Things to do / Travel Guide
Many artists are drawn to New Hampshire and Vermont because of the region's incredible natural beauty. With stunning widespread greenery, fall foliage, or snow-covered hills and mountains decorating the entire region, depending on the season, the scenery can be breathtaking. There are some places in the region, in particular along the Kancamagus Highway, New Hampshire's National Scenic Byway, where it is possible to get a panoramic view of local beauty.
Scenic Overlooks in New Hampshire's Great North Woods
Way up in the Great North Woods area of New Hampshire sits the majestic Mt. Pisgah. During the two-mile hike up to the peak, visitors will get great views of Vermont's Lake Willoughby to the west. Upon reaching the mountain's apex, climbers are treated to glorious views of the area's surrounding mountains and even Mt. Washington, the state's highest peak about 100 miles to the south.
Scenic Overlooks in New Hampshire's White Mountain Area
The 34-mile drive along the Kancamagus Highway, New Hampshire's National Scenic Byway, is considered by many to be among the most scenic in New England, with more than 1 million people driving it each year. At the Saco Ranger Station, just west of Conway, you can pick up a map and plan your stops along the highway at one of the many well-designated scenic overlooks. The ranger station itself overlooks the stunning White Mountain National Forest.
One of the most popular scenic overlooks along the highway is at the Covered Bridge Campground, where you can walk across the wooden Albany Covered Bridge, built over the Swift River in 1858 and restored in 1970. From this bridge you can appreciate the view of the large boulders that line the banks of the Swift River.
From the altitude of Mt. Kancamagus (3,762 feet) there are many different places where you can look out over the scenery of the White Mountains National Forest. While driving up the mountain, each new turn along the road affords you a new and spectacular view. As you make your way up to the summit, keep on the lookout for the Sugar Hill, Pemigewasset, and Hancock Overlooks, which all provide a place to appreciate the forest's rugged scenery.
Also within the vicinity of the Kancamagus Highway is the 3,475-foot high Mt. Chocorua. It'll take a couple hours of hiking, becoming relatively steep about halfway through, to get to the summit, but, once there, the views from the top are simply astounding.
Scenic Overlooks in New Hampshire's Monadnock Area
The views offered atop the 3,165-foot Monadnock Mountain are simply breathtaking. On a clear day, all six New England states can be seen from the broad, rocky summit. To get to this scenic overlook, you'll have to take an easy, one-mile walk up the mountain, as it is inaccessible by road. But the panoramic views available once you reach the peak are second to none.
Scenic Overlooks in Northern Vermont
Smuggler's Notch is one of the best places from which northern Vermont's rolling landscape and striking greenery can be taken in during the spring and summer months. This 2,162-foot-high mountain pass can be reached via State Road 108, while traveling through Mt. Mansfield State Forest, and is located near Jeffersonville. At many places throughout the pass you can stop and park your car, get out, and enjoy the wonderful views of the surrounding picturesque forests as well as the valleys below. In the fall, the scenery changes colors from green to red, orange, auburn, and golden brown, making the rest stops prime overlook areas.
Scenic Overlooks in Central Vermont
Views of scenery similar to that seen from Smuggler's Notch can also be taken in along the Middlebury Gap Road. Pull over at a few of the rest stops along this stretch of State Road 125 and capture the stunning scenery Vermont's Green Mountain National Forest has to offer. True to its name, there's lots of greenery here in the spring and summer. In the fall however, the foliage is nothing short of spectacular, as it changes color from green to brown.
Scenic Overlooks in Southern Vermont
After an approximately five-mile long drive up to the top of Mt. Equinox, you will arrive at one of southern Vermont's best scenic overlooks. From the top of the more than 3,800-foot-tall mountain you can see 360-degrees around, into neighboring New York, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, and even Quebec, Canada to the north. These views are complemented by the picturesque peaks of five different mountain ranges spreading out in all directions.