Hiking, Biking, & Fishing, Oh My!
If you’re feeling adventurous and ready to tackle the outdoors, look no further than this hiking, biking, & fishing guide!
A fairly easy hike on Greeley Ponds Trail to a pair of pretty ponds nestled between steep mountainsides. Upper Pond is reached at 1.7 miles and Lower Pond at 2.2 miles. The trail starts on the Kancamagus Highway, 10 miles east of Lincoln. Note: Do not hike the muddy Greeley Ponds X-C Trail; the hiking trail starts 0.1 miles farther east.
Sabbaday Falls – 0.6 miles
An easy 0.6 mile round trip stroll up the graded Sabbaday Brook Trail to a picturesque rocky waterfall. The trailhead is at picnic area 20 miles east of Lincoln.
Hedgehog Mountain – 5 miles
A moderately difficult 5-mile loop on the UNH Trail leads to three rocky viewpoints: Allen’s Ledge, the summit (elevation 2,532 feet), and the East Ledges. For a shorter hike, Allen’s Ledge is 2.2 miles round trip. This trailhead is off the highway across from Passaconaway Campground, 21 miles east of Lincoln.
Rocky Gorge and Falls Pond – 1 mile
A dramatic gorge and tranquil pond are found just a short walk from the parking area at Rocky Gorge Scenic Area. This is a recommended easy 1-mile hike, which includes Lovequist Loop around the pond. The parking area is 26 miles east of Lincoln. Swimming is prohibited in Rocky Gorge, but you can take a dip in the pools above the falls. Lower Falls has pools with fast and slow-moving water, small sandy beaches, picnic tables, parking and changing rooms.
Franconia Falls – 6.8 miles
Located off the Lincoln-Woods Trail, the falls are 3.2 miles in on a very level and easy trail. There are cold, clear pools and a hip-wide water chute. Park on the Kancamagus Highway, 4 miles east of Lincoln. Permit required.
Thirteen Falls – 16 miles
A series of scenic falls named for their proximity to old logging Camp 13. It is reached by an 8-mile hike along old logging railroad beds.
Lincoln Woods Trail – 6.5 miles
This trail begins at a parking area off the Kancamagus Highway 5 miles east of Lincoln. There is easy walking on an old logging railroad grade beside the East Branch of the Pemigewasset. At 1.6 miles there’s a riverside view of the distant Bond range. At 2.6 miles a 0.8 mile side trail leads to scenic Black Pond. At 2.9 miles another side trail leads 0.4 miles to the ledges and cascades of Franconia Falls (permit required). Beyond, the Wilderness Trail leads into the Pemigewasset Wilderness.
East Side Trail – 6.5 miles
This trail follows a gravel road up the east side of the East Branch, opposite Lincoln Woods Trail. At 0.5 mile a side path leads to the river’s edge and a view of Scar Ridge. At 2.5 miles there’s a panorama of mountains from a bank high above the river. At 2.9 miles the trail enters the Pemigewasset Wilderness, leading to scenic spots along the river in another 0.4 mile. This trailhead is the same one as for Lincoln Woods Trail.
Georgiana Falls Trail – 4 miles
These falls on Harvard Brook are accessed by an unmarked trail leaving from a parking area off Hanson Farm Road in Lincoln. An easy 1.3 mile hike leads to the Lower Falls in a beautiful wooded setting. The Upper, or Harvard Falls are a steep 0.5 mile farther.
Beaver Brook Cascades Trail – 2.3 miles
Beaver Brook climbs very steeply alongside a series of long, picturesque cascades, starting at 0.3 miles and ending at 1.1 miles. The trailhead for this trail is on Rt. 112 at Kinsman Notch, 6 miles west of North Woodstock.
Starting off the Franconia Notch Bike Path just north of Flume Visitor Center, the Mt. Pemigewasset Trail climbs at a moderate grade to the ledges atop the famed Indian Head as well as spectacular panoramic views of Lincoln, NH. This trail is approximately 3 ½ miles long round trip, taking about 3 hrs.
