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Rock Formations in Mt. Washington Valley, NH


It’s all about getting outside and taking in the mountain scenery in Mt. Washington Valley, NH. And there are a million ways to do that.

You can hike the White Mountains, bike its trails, go for a waterfall tour, and more! But if you’re on the hunt for something super special, consider going on a tour of some of the naturally-made rock formations formed over thousands of years.
There are a number of places throughout Mt. Washington Valley where you will find natural rock formations, and scenic overlooks. A tour like this one allows you to break-up the day with scenic drives, short walks, and smaller hikes as you make your way to each one.
This will thrill the geology fiends in your group, those that love to spend time outdoors, members of the family looking for the perfect photo-op, and those who are looking for a great way to spend quality time with you! Keep this list handy so you can put together your own rock formation scenic drive in Mt. Washington Valley!

1) Washington Boulder: The craggy visage of George Washington can be seen on Tin Mine Road in Jackson. Directions: From Rt. 16B, take the first right after Christmas Farm Inn. The profile is about 3/4 mile up on the left.

2) Lion’s Head: Lion’s Head can be easily seen from the Glen House on Rt. 16 in Jackson where the Mt. Washington Auto Road begins. The lion’s muzzle and mane in profile can be viewed by looking toward the prominent shoulder streaming eastward below the cone of Mt. Washington. Directions: Take Route 16 to the base of the Mt. Washington Auto Rd.

3.) Doublehead Ski Trail: Somewhat steep in places, the summit of the trail offers great views to the east and Mountain Pond. 3.6 miles. From Rt. 16A in Jackson, take Rt. 16B to Black Mountain and bear right over the bridge on Dundee Rd. The trail head is marked.

4.) Elephant Head: Elephant Head is at the gateway to Crawford Notch. The profile is clearly visible through the white lines in the rock, complete with the eye! Directions: From Bretton Woods, head east on Rt. 302. After the Railroad depot, as you reach the height of land, and before the road beings its sharp decent into the Notch, pull over and look up into the cliffs off to your left.

5.) White Horse Ledge: White Horse, the southern ledge off West Side Road, is so named because of a light colored area on its face which resembles a white horse dashing up the cliff. It’s not as obvious as the stone profiles, and is easiest to see in late fall with a dusting of snow. Directions: Best view from West Side Road in North Conway.

6.) Madison Boulder Natural Area: One of the world’s largest glacial erratics is found off a country road in Madison. The Madison Boulder is 37’ high and 83’ long, and is estimated to have moved one and a half miles during the Ice Age in an ice stream. Directions: Between Conway and Madison on Rte. 113, turn west at the sign marking the geological landmark and follow signs, staying right to the parking area. Walk in 100 yards.

Scenic Overlooks

Cathedral Ledge

1) Cathedral Ledge: This is the northernmost of the two ledges to the west of North Conway Village. Cathedral Ledge is one of the area’s most distinctive landmarks. The top of the 1150 high ledge offers an unparalleled vantage point to view the Valley below. If you’re lucky, you may be there to see one of the many rock climbers enjoying this face “top out”. Directions: From the light just beyond the Eastern Slope Inn on Rt. 16 in North Conway Village, go left onto River Road. The Cathedral Ledge Road is 1.4 miles along on the left. This 1.7 mile drive to the top ends in a circular turn. Park and walk over to see the view.

2) The Scenic Vista: A beautiful view, and picture taking opportunity is easily accessible from The Scenic Vista. You’ll look over the Intervale to the ever-changing Mt. Washington. A state-operated information center is located right there too. Directions: Continue north on White Mountain Hwy (Rte. 16) from N. Conway Village about 3 miles.

Originally written by Marti Mayne
Updated by the Mt. Washington Valley Chamber in 2021

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