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Franconia Notch
Winter Activities Winter Activities

Courtsey Photo: The Franconia Inn

Things to do

Winter Activities

Alpine Skiing | Dogsled Rides & Tours | Christmas Around Franconia Notch Cross Country Skiing | Ice Climbing | Ice Skating | Sleigh Rides | Snow Boarding | Snowmobiling | Snowshoeing | Snow Tubing


Winter is an exhilarating time to be in the Franconia Notch Region- the perfect home base for all types of winter sports and activities. Skiing, the official sport of New Hampshire, offers one of the best way to enjoy winter. Alpine and cross country skiing share the slopes with snow boarders and twenty-first century snow toys that provide a whole new way to play. Snowtubing, a new twist on sliding, makes snow time fun time for all ages. Vacation lodges and inns have been known to break out toboggans and sleds, well worn by generations of use, on close-by hillsides for guests. Seasoned hunters, trackers and guides still strap on hand crafted snowshoes well shellaced with age, though recreational snowshoeing has made a comeback, thanks in part to the introduction of lighter, smaller snowshoes. Winter climbing and hiking enable enthusiasts to see a side of Franconia Notch and the rest of the Whites few know. Snowmobilers ride some of the finest, most picturesque and extensive snowmobiling trails in the East that provide round trips to border states and Canada in a day. Bobhouses,the traditional haunts for ice fishing, dot frozen lakes; skaters etch icy outlines on rinks, ponds and indoor arenas while others take stick in hand and head to a pickup game of hockey. Winter brings the old-fashioned pleasure of a sleigh or wagon ride. Lots of snow and water brings out the artistry in kids and adults alike. Winter in Franconia Notch means snowmen (and snow families) in backyards while creative snow sculptures are judged and celebrated at winter carnivals and festivals throughout the season for any reason. It's snow- and generations of kids have analyzed the fine art of the perfect snowball, only to be bested in a fun game of exchanges from the cover of well constructed snow forts and walls. And for some, when it comes to winter activities, you can't beat apres ski and cozy firesides. 
 
ALPINE SKIING Alpine Skiing
The first moments of the first morning of the first run- this is the fun and adventure of skiing legacies left to us by skiing's long history as each winter brings us an increasing number of ways to enjoy winter, and to race against each other on snow. The people from the Telemark area of Norway have been largely credited with developing skiing into a sport by inventing the Telemark and Christiana (now known as the Christie) turns as methods of artfully controlling speeds on downhill descent, thus leading to the birth of Alpine skiing. Since then, equipment manufacturers have developed faster and safer equipment, and athletes combine this new equipment with better training and technique to continuously improve the sport. Of all the disciplines, downhill skiing captures it all in its thrilling descents in varying degree of difficulty or ease, whether for fun, leisure, or competition. As skiing can be enjoyed for a lifetime, Alpine skiing has grown rapidly in popularity among the young learning to be future champions and those who will enjoy invigorating outdoor winters on the slopes for years to come- comfortable with the familiar cry from their own early days of Alpine skiing- "First one down the hill wins"!
 
Bretton Woods Ski Area
Located on Route 302, in Bretton Woods, (30 minutes Northeast from Franconia Village), Bretton Woods is NH's largest ski area and #1 overall in the state according to SKI magazine readers- with 464 acres of skiing and snowboarding, including 102 trails and glades, as well as four terrain parks. Nine lifts, including four high-speed quads, make your ride up the mountain almost as fun as the ride down. Voted "Number One in the East for Weather" by SKI magazine the last three years, if there's snow falling, chances are we've got it - or we can make it with snowmaking on 92% of our trails. A full-service ski school, rental shop, night skiing and riding and a new indoor climbing wall are also offered. The Bretton Woods Canopy Tour descends over 1000 feet of elevation, taking nature-lovers and thrill-seekers across a series of tree-top zip lines, sky bridges and rappels, and is one of the longest zip line canopy tours in New England. Suspension bridges and hiking trails connect the nine zip lines, and the tour concludes with the Williwaw Racing Zip, a dual, side-by-side zip line leading right into the Bretton Woods base area! The year-round Bretton Woods Canopy is open daily.

