Explore the Kancamagus Highway

Another post in our series of White Mountain Day Trips –
Driving Time from Stonehurst Manor: 52 min
Total Trip Time: 1-2 hrs

What is the Kancamagus Highway?

The Kancamagus Highway, is a 34.5 mile scenic drive along NH’s Rt. 112 in Northern New Hampshire that is well known as one of the best Fall Foliage viewing areas in the country. The Kancamagus Highway is now designated an American Scenic Byway for its rich history, aesthetic beauty and culture.

History of the Kancamagus Highway

The Kancamagus Highway is rich in history that dates back to the Indian Tribes of the 1600’s. Along the Kancamagus Highway you will find informational postings about the area you are visiting.

The Kancamagus Highway started as two small town roads. One in Lincoln, NH and the other in Passaconaway. The road to Passaconaway was completed in the year 1837. 100 years later in 1937, these two town roads were extended in both directions, East and West from Passaconaway and from Lincoln and were connected. The Kancamagus Highway opened 22 years later to through traffic in 1959. The Kanc celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2009.

Where is the highway?

The Kancamagus Scenic Byway takes you through a path cut through the White Mountain National Forest with breathtaking views of the White Mountains, the Swift River, Sabbaday Falls, Lower Falls and Rocky Gorge. The Kanc takes you to an elevation of just under 3,000 feet at its highest point at Kancamagus Pass on the flank of Mt. Kancamagus near Lincoln, NH.

Begin your journey at the area start of the Kanc just a short drive from the Stonehurst Manor in Conway and head West. Travel to the highest point for some amazing views. Make a day of it by continuing your westerly travel to Lincoln then head north and return via Route 302 through Crawford Notch. You can shorten your return trip by retracing your path from the highest point then watch for a left turn onto Bear Notch Road, another scenic drive connecting to Route 302. Head east at the intersection in Bartlett Village to return to the Manor.

When is the best time to travel the highway?

For most, Autumn is the finest time to travel the historic byway. The modern world has not ruined the beautiful countryside so you won’t find any gas stations, restaurants or hotels along its winding path obstructing your view. The water level is often low enough in the fall to allow for some rock hopping or a spot to stop and enjoy the view. Traveling the highway is truly like taking a step back in time allowing you to appreciate the scenic beauty of the White Mountains.

Enjoy the wilderness and explore the forest on the numerous Hiking Trails along the way through the White Mountain National Forest. A highly recommended way to spend your day while visiting the Stonehurst Manor, a historic boutique hotel.

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