I have been wanting to do a foliage trip but other international trips always took priority over the years. With COVID, finally, no excuse to not do a foliage trip. Originally, I was planning to go Vermont but due to their travel restriction on my county in Massachusetts, we couldn’t go. Last minute, we decided on New Hampshire, better than no trip at all right? When looking at the weather forecast, Thursday, Oct. 1st looked the best out of the upcoming days so we literally decided on Tuesday to go on Thursday. It was more than 2.5 hours drive from my house to the first stop – Artist Bluff Trail. We left around 7 AM and got there before 10 AM with a stop for breakfast.
We parked at Cannon Mountain Rv Park and there was no sign to the trail head. We walked around to see where it could be and with limited cellular signal, we couldn’t do much research. I remembered reading that it’s located across from Echo Lake so we crossed the road. Luckily, we saw a photographer with a DSLR and telephoto lens hanging on his neck came out of a little path so I asked for direction. So basically, cross the street from the parking lot, turn right and continue down the road before you hit the guardrail and you’ll see this little path:
As soon as you turned in, you’ll see this sign. Follow the red markers and turn right for the faster path to straight up to the viewpoint (turn left would be the loop, not sure about if there’s any good views but it’ll take longer to get up to the viewpoint).
It was around a mile hike where the last section is steep up on rocks, hiking boots is recommended! Once we go up to the viewpoint, there were less than 10 people there and it is a pretty big rocky area that people can spread out for social distancing. The most photographed angle is looking straight at Echo Lake below and we waited the photographers before us to finish their shoots while I changed into my dress. No, I didn’t hike up with sandals in case you wondered, I was wearing sneakers and changed once we got up there 🙂
As you can see the leaves were mostly orange and yellow this year up in that area. I read that the colors depend on the temperature, amount of rainfall, etc. so not the bright red this year.
A lot more people arrived so we moved our spot to the left to get a full shoot of the highway intersection below. We actually like this view better, what do you think? It would be perfect if that hill on the left is filled with maple trees instead of evergreens!
Lastly, the people up on the big rock left so we grabbed that spot and took a few quick photos at this higher angle. By then, a lot more people arrived so we decided to leave.
We spent a good hour there and it was lunchtime by the time we got down so we went to Thai 9 Restaurant in the nearby Lincoln town to have lunch. Thai food there was okay. After the quick lunch, we drove the famous Kancamagus Highway. There are many lookouts each with a parking lot along this 34.5 mile scenic drive. It was quite busy with a queue getting into almost each parking lot. The first lookout we stopped was Hancock Overlook where drone shoots of the “U” shaped road are taken. Our friend, Jeffrey, flew his drone but the trees surrounded the road were not many colors 🙁
Pictures from the lookouts, there are actually a lot of evergreen trees so not the full mountain of orange and red that I have seen from online photos.
We also made a stop at Albany Covered Bridge along the way and it’s a quite picturesque spot better than the lookouts. The trees here looked pretty much green so I am not sure if we were early, however, according to foliage report, it supposed to be at peak in this region.
The path from the parking lot to the covered bridge looked at peak or after peak as many of the leaves were on the ground already.
Next, we drove to Eaton, NH at the end of Kancamagus Highway to get a photo of the Little White Church across from Crystal Lake. Disappointedly, not a single sight of foliage there!!
It was already 3 PM so we decided to just make one more stop at the iron bridge near Bartlett and Crawford Notch State Park. I was surprised that we were the only ones there and occasionally saw one or two people crossing to the trail.
Jeffrey sat on the bridge for this photo which look pretty cool. I am afraid of height so no thanks for me 😉
I was glad that we made this last minute trip even though not all the places we visited were at peak foliage. I hope that next year, we can go to Vermont for foliage, I like the photos of those cute bright red farms!