Franconia Notch State Park – Cannon Mountain Area – Franconia, NH

Last Visited:  July 2013

What to do here:  Cannon Mountain has got something to do whatever part of the year you’re up there to visit.  From hiking and swimming in the summer, skiing in the winter or enjoying the amazing foliage views in the fall there is almost always something to do here:

  • Skiing:  Cannon Mountain is a large full service ski resort with some of the most challenging terrain in New Hampshire.  Cannon is also home to one of two tram lifts left in New England and is often a lot less crowded than Loon Mountain just down the road.  For updated conditions and more information please visit the ski resort website.
  • Hiking:  Cannon Mountain makes for a wonderful hike when the snow melts too.  With a 2,100 foot climb to the top hiking the Ridge Trail from the tram parking lot this is a physically demanding hike with great views of Franconia Notch and the White Mountains making a great reward as you get towards the top of the mountain.  Please note that this is a physically demanding hike, you should always hike with a friend and that it’s always a good idea to check the weather and ensure you have ample time to make the trip as well.
    White Mountain view from Cannon Mountain.

    White Mountain view from Cannon Mountain.

    • Swimming:  Swimming is permitted at the beach area for Echo Lake from the middle of June to September.  It is a lovely view, however the water can get a little cold so be prepared!
    • Non-Motorized Boating: Non-motorized boating is permitted on Echo Lake and Lonesome Lake which are both located in the heart of Franconia Notch at the same exit as Cannon Mountain Ski area.
    Autumn view of Echo Lake from Ridge Trail up Cannon Mountain.

    Autumn view of Echo Lake from Ridge Trail up Cannon Mountain.

    • Fishing:  Fishing is permitted with a state permit, available through the New Hampshire State Department of Fish & Game.
    • Bicycling:  There is a bike path through Franconia Notch that runs the length of Franconia Notch and has wonderful panoramic views of the Franconia Notch throughout.  For more information about the bike path please use the following link.  Bikes are also available to rent at Cannon Mountain in the summer.  Please go the following website for more information on renting bikes.
    • Camping:  There is camping available Franconia Notch State Park and spaces for recreational vehicles as well.  For more information and reservations please go their reservation website for camping or RV spaces.
    • Outdoor lodging:  The Appalachian Mountain Club’s Lonesome Lake Hut is also situated in Franconia Notch.  It is a relatively short hike from the Visitor Center and provides a delightful lodging and outdoor experience on the shores of Lonesome Lake.  The AMC Website has more information.
    View of Franconia Notch from Lonesome Lake Hut

    View of Franconia Notch from Lonesome Lake Hut

    • Tram Rides:  Cannon Mountain’s famous ski tram is available for rides in the summer and autumn as well.  There is a summit lodge at the top of the tram and incredible views as well.  It’s a great way to show off the majesty of the White Mountains and bring up those who might never otherwise be able to see the view from the top of a mountain.  For more information, go to the ski area’s website.

Favorite Activities:  There is so much to do in Franconia Notch that picking just a couple activities is a really tough choice. Cross country skiing on the bike path is a wonderful winter activity and Cannon Mountain has some of the best downhill skiing terrain in New Hampshire (especially with their recent expansion).  In the warmer weather the hike up Cannon Mountain is a great workout with jaw-dropping views as you get higher up as your reward.  Also, if you’re really tired when you get to the top you usually have the option of taking the tram down (though you have to make sure of its operating hours).  This page covers only a small part of the many activities you can enjoy in ‘the Notch’ and I’d heartily recommend a day or overnight trip here to enjoy this magnificent park.

How to get here:  Franconia Notch State Park is right off I-93 (known as the Franconia Notch Parkway) and requires no extra navigation.  The ski area is exit 34B, the Flume visitor center is exit 34A and camping is on the southbound side after exit 34B (if you’re coming from the south take exit 34B, get back on the parkway headed south and the Lafayette Campground is a quick exit shortly thereafter).  The second visitor center is located at the entrance to the Lafayette campground on the southbound side of the parkway after exit 34B (you will need to turn around if you are coming from the south).

Facilities, Fees and other information:  There are plenty of facilities in Franconia Notch State Park.  Lafayette campground has a store along with bathroom and shower facilities open during the summer season.  Cannon Mountain ski areas facilities are also available year round along with the visitor centers at the Flume and Lafayette campground.  For lodging the restaurants the town of Lincoln, NH is 5 miles south of the park on I-93 and Littleton (along with the awesome Littleton Diner) is located 10 miles north on I-93 as well.