Nestled in the heart of the White Mountains, the little village of Franconia is one of New Hampshire's hidden gems. No matter what the time of year, the surrounding mountains are undoubtedly the biggest attraction; visitors can swim in the beautiful Echo Lake, zip up to the top of Cannon Mountain in an aerial tramway, or hike through the magnificent Flume Gorge in Franconia Notch State Park. When you've had enough of the great outdoors for the day, you can stop by one of the town's cozy English-style pubs for a hearty meal and a cold drink.

1. Flume Gorge

Flume Gorge
© National Parked/

Stretching for approximately 800 feet along the base of Mount Liberty, the Flume Gorge is a breathtaking natural chasm that was carved out by Flume Brook. A boardwalk leads hikers through the gorge, passing through covered bridges and alongside beautiful waterfalls, and there's the option to extend your walk into a two-mile loop. Children can also crawl through the "Wolf Den", a narrow path that requires you to squeeze through cave-like rocks. Visitors are welcome to come explore the gorge between May 10th and October 20th, and the admission fee also includes access to a Visitor's Center with plenty of educational exhibits.

852 Daniel Webster Highway, Franconia, NH 03251, Phone: 603-745-8391

2. Franconia Notch State Park, Franconia, New Hampshire

Franconia Notch State Park, Franconia, New Hampshire
© Jörn/

Tucked away in the heart of the White Mountains, Franconia Notch State Park stretches from Echo Lake to Flume Gorge, and it's a wonderful destination for outdoor recreation. The lake is perfect for swimming and boating in the summer, and canoes and paddle boats can be rented on-site. Visitors who would rather stay on dry land can cycle along the Franconia Notch Bike Path or visit the beautiful Flume Gorge, and if you want to spend the night in the park, there are also several small campgrounds, including one right on the shore of Echo Lake.

260 Tramway Dr, Franconia, NH 03580-4402, Phone: 603-823-8800

3. Cannon Mountain, Franconia, New Hampshire

Cannon Mountain, Franconia, New Hampshire
© Barnickel Studios/

Formerly known as Profile Mountain, Cannon Mountain is a majestic 4,080-foot peak known for its excellent skiing, rock climbing, and ice climbing. The impressive Cannon Cliff is the Northeast's largest vertical rock face, but if you're not a rock climber, you might want to stick to the hiking trails that meander around the mountain and up to the summit, where you'll find a well-maintained observation platform. An aerial tramway is available to take visitors up to the summit as well, and after admiring the view, you can descend to Echo Lake to go for a swim or a relaxing paddle.

260 Tramway Drive Franconia, NH 03580, Phone: 603-823-8800

4. Old Man of the Mountain Profile Plaza, Franconia, New Hampshire

Old Man of the Mountain Profile Plaza, Franconia, New Hampshire
© Old Man of the Mountain Profile Plaza

The Old Man of the Mountain was one of New Hampshire's most iconic landmarks until it collapsed in 2003, and although the original rock profile can no longer be seen, the Old Man of the Mountain Profile Plaza was created to pay tribute to the incredible formation. A viewing platform overlooks the now featureless cliff face, and visitors can see historic photos and informative exhibits in the on-site Visitor's Center. As an additional special touch, the plaza also features a unique art installation that allows visitors to see how the Old Man appeared before the cliff collapsed.

Franconia, NH 03580, Phone: 603-823-8800

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5. The Frost Place, Franconia, NH

The Frost Place, Franconia, NH
© The Frost Place

Housed inside a historic farmhouse that was inhabited by the famous poet Robert Frost between 1915 and 1920, The Frost Place is a nonprofit center proudly dedicated to the art of poetry. Part of the house is used as a private writing retreat for emerging poets, but the other part has been converted into a small museum that offers a nostalgic look at Frost's life and work. Visitors are also welcome to stroll along the half-mile nature trail meandering through the property, which is dotted with plaques displaying poems Frost wrote during his time here.