Cannon Mountain Ski Area
Located on Route 93 in Franconia Notch State Park, Cannon Mountain is a legend among skiers/riders in the Northeast renowned not only for its terrain, but for its striking natural beauty. With its heart-stopping "front five" and old-style New England trails and glades on Upper Cannon, the mountain has always been a favorite of advanced skiers and riders. Easy to see why America voted CANNON!  Best Value in the East" by SKI Magazine Readers' Poll, 5 of the Top10's in SKI Magazine 2009 and 4 Top 10's in SnowEast Magazine 2009.  And it's all in Franconia Notch State Park, voted as "7th Most Beautiful State Park in America" - .  The Tuckerbrook family area, separated from the rest of the mountain, offers 9 trails of lift-accessed terrain geared specifically to beginners, low intermediate skiers and riders and provides an excellent learning experience. With 97% snowmaking in support of 150 inches of natural snowfall annually, 55 trails for skiing and boarding, plus winter hiking and ice climbing, as well as snowmobiling in Franconia Notch, Cannon Mountain is a blast! Call the Snowphone for current conditions: 603-823-7771.

Loon Mountain
Located 20 minutes South of Franconia Notch at 60 Loon Moumtain Road in Lincoln, NH, and just a two-hour drive from Boston,  Loon Mountain offers a world of winter excitement for guests visiting for the day or staying in one of the many hotels, inns, or condominiums around town.  With a wide variety of terrain, a slope-side spa, the Adventure Center, and countless other on and off-hill activities, it’s also a place where everyone, from the most avid skier to those who have never stepped foot into a pair of bindings, can have fun. With 2,100 Vertical Feet, 55 Trails, 12 Lifts and 336 Acres,  Loon Mountain offers night skiing for the ultimate exhileration of New Hampshire's #1 winter activity,  603-745-6281. 

Other Ski Areas near by

Waterville Valley Ski Resort
1 Ski Area Road . PO Box 540
Waterville Valley, NH
30 minutes South of Franconia Notch

Burke Mountain Ski Area
223 Sherburne Lodge Road
East Burke, VT
45 minutes Northwest from Franconia Village

CROSS COUNTRY SKIING 
Nordic skiing is one of the fastest growing winter sports because it's easy to learn, not complicated, doesn't require a lot of gear- and its affordable. Did we mention invigorating? Cross country skiing is as energetic as you want it to be; kick and glide along well marked scenic trails, or carve your own route through wooded areas leading to snowy fields and and frozen ponds that can be easily traversed. Ski areas and resorts maintain cross country ski trails for all family members to extend their vacation experience along with beginners, ski mavens and weekend warriors. And best of all? It's just good, healthy fun!

Bretton Woods 
Bretton Woods Nordic Center is one of the largest cross country areas in the East. The 100-km trail network crosses open fields, meanders through woods of spruce and fir, passes beaver ponds and mountain streams, and traverses open hardwood stands. Enjoy classical and skate skiing or snowshoeing on trails painstakingly prepared with our state of the art groomers. And don't forget to stop off at the warming yurt or the rustic, backcountry cabin on Mount Stickney.  Contact Information: 603-278-3322 - snow phone: 603-278-4414 - groups: 603-278-8970.

Franconia Inn
At the base of the Western Whites on Route 116 leading from Franconia village, the Franconia Village Cross Country Ski Center at the Franconia Inn offer unparalleled scenic vistas amidst a variety of beginner to expert terrain. This extraordinary Inn is the epitome of a winter sport and recreation arena, providing a XC Ski Center, lighted ice skating rink, sledding and tubing hill, horse-drawn sleigh rides and an outdoor Jacuzzi. Ski, Skate and snowshoe equipment rentals are available. Call 800-473-5299 for information and ski conditions.
 