Basin-Cascades Trail – 2.5 miles
From The Basin parking area on the west side of the Notch, first visit The Basin, a large pothole pool, then follow the Basin-Cascades Trail to Kinsman Falls at the 0.4 mile mark followed by Rocky Glen Falls at the 0.9 mile mark.
Falling Waters Trail – 2.5 miles
Three waterfalls can be seen along the easy lower section of this trail: Stair Falls and Swiftwater Falls at the 0.9 mile mark and the exquisite Cloudland Falls at the 1.4 mile mark. The trail starts on the east side of Franconia Notch Parkway, opposite Lafayette Campground and you can reach the summit of Little Haystack Mountain.
Lonesome Lake – 3.3 miles
The Lonesome Lake Trail follows an old bridle path with easy to moderate grades to a high mountain tarn, an elevation of 2,743 feet. There are magnificent views of the Kinsman and Franconia Ranges from the shores of the lake. The trail starts at Lafayette Campground; 3 ¼ miles round trip, taking about 3 hrs.
Artist’s Bluff & Bald Mountain – 1.5 miles
These two rocky outlooks, especially Bald Mtn, provide panoramic views of the Notch and surrounding mountains for little effort. This trail starts off Rt. 18 near Echo Lake parking area; 1 ½ mi. loop, taking about 1 ¼ hrs.
The Flume Gorge – 800 ft.
The walk through this 800 ft. natural chasm takes you past waterfalls and scenic pools. Your visit is enhanced by a free 15-minute movie on Franconia Notch State Park and the informative displays in the Visitor Center (Admission charged for the Gorge). Avalanche Falls, once called Flume Cascade, is located at the head of the Flume.
Bridal Veil Falls – 5 miles
This pretty waterfall is reached by the fairly easy Coppermine Trail, which follows scenic Coppermine Brook. This trail begins off Rt. 116, 3.4 mi. south of Franconia taking about 3 ½ hrs to complete.
This Littleton park and conservation area features a pond and nature trails, with many possibilities for bird watching, flower and tree identification, picnicking, and leisurely walking. It is located between Routes 302 and 10 in Littleton, NH.
Kilburn Crag – 1 mile
From Rt. 18 just outside Littleton, this trail offers an easy climb to a breathtaking view of the town and many White Mountain peaks. It is approximately 1 mile round trip, taking about an 1 hr.
Weather and Gear: Check the weather before setting out because it can change very rapidly in the mountains. Local recorded forecasts are available for Littleton (444-2656) and Conway (447-5252). Turn back if the weather goes bad. Wear sturdy, broken-in footwear that you know will be comfortable. Dress in loose-fitting, comfortable clothing suitable for the season and weather. Use layers in cooler weather and when venturing to higher elevations. Synthetics and wool are much better than cotton for warmth, especially when wet.
Supplies: Bring a day pack with the hiking essentials: extra clothing, rain/wind gear, snacks and water, a map/guidebook and compass, first aid kit, flashlight, pocket knife, toilet paper, matches, and sunglasses. Binoculars and camera will add to your enjoyment.
A steady moderate pace is best on the trail. Watch your footing on the rocks and roots. Keep your group together and wait up at trail junctions. Take care to minimize your impact on the fragile mountain environment. Carry out what you carry in and stay on the trail, especially above treeline. Enjoy your hike, the company of family or friends, and the beautiful natural world that surrounds you – you’re in Mountain Country!
Mountain Country is Bicycling Country!
There are miles of cross-country trails and logging roads for mountain biking, plus scenic roads perfect for on-road biking. Bring your bike, or rent one at one of the many bike shops in the area. Bike rentals are available in Franconia, on the Peabody Slope at Cannon Mountain, at Loon Mountain, and at various spots in Lincoln.
Franconia Notch State Park Bike Path – 18 miles
This 9-mile (one-way) paved path runs the length of Franconia Notch, accesses many major attractions, and is one of the area’s most popular bike routes. It’s ideal for first-time visitors, regular biking fanatics, and occasional peddlers alike.
Ride on alpine ski trails or one of the easier routes for a relaxing ride on cross-country biking trails. Loon also offers a shuttle service that will take you and your bike to Echo Lake in Franconia Notch to take the Franconia Notch State Park Bike Path to the Flume, and then ride back to Loon (a minimum ½ day ride).