158 Ridge Rd, Franconia, NH 03580, Phone: 603-823-5510

6. New England Ski Museum, Franconia, NH

New England Ski Museum, Franconia, NH
© New England Ski Museum

A significant part of America's ski history took place in Franconia and the surrounding area, so it's no surprise that the New England Ski Museum was established here in 1977. This small but fascinating museum tells the story of the development of skiing in the United States, and the collection features hundreds of historic skis, ski boots, and ski posters, many of which can be seen in the museum's temporary and permanent exhibits. Museum admission is free, and visitors can also pick up a reproduction vintage ski poster or a DVD copy of an old ski film in the gift shop.

135 Tramway Dr, Franconia, NH 03580, Phone: 603-823-7177

7. Franconia Notch Recreation Path, Franconia, NH

Franconia Notch Recreation Path, Franconia, NH
© Zack Frank/

If you want to explore the Franconia Notch State Park on foot or by bicycle, there's no better way to do so than the Franconia Notch Recreation Path, which runs for 8.7 miles along the entire length of the park. The paved trail offers endless spectacular views of the surrounding White Mountains, but it also provides access to most of the park's main attractions, including Echo Lake and the Flume Gorge. Most visitors choose to come during the summer and fall, but the trail is open year-round, and cross-country skiers, snowmobilers, and snowshoers are welcome during the winter.

260 Tramway Dr, Franconia, NH 03580-4402

8. Horse and Hounds Inn, Franconia, NH

Horse and Hounds Inn, Franconia, NH
© Horse and Hounds Inn

Modeled after a traditional English country club, the Horse and Hounds Inn has been one of Franconia's most popular après-ski spots since it was built in the mid-1940s. The wood-paneled dining room serves delicious food made with locally sourced ingredients, and the menu changes weekly to showcase the best ingredients the area has to offer. During the summer, guests can also dine outside on the terrace, which offers spectacular views of the landscaped lawn. If you want to spend the night, you can also book one of the inn's eight cozy rooms, all of which come with a complimentary breakfast.

205 Wells Rd, Franconia, NH 03580, Phone: 603-823-5501

9. Franconia Inn, Franconia, New Hampshire

Franconia Inn, Franconia, New Hampshire
© Franconia Inn

Constructed in the late 1930s, the Franconia Inn is a three-story colonial inn surrounded by the breathtaking beauty of the White Mountains. The property offers plenty of excellent hiking and cross-country skiing trails for visitors to enjoy, and the elegant dining room serves as the property's social hub, welcoming anyone who wants to come enjoy a dinner of gourmet American cuisine by candlelight. The inn also offers 35 charming rooms and suites, and guests who stay the night will have access to amenities like an outdoor hot tub, a games room, and a seasonal swimming pool.

1172 Easton Rd, Franconia, NH 03580, Phone: 603-823-5542

10. Lovetts Inn, Franconia, NH

Lovetts Inn, Franconia, NH
© Lovetts Inn

Formerly known as the Lafayette Brook Farm, Lovetts Inn is a welcoming country inn with a full-service pub and restaurant. The family-friendly dining room features a cozy fireplace, and the menu features tasty home-cooked dinners made by one of the owners, who focuses on using fresh, seasonal ingredients whenever possible. Both the pub and restaurant are open Wednesday through Sunday, and live music is held in the pub every Saturday evening. The space can be booked for weddings and other special events, and the grounds feature a heated pool and access to miles of beautiful trails.

1474 Profile Rd, Franconia, NH 03580, Phone: 603-823-7761

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11. Cannon Mountain Aerial Tramway

Cannon Mountain Aerial Tramway
© jiawangkun/

Located in the heart of the beautiful Franconia Notch State Park, the Cannon Mountain Aerial Tramway provides visitors with a birds-eye view of one of New Hampshire’s most scenic landscapes. The Cannon Mountain Aerial Tramway was the first of its kind in America when it opened in 1938. Now, more than 80 years later it is still providing millions of visitors with a safe and scenic ride to the top of Cannon Mountain. The two tram cars take around 8 minutes to reach the summit and from there you can follow a hiking trail to the summit observation tower. In winter thousands of skiers use the Tramway to reach 97 trails and ski slopes for all ability levels.

