The Thrifty New England Traveler is a blog of VisitingNewEngland, a web site that features real New England travel stories told by a lifelong local.

Scenic Drives and Overlooks in New Hampshire’s Mt. Washington Valley

Jackson Covered Bridge, Jackson N.H. Photo by: Dan House/Wiseguy Creative

Jackson Covered Bridge, Jackson NH. Photo by: Dan House/Wiseguy Creative

The Mt. Washington Valley, of New Hampshire, offers amazing “peaks and valleys” scenery virtually no matter where you look. Arguably one of the best areas in New England to experience a scenic drive, we highly recommend vacationing in this area.

In sticking with the theme of “thrifty New England travel,”  scenic drives in the Mt. Washington are an affordable way to enjoy a vacation. With little more than a tank of gas, you’re sure to capture some instant memories along the way. Of course, other aspects of your Mt. Washington Valley vacation will cost money, but every little activity that saves you some dollars will help greatly toward meeting your personal travel budget. Scenics drives, no doubt, fall into that category. Many times, there is no cost to look at scenery!

On that note, we’d like to share with you a terrific press release, generated by the Mount Washington Valley Chamber of Commerce on the best scenic drives and overlooks in the Mt Washington Valley:

West Side Road
From Route 16 North in Conway, with an outlet in North Conway Village onto Route 16, or continue North to Route 302 in Bartlett. This country road takes you through farmland, past the White Horse and Cathedral Ledges, and along “pick-it-yourself” strawberry farms. The Bartlett section alone is worth the trip for views across the river and the Intervale.

Cathedral Ledge Road

From the North Conway-Bartlett section of West Side Road. Park at the top and walk out onto the ledge to see all of Mt. Washington Valley before you. This is one of those rare scenic overlooks that you can drive to!

Jackson Loop
From Route 16 North, go through the Jackson Covered Bridge to Route 16B. The road loops left just before Black Mountain, then goes left again down Carter Notch Road back to Jackson Village. Scenic spots include the picnic stop along Jackson Falls, and the New England Church and gazebo in Jackson Village.


From Route 16 in Conway, head east on Route 113 . You can continue south to Madison or turn left at the lake and go through Snowville. Crystal Lake with the little white New England, steeple church is one of the most often requested photos from this area. Take this scenic drive and capture your own photo to remember it by!

White Mountain Trail

Take Route 112( the Kancamagus Hwy) off Route 16 in Conway and follow New Hampshire’s only scenic by-way to Lincoln, NH. This is the ultimate in scenic. You’ll travel over 33 miles through the White Mountain National Forest, past waterfalls, mountain brooks and hiking trails. Keep a watchful eye out, as this is one of the best moose-watching locations! Continue on through Franconia Notch and hook up with Route 302 through Bretton Woods, Harts Location, Bartlett and back to North Conway. This is one of the only loops in the country that’s been designated as a scenic byway.

Mount Washington Valley in New Hampshire.. Photo by: Dan Houde/Wiseguy Creative

Mount Washington Valley NH. Photo by: Dan Houde/Wiseguy Creative

Bear Notch Road

Access from Route 302 in Bartlett and take over to Kancamagus Hwy or from the “Kanc” over to Route 302 in Bartlett. For some, this is considered a by-pass, for most it’s considered incredibly scenic. This is also a great location for moose-and-bear-spotting, particularly in the early morning or dusk hours.

The Notches- Pinkham Notch

(on Route 16, past Jackson); Crawford Notch (on Route 302, past Bartlett) and Evans Notch (from East Conway) Each of the notches offer scenic glory and ideal picture taking opportunities. Look for fabulous views of Mt. Washington from Pinkham Notch and gorgeous flowing waterfalls and rock formations at Crawford and Evans Notches.

The Scenic Overlook
-on Route 16/302, 3 miles north of North Conway Village – ideal views of Mt. Washington over the Intervale. Parking and traveler information available. To view the gorgeous red stand of trees on Route 16, stop right next to Four Your Paws Only, across from The pink Handcrafters Barn, on Route 16/302 – Every fall Mother Nature never fails us. This stand of trees offers a bright red backdrop to Cathedral Ledge in the background. It’s a traffic stopper!

The Jackson Bridge

– Route 16/16B at the entrance to Jackson Village – Dubbed “the Kissing Bridge” this quintessential New England Bridge offers a romantic photo opportunity.

Whether it’s spring, summer or fall, Mt. Washington Valley offers the ideal location for scenic drives. Don’t forget your camera, there are plenty of wonderful photo opportunities. If you time it right, you may even get a shot of some of New Hampshire’s most incredible wildlife including bald eagles, moose or bear!

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