With its breathtaking trees and rolling hills, Kancamagus Highway is the exact nature scenery for those looking to see quintessential New England. This scenic drive, which winds through the White Mountains, is famous for its beautiful views and offers visitors a low effort way to see some amazing scenery.
The Kancamagus Highway (pronounced Kanc-ah-mah-gus), also known as “the Kanc” for short, is a 34.5 mile stretch of Route 112 that connects the towns of Lincoln and Conway in New Hampshire’s White Mountains. One of the first roadways designated a National Scenic Byway, the Kancamagus Highway is an uninhabited forest road. Officially New Hampshire Highway 112, this paved two-lane highway runs east to west through the heart of the White Mountain National Forest. Along the drive you follow the beautiful Swift River and climb 3000 feet up and over the Kancamagus Pass. You can drive the highway in either direction. If you start in Lincoln, you’ll reach the mountainous overlooks early on, while starting in Conway will bring you to waterfalls and roadside stops first.
There are four breathtaking overlooks for you to enjoy, with each showing a unique perspective of the White Mountains’ natural beauty.
Hancock Overlook — Located in the middle of a hairpin turn, this overlook is of the mountains. It was not my favorite overlook, but worth a quick stop.
Panoramic Overlook — Only 0.6 miles from Hancock overlook, there is an opening in the canopy that provides panoramic views of the entire valley from both sides of the road. Although not one of the most popular overlooks, it’s definitely worth the stop to snap a couple of memorable photos.
Pemigewasset Overlook —This was one of my favorites, mainly because the fence added a lot to the stunning backdrop of the White Mountains.
Sugar Hill Overlook — The Sugar Hill overlook is a 4.6-mile drive from Pemigewasset overlook. It is a pretty view of the trees and would be beautiful in the fall.
Sabbaday Falls is a cascading, multi-level waterfall in a narrow flume that empties into a beautiful green pool. This is approximately a mile hike to Sabbaday Falls from the parking lot. I have seen it listed as anywhere from .5 to .7 to 1 mile. My watch told me 1 mile so I’m going with that. It is a little uphill to get to the top viewpoint, but well worth it!! I think it is one of my favorite waterfalls of all times. Go all the way to the top first, then make your way down.
The platforms give you easy access to see the falls and complements photographs!
Rocky Gorge Scenic Area
Carved by glaciers, this area along the Swift River is filled with flat stacks of rocks leading to a flush waterfall. A bridge across the river takes you to viewpoints that are excellent for photographing the falls. The Swift River goes through a flume, then falls 15 feet before continuing on.
As you drive Kancamagus Highway, Swift River follows the highway for about 26 miles. This completely free-flowing river offers spectacular views of whitewater cascades and waterfalls as it cuts a steep valley through a small section of the majestic White Mountains.
Albany Covered Bridge
Covered bridges are synonymous with New Hampshire. Albany Covered bridge is both historic and functional. Built originally in 1857 when the Swift River valley was speckled with homesteads, it was destroyed by a storm only a year later in 1858 and swept away and then rebuilt shortly after.
The bridge is still in use today and is the only way to reach Covered Bridge Campground.
With the lovely, lush green forests and foothills, the tantalizing teal lakes hidden away like a secret prize waiting to be found, and those stunning sky-high jagged peaks, I fell in love with the White Mountains. You will find yourself surrounded by absolute silence and miles of untouched natural beauty, further than your eyes can see. I hope you get the chance to enjoy the White Mountains in New Hampshire.
I’m often asked what camera I shoot with. I’m a firm believer that any modern camera today can produce a good picture. I use a Canon R5 as my main camera. It is a mirrorless camera, and more importantly it is a great tool. I am able to get it to translate the vision that I see into a photograph.
My key reasons for this camera are:
It is 45 mp. For some photographers, that may be too much as it produces large files. As a landscape photographer it is my sweet spot.
It’s a Canon. I have used a lot of Canon cameras and have always found them dependable, reliable and intuitive to use.
The RF lenses are truly amazing. I have always had EF-L series lenses, but the RF lenses produce stunning images.
The image stabilization is outstanding.
It is not too large, and not too small and works well as a travel camera for landscape photography.
Debbi Marquette Photography is located in Upstate New York at the foothills of the Adirondack Mountains. Debbi is an award-winning and published travel, landscape and bald eagle photographer specializing in artistic, authentic, and memorable landscape and wildlife photography. She travels frequently, lives near the mountains and constantly has a camera in her hand to capture photographs.