Cannon Mountain Aerial Tramway, 260 Tramway Drive, Franconia, NH 03580, 603 823 8800

12. Besaw Iron Furnace Interpretive Center

Besaw Iron Furnace Interpretive Center
© ranconia Heritage Museum

A 32’ octagonal stone tower is all than now remains of the once-prosperous New Hampshire Iron Factory Company. The blast furnace tower dates back to the early 1800’s and was shown on an 1805 map of Franconia. Originally the tower was surrounded by a shed, which was destroyed in a fire. Visitors to the interpretive Center can view of model of the blast furnace and the original shed and see an iron cart, kettle, stove, tools and interpretive panels which tell the story of the process used to smelt iron ore. Visitors may view the interesting tower from across the river but unfortunately, you may not visit the actual tower as there is a danger of falling rocks.

Besaw Iron Furnace Interpretive Center, 421 Main Street, Franconia, NH 03580

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Attraction Spotlight: Hobo Railroad

The Hobo Railroad transports passengers through some of the most beautiful scenery of New Hampshire. The train ride travels along a wooded natural setting, only a few minutes from the wonderful Franconia Notch State Park along the winding Pemigewasset River. The train journey is based out of the town of Lincoln in New Hampshire, located on the scenic Kancamgus Highway’s western end. A relaxing ride on the Hobo Railroad offers locals and visitors alike an opportunity to sit back and wave to kayakers and swimmers as the train passes by, or delight in a delicious Hobo Picnic Lunch eaten aboard the train.

The Hobo Railroad was voted by New Hampshire Magazine as the “Best Ride for Kids.” The railroad is not just a simple ride aboard a train, it’s a fun attraction for the entire family, complete with scheduled entertainment. The Hobo Railroad is actually consisted of two different heritage railroads situated within the central area of the state of New Hampshire. One such railroad is located in the town of Lincoln, which provides excursions trains for passengers through the state’s beautiful White Mountains. The other heritage railroad is based out of the town of Meredith, and journeys through the Lakes Region of New Hampshire.

The Plymouth and Lincoln Railroad was established in the year 1986. The railroad was founded with the idea in mind of operating a railroad and theme park out of the New Hampshire town of Lincoln. The owners of this railroad were Edward and Brenda Clark. Trains have been in operation between the towns of Woodstock and Lincoln, a distance of about seven miles, ever since. Edward Clark and his wife are relatives of the Clark family that own and operate Clark’s Trading Post, which has been in icon of the White Mountains for more than eighty years.

The Hobo Railroad now possesses the passengers right for the track owned by the state of New Hampshire in its entirety from the town of Lincoln to the town of Tilton, which if fifty-four miles in total. With this expansive increase in track mileage, the Hobo Railroad is able to offer several different excursion trains for passengers, allowing visitors and locals alike the chance to see more of New Hampshire’s beautiful scenery. The state of New Hampshire owns an additional nineteen miles of railroad track from Concord to Tilton that is used for freight customers by the New England Southern Railroad.

Some of the most scenic and diverse foliage trains in the entire New England region are offered by the Hobo Railroad, whether the train ride is through the mountains along the Pemigewasset River or lakeside. A train journey to see the beautiful foliage of New England is always a great idea in the autumn season. The Hobo Railroad’s fall foliage trains have become increasingly more popular since the year 2003 thanks to an increase in promotion. The railroad also greatly benefits from being located only about an hour and thirty minutes away from Boston.

64 Railroad Street, Lincoln, New Hampshire, Phone: 603-745-2135

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