Have you taken the Route 16 Scenic Drive?
Many people have taken the Route 16 Scenic Drive but I bet few have taken it from its beginning in NH and followed all the way to Maine. I don’t think I’ve done the entire length in a day! I have started out on it but I usually get sidetracked. today , I’m only writing about the northern most section, so you will find links to other articles I’ve written about Route 16…
In researching this, I noted that I’ve taken Route 16 as far as Rangeley Lake in Maine but not much past that to the East. If you check your maps, you could take Route 16 almost all the way to the Maine shoreline.
In past years, I have written about Route 16 as one of my favorite go to routes to get north up into the White Mountains. I have mentioned that from Tamworth south, it reminds me of Route 66 of song and legend.
Once you arrive in Tamworth NH you have Lake and Mount Chocorua and from there north you can proceed to North Conway (both scenic and tax free!) At this point I’ll let you read my article on Lake Chocorua to Pinkham Notch.
Today I’m going to take you from Pinkham Notch up to Errol New Hampshire and over into Maine. As always, you can get from Pinkham Notch up and over into Maine in a matter of several hours (2.8 according to Google or less if you push it) but I suggest you start early and plan to arrive in Rangeley Lake Maine in time for Dinner. (yes, 8 hours)
Pinkham Notch, Glen Ellis Falls, and trails…
We’ll pick up where I left off, with Pinkham Notch. As you come up Route 16 from Jackson, you will come to a wide turn out where many cars can pull over and there is an excellent view down the valley towards Conway. (as seen above)
As we continue north, you will find Mount Washington on your left and a turn to the left will bring you to the Mount Washington auto road.
Be warned there are no guard rails but taking a drive to the top of Mount Washington is exhilarating. Take a look around from the highest point in New Hampshire, but remember it’s often snowing or cold at the top so dress accordingly. There is a reason they have justly earned the title of the place with the worst weather in the US.
Back on the road, you will come to another turn-off and signage for the Glen Ellis Falls. (it’s not far on the left) This is a nice stretch of the legs and not difficult and you can walk around the top of the falls and take steps down to where the falls drop into.
Wild Cat Mountain
Wild Cat is a ski area and if you want a really incredible view, you take a gondola ride to the top. From here till you arrive in Gorham NH, you will have several trail opportunities to get out and explore.
Once you arrive in Gorham NH, and just before you turn left on Route 2 west, you will have the opportunity to play with some trains. (Gorham Rail Station museum)
They have steam and diesel engines/cars on the sidings. If you are not interested in trains, head back on 16 to Route 2 and head west by North. (We still have a ways to go). You’ll parallel the Androscoggin River for quite a while and soon you’ll be in the town of Berlin. (Do not pronounce it like a certain city in Germany)… It’s more like a one syllable version. (emphasis on the Ber and not the lin).
On the far side of Berlin, if you are now hungry, you can stop at the Northland Restaurant & Dairy bar. They are a nice sit down restaurant and I make it a point to stop in every time I’m up that way. I had a buffalo blue cheese burger there one time and it was one of the best ones I’ve had…
Milan fire tower
Back on Route 16, you will have another chance for a spectacular scenic view. Just read this article on Milan and its fire tower.
We now will continue to head north, yes we are still heading north; you didn’t think it was going to be this long of a trip? Well, we have a few more hours to go…
Now you arrive in the little town of Errol. There is not much of the quaint village here but more like a feeling of an Alaskan gold town, or the like. Route 16 will join with Route 26 and as you come to the stop light (last one for a while) I will note that you can take a side trip west on 26 and visit Dixville Notch and the Balsams resort on the lake. Or head east on 16 but watch the road because in a short distance 16 and 26 split off and you are heading north, again…
Before you know it, you will be in Maine. The countryside is sparsely inhabited but you’ll run into a farm here or there and scenes of beautiful hills covered in fall colors as far as the eye can see. Your eyes may be watering from all the fall colors or maybe it’s just from being on the road for too many hours…
Now you arrive in Rangeley and this is a larger town in comparison to Errol and Lisa and I stayed there at The Rangeley Inn and Tavern Instead of rewriting our write up of this inn, I’m going to send you to our other blog (The Four Corners of New England) and let you read “Dollars to donuts in Northern Maine“… (yes it’s on a different blog so be sure to come back here!)
That trip, as you will read, started up in Greenville Maine and came down to Rangeley and was quite the trip. If you leave Rangeley tomorrow or the next day and head south on Route 17, keep your eyes open for the Height of land and then after that Coos Canyon which is another must stop destination heading south. (Coos Canyon Maine article)
This is my Route 16 scenic drive in it’s entirety from I-95 in New Hampshire to Rangeley Maine.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.