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The Kancamagus Highway | History of New Hampshire's Scenic Corridor

The Kancamagus Highway | History of New Hampshire’s Scenic Corridor
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At approximately the midpoint, about 20 miles east of Lincoln, look for a barely visible National Forest sign — on the south side of the Kancamagus Highway — marking the trailhead to Sabbaday Falls. A ten-minute hike on a gentle, wide trail leads to a striking flume and waterfall.

Walls of stone rise about 40 feet skyward, while below, water has carved a four-foot pothole at the base of the falls. There’s a bridge crossing the falls that lets you watch the cascades gush down a granite chute.

From the Sabbaday Falls trailhead, it’s about 15 miles to Conway, the eastern terminus of the highway. During peak foliage weekends, both Lincoln and Conway can be snarled with traffic; an escape route is Bear Notch Road (paved, but closed in winter), 21 miles west of Lincoln and 13 miles east of Conway.

The nine-mile road hooks up with Route 302 in Bartlett, passing through young forest, affording mountain views to the east, and bypassing some of the heaviest tourist traffic.


Lincoln-Woodstock Chamber of Commerce, 800-227-4191, 603-745-6621. The information center at the Depot Mall on Main St. is
also a reservation service for area lodging.

Lincoln Woods, at Lincoln Woods Trail parking off Rte. 112, just east of the Loon Mountain main entrance. This comfy log cabin serves as a warming hut in winter and information center all year long. National forest rangers give personal advice about trails and campgrounds on the Kanc.

White Mountain Visitors Center, 800-346-3687, 603-745-8720. P.O. Box 10, North Woodstock, NH 03262; at base of exit 32 off I-93.

White Mountain National Forest Saco Ranger Station, 603-447-5448. Kancamagus Highway (Rte. 112), just off Rte. 16, Conway. Pick up campground information and a free map to eight terrific hiking trails that range from a half mile to five miles long. Saco Ranger Station is also the place to find out about historic Russell-Colbath House, an 1830 homestead located midway on the Kancamagus Highway, just west of Jigger Johnson Campground. Exhibits and costumed interpreters tell the story of the family who lived here.

Loon Mountain, 800-229-5666, 603-745-8111. Rte. 112, Lincoln. Not just for skiing: Ask about bike rentals and tours, horseback riding, in-line skating, and other activities in summer and fall.

The Common Man, 603-745-3463. Pollard Rd., Lincoln. ($$) Simple country cooking and decor with a cozy fireplaced lounge.

Cafe Lafayette Dinner Train, 800-699-3501, 603-745-3500. Rte. 112, North Woodstock. Enjoy a five-course movable feast in a 1924 Pullman car or a 1952 Pullman Dome car. The train and its passengers embark on a two-hour journey along the Pemigewasset River.

Please Note: This information was accurate at the time of publication. When planning a trip, please confirm details by directly contacting any company or establishment you intend to visit.

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5 Responses to The Kancamagus Highway | History of New Hampshire’s Scenic Corridor

  1. Don Gamache August 10, 2009 at 12:53 pm #

    This is one of the best roads in the world to run on a motorcycle. Spent my honeymoon in Conway and we rode Kanc everyday. No matter what time of the year it’s beautiful. This is classic New England. I miss it a lot now that I’m away. Just shows that New England is a peice of Heaven and the rocks just hold it down to keep it from floating back up.

  2. Needel, Sylvia August 11, 2009 at 3:22 pm #

    I often wish the sign for Sabbaday Falls was nearly invisible. It’s a VERY popular tourist spot these days. When I was growing up in Bartlett, Sabbaday Falls was a spot where you seldom encountered another soul. Now there are stairs and fences. Still beautiful, but you have to share it with lots of tourists most any time of year.

  3. Chris Heckman August 11, 2009 at 9:31 pm #

    Thank you for this wonderful article. It exemplifies everything I love about Yankee magazine – thorough historical research presented in an interesting and entertaining way. We’ve driven the Kanc many times and I thought I knew it, but you gave me lots more background information. Great job!

  4. American Heritage Renovations, llc. October 11, 2009 at 12:30 pm #

    To Needel, Sylvia…

    I, too, grew up in Bartlett, though I am now in Saint Louis. I grew up on the side of the Haystack up behind the Moutain View Cabins. EVERYWHERE along the Kanc is all “touristy” now and it is sad. I have not been home for years, but the last time I was and travelled the Kanc, it saddened me to see the “improvements”. However, northern New Engkand, OUR northern New England, will forever be God’s grace to the Earth!

  5. American Heritage Renovations, llc. October 11, 2009 at 12:31 pm #

    My bad… it was Mountain HOME Cabins. I often wonder if they are still open.

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