With 35 kilometers of nordic trails winding along the Pemigewasset River on the east side of Loon, there are trails for every ability. a Bombardier groomer maintains one of the finest trail systems in the region.  Trails are groomed and tracked with the exception of steeps which are only groomed.  Currently there is no parking at our trail head which is located 2 miles from the Adventure Center.  The Adventure Center offers complimentary shuttle service to the trail system, which runs on the hour from 9a.m. to 4p.m.  Loon Mountain offers a world of winter excitement for guests visiting for the day or those staying in one of the many hotels, inns, or condominiums around town.  With a wide variety of terrain, a slope-side spa, the Adventure Center, and countless other on and off-hill activities, it’s also a place where everyone from the most avid glide and stride aficionados to the beginners of any age can enjoy cross country skiing.  A Trail fee applies; rentals and instruction available for all. Tel: 603-745-8111.
 
The Rocks Estate
Located on Route 302 off Exit 40 from I-93 in Bethlehem, NH, the Rocks Estate houses several miles of trails. We encourage you to visit and hike one of our 4 trails, which are open 365 days per year, each day from dawn til dusk. The Forest Society welcomes foot traffic, snowshoeing, and cross-country skiing. We ask you refrain from using wheeled or motorized vehicles. For more information visit the kiosk located behind the barn.  603-444.6228.

Sunset Hill on Sugar Hill
Sunset Hill House, located on Sunset Hill Road from Route 117 in Sugar Hill, offers rejuvenating cross country skiing around the natural terrain of the oldest golf course in New Hampshire atop Sunset Hill, unique in its 360 degree clear views of the entire White Mountain ranges, Green Mountains of Vermont and parts of Canada. Touted as "A Grand Inn" and famous for its hospitality awards, many amenities are available. Bring your dog for the exercise, pets are welcome!

Franconia Touring Center Trails
These XC touring trails can be accessed at Franconia Inn, Sunset Hill House or Wells Road in Franconia.  All access trailsCross Country from these touring center locations connect to 60 km Cannon Mountain X-C trails- 35 of which are kept groomed and tracked. A trail fee applies. Rental equipment is available at the Franconia Sports Shop, a full service four-season sporting goods in Franconia village. 603-823-5241.

Franconia Notch Recreation Trail
One of the main attractions of the White Mountains, this 9 mile paved bike path goes through Franconia State Park, passing Echo Lake, the Old Man of the Mountain historical site, the Basin, and the Flume Gorge. Highly recommended by winter recreation aficionados for its multiple use, the Notch's Recreation Trail is a winter mecca for snowshoeing and cross country skiing. To access the path from the North, the parking lot and bike path begins on the right after entering Route 3 North to Twin Mountain (Exit 35 from I-93 N). From the south, park in the Flume Gorge lot at Exit 34A off I-93. The trail starts on the very left side. To enjoy the best of this trail, park at one end and leave your car at the other parking lot. The best challenge for a round trip begins by entering the trail from the Flume Gorge parking lot. Bike rentals are available in Franconia and Lincoln.

Pemi-Trail
This popular XC trail in Franconia Notch along the I-93 Parkway, has a beginner rating with variations that easily protect the level of difficulty The distance varies from your starting point, one of five places in the Notch from parking lots (or areas). Park your car and jump on the trail from the right side lot at Exit 34B, the lot South of Profile Lake, Lafayette Campground lot, the lot at the Basin or the Liberty Springs parking lot. The Pemi-Trail roughly parallels the river, the highway and the bike trail.

Other CX Trails Within The Area

Lincoln Woods, Route 112E, Lincoln, NH
8 Kilometers of nice scenery tracked and groomed in the White Mountain National Forest.

Beaver Brook Trail System
Rt. 3, 15 miles north of Lincoln, NH. 3 trails, 15 Kilometers total, usually tracked with some views in the White Mountain National Forest. 

