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Author Topic: The Kancamagus Loop, White Mountains, New Hampshire  (Read 251 times)
Dan
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« on: January 16, 2019, 08:08:32 PM »

By far the best ride near me is the Kancamagus Highway, it's also connected to some other really nice roads to make a fun and at times technical loop.  The overall time to take the loop is about two hours but you will want to have at least six because of all the great stops along the way.

I recommend starting in Conway, NH though Lincoln works too.



From Conway take the Kanc or HWY 112 West through the White Mountains.



It's about 50 miles between Conway and Lincoln.  There aren't any towns or service areas in between but there are plenty of sights and pull outs for exploring and taking photos.



Once you reach Lincoln you can poke around the restaurants and shops.  Lincoln has a few places to eat I recommend, Texas Toast/Pig's Ear BBQ (same place with two names), Black Mountain Burger and One Love Brewery.  Avoid Nachos Mexican Grille like the plague.

Next you take 93 North out of Lincoln which will quickly change to Styles Bridges Highway and enjoy the views of the Fraconia Notch parkway.



If it's a nice day you may want to take a few hours out and hike the Flume.  It's not free, maybe $20 but the money goes to the park system.  It's quite beautiful.


The Sentinel Bridge along the Flume hiking path.

Or you can park for free (if you can find a space) and take a hike to the Basin and further into the woods if you favor.


The Basin a neat water feature just a few hundred feet or so from the parking lot.  You have to walk through a tunnel under the highway if you parked on the east side of the road.

If you walk north past the Basin and look for a dirt path heading off to the left you are in for a treat.  This is not a well paved hike so make sure you have the right footwear.  It's essentially a long hike up a river coming down from the mountain.  Depending on the water level you can hike much of it on the hard rock formations instead of the muddy path alongside the river.  Some spectacular views along the way.



When you get back on your bikes you can continue north past the Cannon Ski Lodge and take the HWY 3 exit.  A pretty road with big sweepers that after a few miles connects with HWY 302, just stay on 3 until the stoplight and then take a right on 302.

You start to see signs for the Cog train at the intersection.  There is a nice pullout where you can view one of the trains.



HWY 302 is pretty ordinary until you get the view of Mt. Washington.  Mt. Washington is a destination in it's own right.  It's not part of this loop but nearby and worth a ride to the top, just start early.


A view from one of the rest stops on the climb up Mt. Washington.

After Mt. Washington you are in for a treat.  HWY 302 leads into Crawford Notch State Park.  There is a beautiful mountain lake across the street from one of the COG rail stations.  You can wander the station and look at the history of the train or relax along Saco Lake and take in the spectacular views.



Afterwards you reach the super fun drop down the mountain.



When the road straightens out after about 4 miles you will find another small mountain lake across the street from a fudge shop and rest stop.  Some great hiking trails along the lake as well as candy!  Who could ask for more.

Heading down the road the next town will be a small burg named Barlett.  Keep your eyes peeled for an intersection near a railway crossing.  You're looking for Bear Notch Road.  This is the elective part of the loop.  You can continue on 302 and make your way to North Conway or you can take Bear Notch Road.  Bear Notch Road is super technical and the road is a bit broken up so bring your A game if you want to take it fast.  It's through a densely wooded area of the park with one or two pull outs.  It's a great road if you are in the mood.


A view from Bear Notch Road.

On the other hand, if you decide to ride 302 into North Conway keep your eyes peeled for the very hard to find Hurricane Mountain Road.  It's a short beast of broken and heaved pavement with super tight and narrow twisties up and over a big hill or small mountain.  You will be rewarded with some great views and an eventually see the state of Maine laid out before your eyes.


The twisty Hurricane Mountain Road.

If you took Bear Notch Road it will deposit you back on the Kanc and if you've followed my route head back towards North Conway, it's a beautiful little tourist town filled with interesting shops and restaurants.  If you stayed on 302 you will eventually ride right through town.  If you took the Hurricane Mountain Road detour you will find yourself having to either turn around or loop back on East Conway Road.

All and all it's just a rider's playground and a must stop recommendation if you have a bike and are in the area.
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Maggie
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Let's Ride!!!!!!


« Reply #1 on: January 16, 2019, 08:46:37 PM »

That looks amazingly fun!!
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