October is officially here, and along with cooler weather, comes fall foliage season. Leaf peeping is a favorite past time of locals and visitors alike, and no matter what region of the state you are in, you are sure to see some beautifully colored trees and hillsides. Our friends over at VisitNH.Gov have some fantastic drives mapped out for you, some of which we are sharing today!
Lake Sunapee Region
You can start or end this circular loop in Greenfield, where you can join the Monadnock Region Loop.
From Greenfield, head north on Rt. 31 through Antrim and Hillsborough, past the Franklin Pierce Homestead (former home of the 14th U.S. President), through Windsor and Washington - which has one of the most beautiful village greens in New England - and past Pillsbury State Park.
Just south of Goshen, you'll join Rt. 10; continue on to Newport and Grantham, where you'll turn on to Springfield Road, then Rt. 114 to Springfield. The route winds south through New London (home of Colby-Sawyer College), Sutton, Bradford and Henniker (also a college town with New England College right in the center of town).
In Henniker, turn east on Rt. 202/9 to Hopkinton, where you'll pick up Jewel Rd./Rt. 13 through Goffstown to Rt. 136 (just north of New Boston), which leads back to Greenfield.
Mount Washington Valley & White Mountains
This loop has several variations. From Conway, turn west on Rt. 112, the Kancamagus Highway (locals call it the Kanc), which offers 34.5 miles of stunning mountain scenery through the White Mountain National Forest. In Lincoln, you can either turn north onto I-93 through Franconia Notch State Park and its soaring mountain peaks, then onto Rt. 3 to Twin Mountain and the junction with Rt. 302 or you can continue west on Rt. 112 through Kinsman Notch to Rt. 302, which heads to Bath, Lisbon, Littleton, Bethlehem, Twin Mountain and Bretton Woods, home of the Mount Washington Hotel. Rt. 302 continues east through Crawford Notch and past some of the most spectacular scenery in the East. In Bartlett, you can turn south on Bear Notch Road, a seasonal road that connects to the Kancamagus Highway west of Conway; or you can join Rt. 16 in Glen and follow it back to your starting point in Conway. If you turn north on Rt. 16 in Glen, you'll go through Pinkham Notch, past the Mt. Washington Auto Road, to Gorham and the Great North Woods Ride.
This ride follows the Connecticut River along the western border of New Hampshire from the junction of Rt. 9 in West Chesterfield to Littleton in the White Mountains.
From I-91 near the Vermont border, take Rt. 9 east to West Chesterfield; turn north on Main Street, which becomes River Road, and follow it north to the junction with Rt. 63. Again head north to Rt. 12, which will take you though picturesque Walpole. North of historic Charlestown, pick up Rt. 12A, which winds through a hilly landscape. Follow NH 12A North from Charlestown, and at the intersection of NH 12 and 12A follow NH 12 directly into downtown Claremont.
Take a left out of the Waypoint Center in Claremont and follow North Street to the intersection of NH 12. Follow NH 12 under the railroad trestle to the junction of NH 12 and NH 12A. Take NH 12A north past the Cornish-Windsor Bridge and Saint-Gaudens National Historic Site.
In Lebanon, take Rt. 10 north through Hanover, a beautiful college town, to Lyme and Orford- home of the Seven Swans, said to be the finest group of Federal-style houses in the United States.
Continue on to Haverhill and Woodsville, where you'll pick up Rt. 135. It joins Rt. 18 west of Littleton, a bustling town and great ending for a scenic ride, where you can join the Multi-Notch Mountain Ride.
Great North Woods Ride
Less populated, with many opportunities to see wildlife including moose, black bear and deer this section of New Hampshire is a must-see for nature lovers. From Gorham, go north on Rt. 16 to Berlin, a historic mill city.
Here you can start a loop by continuing on Rt. 16 through Milan and the beautiful Thirteen Mile Woods to Errol, where you'll turn west on Rt. 26 through Dixville Notch, past the famous Balsams Resort, to Colebrook; this stretch is curvaceous and spectacularly scenic.
At Colebrook, turn south on Rt. 3 and stop at the Shrine of our Lady of Grace ; then continue, following the winding Connecticut River.
In Groveton, turn east on Rt. 110 to Stark, famous for its picture-perfect covered bridge, and back to Berlin.