Fall is quite possibly the most beautiful time of the year to visit the White Mountains Hostel. When the leaves start to change to bright orange, yellow and red the whole valley and the mountainsides just lighten up. You can’t help but gaze at the views all around this area.
The air turns crisp and there is often a slight breeze. This is a perfect time to go hiking. You won’t be as warm and will need to pack a few more layers than you did in July and August. When you reach your trailhead and start hiking in you will notice a distinct smell in the air; the smell of Fall, of leaves gathering on the forest floor beginning to compost and return to soil. When you reach the top of your mountain the view all around will be bursting with color, it is a sight not to be missed for sure! For hiking and map information, we have resources here at the hostel and quite a bit of experience of our own to share but right around the corner at the beginning of the Kanc is the Saco Ranger Station where they have countless maps of the area and a wealth of knowlegdge to pass on. Some of our favorite hikes near by the hostel are the Moat Mountains, Mount Chocorua, and White Face.
Another great activity in fall is riding your bike. Whether it’s a road bike or a mountain bike it’s wonderful to get out there in the cool, dry weather and put some miles in the saddle. We have endless trail systems for single track from beginner to intermediate levels to keep you having fun! If you’re a hardcore mountain biker we would recommend heading about 15 minutes north of the hostel to Attitash Mountain Resort. There are over 20 trails to choose from and they are difficult to advanced in nature. You have access to the chairlift and you can spend he day ripping it up. If you’re not as advanced of a mountain biker and would rather an intermediate option there is a great system of trails just 10 mins from the hostel off of Rt 16 on Thompson Rd behind the Settlers Green outlet shopping center called Pudding Pond Area. There are 20 miles of trails there including the Sticks and Stones Trail the singletrack system started with. It’s a great place if you want to stay on flat fast trails or head up a great assent to fly back down again. Now if you’re just getting into this sport and want to try some beginner trails, you can head north to Jackson about 45 minutes from the hostel to the Great Glen Trails. There you will find a nice and easy trail system to get used to being on your mountain bike, it’s also a great place for kids and families to enjoy this sport together.
Road biking or cycling can be done right from the hostel. We can send you on some great loops in the area. They will all deliver great hills and phenomenal views no matter what direction you head in! (NEED MILAGE for these three loops!) There’s the Westside Rd to North South road which will take you on a beautiful country road where you’ll pass farms and horses and see beautiful Cathedral Ledge and White horse right from your saddle. North South road will then take you behind all of the North Conway village and outlets then back to the Hostel. Another great loop is the Kanc, to Passaconway road to Westside road. This will take you along the river for most of the ride, with beautiful sites of rushing water and coniferous trees surrounding you and their smell is lovely. If you’re feeling ambitious the loop to take your road bike on is up the Kanc and over Bear Notch road and back down 302 to Upper Westside road and back to the hostel. The Kanc is beautiful and goes along the river then going over Bear Notch Rd, (which is closed in winter!) is a feast for your eyes, especially in Fall. You will look North to the mountains in Crawford Notch, there are a few pull off spots to rest and gaze at the view. When you turn off of Bear Notch you will be in the quaint little town of Bartlett, if you need a break and some refreshments stop at Bart’s Deli and General Store. They make delicious sandwiches and you can refuel on electrolytes while you’re at it!
If you couldn’t bring your own bike you’re still in luck with some great places to rent mountain bikes in the area. Bob and Terry’s sport shop rents mountain bikes and hybrid bikes for $25/day, or $20/half day, or $8/hour. Stan and Dan sport shop also rents mountain bikes. And Red Jersey Cyclery rents mountain bikes and road bikes, they also offer repair and maintenance services. All three of these great small businesses are located right in North Conway just a few minutes from the hostel. We can also give some good tips on where to go and you can safely store your bike here at the hostel.
If you’re not up for a physically challenging adventure but you want to see the beautiful sights the best thing to do is go for a drive. Scenic driving around here is a great way to see beautiful views and vistas anytime of the year but expecially in Fall. On many roads you go on there are branches and leaves overhanging the road and you’ll be surrounded by the amazing colors, the views along the Kancamaugus, up Crawford Notch and Pinkham Notch. And when you see a sight or view so beautiful and start to slow down on the road to look at it you will be doing what the locals here call ‘rubber neckin’!! There are many places to stop, pull off of the road and look at a view and we highly recommend doing that.
There are a lot of events in the White Mountains in Fall. Get your back to school shopping done or get a head start on the holiday shopping at the Annual Labor Day Sidewalk Sale at Settlers Green. It runs from September 4th-7th and you’re sure to find some great sales and it’s only five minutes from the White Mountains Hostel. If you’re a runner don’t miss the longest relay race in the country; Reach The Beach starting at Cannon Mountain in Franconia Notch, NH and ending at Hampton Beach, NH on September 11th and 12th. The Highland Games and Festival is not to be missed with events running from September 18-20 with Celtic Music, Highland Dance Competitions, Bag Piping and more. It’s a 45 minute drive up to Lincoln Nh from the White Mountains Hostel.
One of my most favorite parts of Fall in New England are the Fairs. The Fryeburg Fair is only about 20 minutes from the Hostel and runs from October 4-11 this year and is a wicked fun time! Whether you just want to eat fried dough and sausage subs or you like to look at the animals or go on the rides it’s sure to be a fun time! Another great Fall Fair a little further away from the Hostel, 45 minutes is The Sandwich Fair. It’s smaller than Fryeburg Fair but still has all of the food, animals, games and fun in a beautiful little town.