Go the extra mile and find yourself in Crawford Notch. Located off I-93 you can find yourself driving through this historic state park and mountain pass, as you start your Mt. Washington Valley, NH vacation.
Crawford Notch can also be accessed from North Conway, via route 302, headed west; and it can connect from Pinkham notch via routes 2 and 115. Those looking to plan a scenic drive can combine both notches for a full day of scenic views and adventure.
Whichever route you take to explore Crawford Notch, you’ll discover over 5,000 acres of protected land that is dedicated to hiking, fishing, waterfalls, and more.
One way to touch on every aspect that a scenic drive through Crawford Notch has to offer is by starting at Bretton Woods. This mountain adventure center is part of the Omni Mount Washington Resort, and acts as a mecca of mountain fun in both summer and fall, offering an action packed three-hour zip-line canopy tour, scenic gondola rides in what is New Hampshire’s largest gondola, lunch in the mountain top Rosebrook Lodge, and more.
You can also make a stop at the Ray Burton Scenic Overlook, just minutes from Bretton Woods, that provides a stunning view of the Omni Mount Washington Resort, one of New Hampshires grand hotels, with the Presidential Mountain Range in the background. A stop at the hotel for lunch or a beverage is another way to take in the beautiful mountain views.
As you continue down route 302, you’ll formally enter Crawford Notch where you will be notified by a state park sign. The AMC Highland Center will be on your right (if you're driving south), as well as the train tracks that the Conway Scenic Railroad follows for its iconic Mountaineer Excursion from North Conway through Crawford Notch.
Known for having over 40 hikes and ten waterfalls within its grounds, as you drive deeper into Crawford Notch State Park, you’ll see signage for one its more well known waterfall hikes, Arethusa Falls. This waterfall is 2.8 miles and dog friendly, as long as dogs are kept on a leash. This trail is rated as moderate with some unstable ground made by rocks and roots. Appropriate footwear in the form of sneakers or hiking shoes should be considered.
From Arethusa Falls, you have thirty more minutes of road ahead of you before entering North Conway Village. Enjoy the mountain scapes and the winding Saco River that follows you from Crawford Pond as you make your way through route 302. You’ll also pass by Notchland Inn, which is situated almost across from the Mount Crawford trail-head. Tucked in the White Mountains, Notchland Inn is a fantastic option for couples looking to plan a romantic getaway centered around outdoor adventure, and peace and tranquility. A four-course fine dining experience is served five nights a week, and breakfast is a part of each guest’s stay.
As you continue on this last stretch of route 302, before entering North Conway, end it with locally brewed beer at Ledge Brewing Company. Specializing in beers that perfectly compliment a day of outdoor adventure, you’ll enjoy the fun vibe of this brewery. With seating indoors and out, all you have to do is choose from its fleet eight handcrafted brews, and sit back and relax!
After all this adventure, you’re going to need to refuel, and there are plenty of restaurants between Ledge Brewing Company and your hotel, that can satisfy any craving. Click this link for a list of dining options, and see what the valley is serving up for dinner!
For complete trip planning resources and information call 800-367-3364 (800-DO-SEE-NH) to talk to a Mt Washington Valley Chamber of Commerce rep. To learn more about New Hampshire vacations, go to www.VisitNH.gov.