Kancamagus Highway is a scenic drive in New Hampshire during the fall foliage season

Kancamagus Highway is a very scenic drive located in Grafton County, in the U.S. state of New Hampshire. It is said to be one of the most popular fall foliage road trips in the world.

Kancamagus Highway

Why is it called Kancamagus Highway?

It is named for Native American Chief Kancamagus who lived in the area during the late 1600s.

Is Kancamagus Highway paved?

Tucked away in the northern part of New Hampshire, the road, also known as "The Kanc,” is a portion of New Hampshire Route 112 (abbreviated NH 112). It was fully paved in 1964 and can be easily accessed from I-93 in Lincoln NH or NH Rt. 16 from Conway NH. It is now designated an American Scenic Byway for its rich history, aesthetic beauty, and culture.

How long is Kancamagus Highway in New Hampshire?

The road, also known as the Kancamagus Scenic Byway, is 56km (35 miles) long, running east to west from Lincoln to Conway.

Is Kancamagus Highway challenging?

It features steep sections, hitting a 7% maximum gradient through some of the ramps. Travelers endure a series of hairpin turns before reaching the summit of Kancamagus Pass, the highest point on the road. As the driver of your vehicle, it is quite tempting to look at everything around you due to the beauty of the surrounding scenery. For your safety, keep a close eye on the road while driving. A few spots along the road can get a bit narrow. Also, keep an eye out for wildlife on the roadway. It is not unusual to spot deer or moose along the side of the road or in the marshy areas. The road is in excellent condition, and you don’t need to be an especially skilled driver in order to navigate it well.

How long does it take to drive the Kancamagus?

Set high in New Hampshire’s White Mountains, plan about one hour to complete the drive without any stops. However, it’ll take around 3 hours due to the views and stops. It offers a very beautiful drive through the White Mountain National Forest, especially during the fall foliage season. It’s a popular drive in September and October for so-called leaf-peeping tourism. Stop at the pullout to enjoy a panorama of the surrounding forest and to learn about the watersheds east of the Kancamagus Pass flowing into the Saco River and those west flowing into the Pemigewasset River. The drive takes you back in time as you drive through a forest that offers no comforts of the modern-day world: no gas stations, restaurants, hotels, or other businesses have pierced their way into the heart of the highway. On a peak day, more than 4,000 vehicles traverse at least a portion of this famous route. Rain or snow will significantly slow your progress.

Is the Kancamagus Highway open?

The road tops out at 874m (2,867ft) above sea level by Kancamagus Pass. This road is usually open all year round but can be closed occasionally for short periods while crews clear heavy snows. The Kancamagus Highway receives a lot of snow each year. The first snowfall usually occurs before the leaves have fully fallen, and the last snowfall may not occur until Memorial Day. Winter is long along this road, but it is well-maintained, and opportunities for winter recreation abound for cross-country skiers, snowshoers, hikers, photographers, as well as the casual visitor.