it with the bright sun, you couldn’t see the green so well and the color was dull.

    I know you rely on these reports and that is why I felt bad. That is also why I re-drove the route two days later in opposite direction. Because it always looks better going the opposite way. When you go back on the radio, just let them know we were misinformed. Again…I am sorry.

    I can’t go out until the week gets here. My Granpa’s funeral is tomorrow and my Mom will be coming in town Wednesday. We will be leaf peeping the entire time she is here. I will try to get back up to the mountains Tuesday. I really want to check out Bethlehem and Littleton since I haven’t been there yet.

    Do you have any summit/Mountain top recommendations?

    • Hi Michelle,

      For mountains, the ‘easy’ ones are wildcat and cannon, which have summit goldola rides to great views. Loon and Attitash may still be running their summer summit lifts as well, but I like the views from Cannon and Wildcat.

      Driveable mountains are prospect, cathedral ledge and washington.

      Easy hikes with great views are black cap in North Conway, Artists bluff in Franconia, Pine Mountain from Dolly Copp, and Square Ledge in Pinkham Notch.

      A little bigger hikes would include Mount Willard and Mount Crawford in Crawford Notch, Boulder Loop and Mount Hedgehog off the Kank, and Welsh and Dickey near Waterville.

      And…when the leaves advance a bit further south…don’t forget the drive to Castle in the Clouds in Moultonborough, and the hike to the Rattlesnakes above squam!

  3. Sorry…:( You saw the picture I took that day when I thought it was past peak. It looked that way. I think I would just rather not report in the future. The sun had a lot to do with it. Now we have rain and such which always makes the color look vibrant. So I feel a lot of it is how the weather turns out. I truly didn’t mean to give the wrong information. And I feel my pictures have given accurate info. All except that section of 302. My apologies.

    • Well Michelle, I’ve been doing this for years and even today Lisa and I were arguing over the color we were or weren’t seeing up north of Franconia.

      I don’t mean for you to feel bad about the call and it’s just one of those things. I should have waited until someone else came through there to back you up.. But with the story the owners at the Willey House told you, I considered it verified. I mean who should know that area but those who see it all year long…
      It happens and you move on. I looked at that picture and I should have looked at it harder as you can see a bunch of green trees in there and that was my fault for getting over anxious… I even said it on the radio… so I have that to deal with..
      But we make the best calls we can and that is all we can do…
      Thank you for your input now get back out on the road!!!

  4. Jeff,
    As always, you are the best source for up-to-date foliage reports! Thanks so much for all you do to help each of us enjoy fall in New England. We leave on Monday for Manchester and then have 9 glorious days before we have to come back to the desert!

    Kathy and Tyler

    • Well the problem with relying on other photographers to do some of my driving, they sometimes get it wrong… Michelle now tells me that this section of 302 is still mostly green and she thinks the owners of the Willey House were wrong… Always pays to do my own driving… Well I go out tomorrow and that will help…

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