I’m writing this as a Fall foliage trip but in reality, could be done from Spring to fall. This route takes you from New Hampshire’s Lake Chocorua, up Route 16 to the Mount Washington Auto Road. The trip is about 68 miles long but even such a short trip if done right will take all day to get back to Lake Chocorua.
I recommend this in the early Oct period as the fall colors will just be coming into their fiery peak colors. Also if you stop at every point you will find this a very long day!
I started this day early and I drove up Route 16 to Lake Chocorua. I continued up 16 to Conway and instead of going up Route 16 into North Conway (where all the outlet shopping is) I took the first turn onto Route 113 and stopped at the two covered bridges (Saco River covered bridge (SB) comes up first).
Saco and Swift river covered bridges
Park when you see the triangle of green space on the right). I got out here and photographed the Saco covered bridge. I then drove another 100 yards to the parking lot of the Swift river (SR) covered bridge.
I climbed down the embankment below the bridge from the parking lot for a different view of the (SR) bridge. Also, you can look down river from the Saco CB and photograph the Swiftriver CB.
Now you can continue on Route 113 until it joins with 16 again and stay to the left on West side road. You will travel 8.5 miles up west side road till your first photo OP.
Echo lake Rd is on your left and you can turn in here to see what the fall colors are like. Cathedral Ledge sits on the far side of the lake and can be very pretty.
Reset your trip counter here and continue up the west side road for 1/4 mile and you come to a T intersection, make a left. After a mile from Echo Lake road, you will have Cathedral Ledge road on the left. Take this and drive it to the top and park where everyone else is. (yes get out and walk) 🙂
You can look out on Conway and then Pinkham Notch to the north and get an idea of what the fall color looks like from a distance. If you sit there long enough you can hear the whistle of the train leaving North Conway.
Next, you drive back down the hill to West side rd. Make a left and under a mile on the left, you will see a sign for Diana’s Baths which is a series of water falls and depressions in the rocks which form pools.
It’s a short easy walk from the car to the start of the pools. The climb up is not tough but be careful on the rocks as I fell there once (Story is told only over a beer) 🙂
Bartlett covered bridge
You get back on West side Rd and travel about 4 miles and you will come to Route 302 and Bartlett NH. Turn right onto 302 and you will find the Bartlett covered bridge is just up on the left. Be warned they turned the covered bridge into a gift shop but other than that it’s a nice stop.
Continue east on 302 until you come to the junction of Route 16 and 302. You will make a left onto Route 16.
Jackson covered bridge
About 2.2 miles up on the right you will see the turn off of 16A. This short loop runs through Jackson NH. The first thing you will see is the Jackson covered bridge (No 51) which is also called the Honeymoon bridge.
Ravenwood curio shop
Jackson is a beautiful little village and you could easily spend a day here exploring. The one place I always stop at is Ravenwood curio shop (next to the fire station).
You stay on 16A and you will come back on Route 16 (make a right) and your next 9 miles will be filled with short foliage views (lots of trees and hills) with several B&B’s,
Pinkham notch pull out
You will travel a few more miles when you get to the “real” hills. You will find in a few areas of this section of Route 16, that there are some really wide sides to the road and you can pull off to the side and park. You can look up and down the valley not to mention the sides of the valley walls surrounding you.
Joe Dodge lodge
You travel another 2 miles and on the left is the Joe Dodge Lodge where this trip turns around. There are many trails to get out of the car and investigate. I turned the truck around and headed home at this point but if you are still wanting a little more??? Here is my Article that will take you north from Pinkham Notch to Rangeley Maine. (click)
The Mt Washington auto road
You continue up the road for another mile and on the left will be the Mount Washington Auto Road. It’s hard to miss the auto road pull off between the signs and the big mountain.
This side trip isn’t for the faint of heart. Driving all the way to the top is an awesome experience and a good way to test your brakes and nerves on the way down. If you have any doubts about your brakes? Take the cog rail to the top instead.
Wear good hiking shoes and wear layers for hiking. The weather can turn quickly so in the AMC trail areas make sure you either go with a guide or file a plan with the ranger station.Jeff "Foliage" Folger You can purchase images by visiting my Fine Art Gallery websites
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I live in Salem, Massachusetts and work as a blogger and Travel Photographer. I'm also the founder of the New England Photography Guild.
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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.