As early as mid-September, the first signs of leaves tinged with color nudge into view in New Hampshire’s Great North Woods. Learn more, plus our picks for the region’s best scenic route, photo op, fun for kids, and where to eat and shop.
By Yankee Magazine
Aug 13 2018
Though Route 3—New Hampshire’s so-called “Moose Alley”—may be the better-known North Country drive, Route 145 also has plenty to offer leaf peepers, as seen in this roadside shot taken near Clarksville.Photo Credit : Jim Salge
New Hampshire’s Great North Woods is a place for beginnings.As early as mid-September, the first signs of leaves tinged with color nudge into view along mountain ridges and the waterways that thread through the forested villages. Famously, this is where the mighty Connecticut River begins its 410-mile journey to the sea from a remote beaver pond just a few hundred yards from Canada. The towns are small and inviting, from Lancaster, then north to Colebrook, and beyond to Pittsburg. Here, wilderness sporting lodges that have attracted outdoors lovers for generations stand along shorelines, and a native’s prowess with a paddle and a fishing rod is a birthright. Hikers set off along the 170 miles of the Cohos Trail, and ATV enthusiasts explore over 1,000 miles of backcountry trails. This is a region of twisting two-lane roads, with the promise of moose around every bend—and when one emerges, you know you will remember this. It’s where scarlet-and-orange-drenched trees rim the Swiss-like Lake Gloriette in Dixville Notch, and where a logging museum in Berlin awakens an echo of the frontier legacy of river drives and the men who steered the lumber to the pulp mills. The North Country may be a place for beginnings, but when loons cry and eagles soar over the water, and you listen to the slap of fish on the lake, a love of the wild will come over you, one that may never end. —Mel AllenLearn more in “Peak Perfection,” our guide to where to find peak foliage color in New England from mid-September until the end of October.
Scenic RouteDrive slowly with open windows north from Colebrook to Pittsburg on Route 145, a National Scenic Byway, and soak in views of water, mountains, forest, and possibly moose.
Photo OpAt Beaver Brook Falls in Colebrook, water tumbles 80 feet over rocks, while evergreens and hardwoods lush with color frame every shot. nhstateparks.org
Refueling StopThe Rainbow Grille & Tavern at Tall Timber Lodge in Pittsburg shows that sporting camps that thrive after 70-plus years know how to please hungry anglers and foliage day-trippers. talltimber.com
Fun for KidsOn an ELC Outdoors pontoon boat tour of beautiful Lake Umbagog, kids will likely spy eagles, ospreys, and (if lucky) black bears at play. elcoutdoors.com
Shopping BreakJust north of the Lancaster Fairgrounds on Route 3, Potato Barn Antiques stuffs an impressive array of vintage wares into (you guessed it) a 7,500-square-foot former potato barn.potatobarnantiques.com