In the fall, color-changing leaves transform New Hampshire into a vibrant wonderland and a dream destination for a road trip. Many scenic roads throughout the state are beautiful at any time of year, but in the fall, they shine as green hues shift to bright red and orange ones. There are many routes to take in the state where you can enjoy the fall season at its best while driving under New Hampshire's charming covered bridges and keeping your eyes peeled for moose.
If you plan only one fall driving tour, make it New Hampshire's National Scenic Byway with the tongue-twister name: the Kancamagus Highway. This exhilarating road through the White Mountain National Forest is the most superb scenic drive in all of New England and a beloved fall foliage route. The Kanc, as the locals call it, connects the towns of Conway and Lincoln and while you can expect bumper-to-bumper traffic on peak travel days, you can make the most of it by taking this drive slowly and pulling over often to appreciate the scenery.
Moose Alley, the nickname for the stretch of Route 3 that runs from Pittsburg, New Hampshire, to the Canadian border, is one of the best places to see moose in New England. The road takes you through the wild and pristine Great North Woods, which is worth seeing whether you spot a moose or not, especially when the colors start to shift for the fall. When moose-spotting remember to drive very slowly and if you do see one, pull over to the side of the road and do not approach it.
Although waterfalls are reliably at their most dramatic in the spring when the snow begins to melt, fall can be a wonderful time to visit and photograph these shimmering cascades framed by the rich reds and golds of autumn leaves. With more than a dozen accessible waterfalls, New Hampshire's Mt. Washington Valley is the perfect destination for a fall waterfall tour. If you're driving along the Kancamagus Highway, you could even stop for a short hike to Sabbaday Falls. Other beautiful New Hampshire waterfalls to mark on your map include Glen Ellis Falls, Crystal Cascade, Thompson Falls, Arethusa Falls, Flume Cascade, Silver Cascade, Ripley Falls, Jackson Falls, and Diana's Bath.
Trace the path of the Connecticut River, which forms the boundary between New Hampshire and Vermont, and enjoy changing colors as you visit small New Hampshire towns on this scenic drive. Choose a town like Walpole, Charleston, or Claremont to stop for lunch, and be sure to also stop for a visit Saint-Gaudens National Historical Park, which is just past the extra-long Cornish-Windsor Bridge. If you want to, you can keep going along the Great North Woods Ride after you pass Groveton, another 120 miles through the Mahoosuc region.
For 134 miles of breathtaking water and foliage views, you can start this route in Meredith and follow the shoreline of Lake Winnipesaukee, New Hampshire's largest lake. Then follow the route to Wolfeboro and continue north through the picturesque small towns like Conway, Union, Farmington, and Rochester. Be sure to visit Castle in the Clouds, a mansion in Moultonborough open four tours, for aerial views of Lake Winnipesaukee and leaves.
The Sunapee Loop in southwestern New Hampshire takes you around sparkling Lake Sunapee and to a picture-perfect town worth visiting in the fall. The petite village of Washington, New Hampshire, is one of the prettiest you'll find in all of New England and it is also the first town in America to name itself after George Washington. The three classic white buildings on Washington Common continue to serve vital community functions, including one of New England's oldest town halls still in use.