Routes 3 and 175 from North Woodstock offer several choices of short, medium, and long loops. Head south on Rt 3 from North Woodstock and turn left on Route 175 about a half-mile from downtown. Follow Rt 175 until the following intersections: For the short loop (6 mi.) turn right at the fire station; for the middle loop (18 mi.) turn right at Cross Road; and for the longer loop (30 mi.) turn right on Route 49. Follow each of these roads to Route 3, turn right and head back north on Route 3 until you return to North Woodstock. Beware: Rt 175 does not have a shoulder, but has little traffic.
The White Mountain National Forest. Most of the National Forest is open to biking. Many old roads are excellent for mountain bikes. The Forest Service does ask that bikers avoid muddy trails and stay on designated roadways. The White Mountain National Forest Bike Map is available at the Visitors Center in Lincoln.
Nearby easily accessible river fishing:
The Lincoln area has a great selection of fishing, primarily for trout. Within town, the Pemigewasset River is home to many access points that are easily reachable from the main roads. A lot of the areas that are easily accessible serve as trout-stocking sites from mid-May to mid-July.
The closest access/stocking locations for our guests lie within the section of the Pemigewasset River right next to our cabins! Throughout the river the trout can be caught with regular spinning gear with bait or lures, and there is plenty of great fly fishing. Other good river fishing options nearby include the Gale River and Little River, each accessible from locations as close as an 18 minute drive north of Lincoln.
The key to a successful day of fishing in the river is finding the deeper water. The typical size for NH river fish is from 6 inches to 16 inches, and includes a mix of Rainbow Trout, Brook Trout, and Brown Trout.
Nearby easily accessible lake and pond fishing:
The lake and pond fishing in the area is also excellent. Echo Lake, Mirror Lake, Russell Pond, and the fly fishing only Profile Lake are all located within 15 to 20 minutes of Riverbank. These water bodies are all easily accessible and great from the shore with waders to the more adventurous fisherman who likes to use small boats, kayaks, canoes, or float tubes. All of these options offer very scenic views as well.
The primary fish found here are trout with the exception of Mirror Lake, which has a small population of small-mouth bass, perch and pickerel.
Less accessible fishing:
Some off-the-beaten-path fishing opportunities in the area include Peaked Hill Pond (a remote hike-in stocking location), Stinson Lake, Long pond, and Elbow Pond. There is a magnitude of other places as well but these in particular are great “honorable mention” locations.
The recommended larger bodies of water around the Lincoln area are Moore Reservoir (30 min. north), Newfound Lake (50 min. south), Squam Lake (35 min. south), and Lake Winnipesaukee (45 min. south). Tip: There are also many smaller water bodies within the same driving distance as these larger lakes.
These lakes provide excellent fishing for many species including trout, salmon, bass, pan fish, pickerel, walleye and pike. The local fishing shop in town is the Mountain High Fly, open during the summer season. There are also some fishing guide services in the area.
Winter provides many excellent opportunities for all of the available species of fish in the area. The smaller ponds that are allowed to be fished by Fish and Game management during winter will generally be the ones that freeze enough to have safe ice first. The larger lakes, like Lake Winnipesaukee, will take longer to freeze and aren’t allowed by regulation to be ice fished until later in winter. The fishing in any lake in the area can be better in winter than in summer, with some of the lakes being stocked with trout in late fall for the coming winter months.
Every year one of the main winter events in New Hampshire is the Meredith
Rotary Fishing Derby. The Derby is headquartered in Meredith, but any legal body of water may be fished and count towards the prizes that can be won over this weekend long event. The rules for the derby have changed in recent years and now allow for the largest of any eligible fish species caught during the derby to be entered for a chance to win the grand prize. There are many other additional prizes to be won during the derby, including raffles that are entered upon buying a derby ticket. Some of the larger lakes in the area take on a social life of their own with many people getting out and enjoying a couple days on the ice in a village of bob-houses. The proceeds from the derby also support a good cause. Good luck!
Reminder: Always make sure to the check the NH Fish and Game regulations and have a valid fishing license whether you fish short-term or annually!