FRANCONIA NOTCH RECREATIONAL TRAIL:
FRANCONIA-LINCOLN, NEW HAMPSHIRE
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Last Updated: June 15, 2019
Length: Franconia Notch Recreational Trail; 8.6 miles
Franconia Notch Recreational Trail (Northern Section); 3.9 miles from Skookumchuck Trailhead to Trailhead parking lot next to Profile Lake.
Franconia Notch Recreational Trail (Southern Section); 4.7 miles from Trailside parking lot next to Profile Lake to Flume Gorge Visitor Center parking lot.
Difficulty: Franconia Notch Recreational Trail (Northern Section); Moderate. Paved hilly trail.
Franconia Notch Recreational Trail (Southern Section); Easy. Paved, mostly downhill if starting from the North.
To Start from Flume Gorge Visitor Center (Southern End); From I-93 take exit 34A to Route 3 and follow signs.
To Start from Skookumchuck Trailhead (Northern End); From I-93 northbound take exit 35 to Route 3 N. Parking lot is on your right. From I-93 southbound take exit 36 to Route 141 E to Route 3 and head left (south). Parking lot is on your left.
The Franconia Notch Recreational Trail travels through Franconia Notch State Park. It takes you past Echo Lake Beach, Cannon Mt Tramway, Old Man of the Mt Historic Site, Lafayette Place Campground, The Basin and finally ends at the Flume Gorge Visitor Center. The Northern Section of the trail is hilly and may be tough for kids on bikes, while the Southern Section is mostly a downhill grade heading south. A shuttle is available ($) that will drop you off at either the Skookumchuck Trailhead or Cannon Mt or pick you up at the Flume Gorge Visitor Center so you can ride one-way (easiest to travel north -south). For more information visit; SPORT THOMA BIKE RENTALS/SHUTTLE & FRANCONIA NOTCH STATE PARK .
Starting from Skookumchuck Trailhead (Northern End); You start out along the eastern side of I-93 heading south. The paved Franconia Notch Recreational Trail starts out as a long gradual hill climb along an open wooded corridor. Cross Lafayette River at 1.5 miles before coming to the Profile Road parking circle. Here the trail narrows as it turns right down a steep incline (Caution sharp curves with no fencing) before traveling underneath I-93 to the western side of I-93. What goes down must now go up. Tough hill climb. Travel through a tunnel underneath Profile Rd and come to an intersection at 2.2 miles.
Note; Right will bring you to Echo Lake Beach.
The trail is level as it takes you around Echo Lake where it skirts the highway. Across the lake are the ski slopes of Cannon Mt. Come to another intersection at 2.8 miles.
Note; Right will bring you to the CANNON MT TRAMWAY and parking lot. Here you can ride the tram up to the 4,080' summit.
Continue straight along a hilly, curvy section. Cross the Cannon Mt entrance road and quickly come to the Old Man of the Mt Historic Site access road. Continue straight down this road to the Old Man of the Mt Historic Site parking lot. The trail continues straight to a tunnel underneath I-93 at 3.3 miles.
Note; Be sure to check out the Old Man of the Mt Profile Plaza straight only 0.2 miles.
Head left through the tunnel and you'll travel up along the ridge on the eastern side of I-93. Come to a second Old Man of the Mt Historic Site parking lot. Hilly, winding trail. Views of Profile Lake across the highway. Cross a bridge over a stream before a tunnel underneath I-93 brings you back along the western side. Come to a Trailhead parking lot at 3.9 miles next to Profile Lake. Look right to spot the granite face of Cannon Mt. Cross a bridge over the Pemigewasset River as you head into the woods and up along the ridge. This is the start of the Southern Section. After about 4.2 miles you'll begin a mile long descent. Cross the river again before coming to Lafayette Place Campground at 5.3 miles. Bear right then left on-road past the log cabin (blue bike signs). Stay straight as you pass through the picnic area. This next section is very scenic as it follows and crosses the Pemigewasset River. Come to the Basin parking lot at 76.7 miles. Restrooms. You then come to the Basin Trailhead. More restrooms. Be sure to check it out. The bike trail also passes by an overlook of the Basin if you don't have time to walk the trail. Another tunnel takes you underneath I-93 brings you back along the eastern side where you'll pass a second parking lot for the Basin. Cross over the Pemigewasset River again at 7.8 miles. Finally one last hill to climb before heading down to the Flume Gorge Visitor Center parking lot after 8.6 miles. Head left through the parking lot to check out the FLUME GORGE & VISITOR CENTER . Two mile loop trail.
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