DOGSLED RIDES & TOURS 
Located in the heart of the White Mountains in Jefferson, NH, Muddy Paw Sled Dog Kennel specializes in providing dogsledding adventures through our dog sled tours, clinics, with an emphasis on education, hands-on activities and fun!   Tours aren't just sitting in the sled and going for a ride, but rather involve interacting with dogs, and learning aspects of a culture that many people just don't get to experience. However, if you prefer to have a relaxing ride, that's fine as well! Our experienced mushers love to share their knowledge and skill, operating warm weather activities as well.  Sled dog tours are offered at 4 locations; home in Jefferson, at the Rocks Estate in Bethlehem, NH, Mt. Washington Resort in Bretton Woods, NH and Smuggler's Notch in VT.  Book your adventure today or contact th Kennel to add dogsledding tours to your unique outdoors activities! 

ICE CLIMBING Ice Climbing
Franconia Notch is perfect for an introduction to the frozen side of New England Climbing. Beginners and experts alike can find challenging climbs. Whether you are looking for some casual winter mountaineering in search of pillars and curtains, a short top-rope climb or a long multi-pitch ice climb on a face high in the mountains, the White Mountains has everything to suit your needs. Winter is magnificent in its beauty, but it is also harsh. Although the mountains are relatively low in elevation they are credited with some of the fiercest weather conditions on earth. Utilize the experience of a guide, be prepared for everything and be safe, but most of all enjoy.

For more climbs in the region go to www.Neclimbs.com.
 
ICE SKATING 
3,000 years ago, Scandinavians perfected the art of skating by strapping blades made of deer or elk bones to their boots. Ice skating has evolved into two highly athletic and competitive sports, figure skating and ice hockey. Yet nothing can match the thrill of recreational skating at a local park, or neighborhood backyard rink. Since the invention of a single blade attached to a boot, the athleticism of ice skating has combined with all the skills of dance, gymnastics, speed and team sport competition. But it all starts with donning the skates and finding the skills to maneuver in runs and glides, forward and backward. Take it to any level from "crack the whip" to figure 8's, a race among friends or a pick-up hockey game. And Don't forget the romance in ice skating on crisp winter moonlit nights. Ice skating is more fun with a partner at any level- those Olympic doubles and dance teams all started the same way.
 
Ice Skating at Loon Mountain is on a natural, outdoor rink taking skaters back to the wonder and joy of the adventure of recreational skating remembered from many childhood days spent "cracking the whip" or holding mittoned hands with your favorite partner.  And New Hampshire Naturally affected by the weather.  Rental skates available; please call ahead toll-free at 800-229-5666 to confirm the rink is open.

Public Rinks
Franconia rink right behind the Abbie Greenleaf Library, Main Street, Franconia
Bethlehem, NH at intersection of Routes 302 & 142
Remich Park in Littleton, NH, Turn up Pleasant St by the movie theater, turn left on Oak Hill Ave.

Indoor Ice Skating
Chester Ice Arena Ice Skating Rink
College Rd., Lyndon Center, VT 05850
(802) 626-9361

SLEIGH RIDES 
Just hearing the words "sleigh ride" conjures up nostalgic memories and sounds; bells jingling, hooves marking time over crunchy snow, smells of winter floral and pine along moonlit paths and hunkering under layers of warm robes. Though a lost art of transportation necessity, sleighs and horse-drawn wagons enjoy a popular renaissance around the winter holidays, often lasting through Valentine's Day in the White Mountains. Vacationers and visitors alike plan ahead to be sure their winter activity experience includes the rhythmic whispering swoosh of sleigh runners.

Franconia Inn

The Rocks Estate

Mount Washington Hotel, Bretton Woods, NH

SNOW BOARDING
The development of snowboarding was inspired by surfing and skateboarding as an additional athletic challenge for winter's special season. The sport shares superficial similarities with skiing for its special boot set into a mounted binding, thus providing the best venue for this newest adventure- alpine ski slopes. Developed in the United States in the 1960s and 1970s, this competitive and innovative board sport became a Winter Olympic Sport in 1998.


Cannon Mountain Ski Area

What Cannon is to skiers applies to snowboard enthusiasts as well. Many feel the challenge and thrill of Cannon's terrain is intensified on a snowboard while freeriding or freestyling. It is all possible on Cannon, from its lower easy trails to those starting from the top- and you can load your board on the Tram and ride up. There is something about the word downhill that seems to be a huge understatement when traversing the home slopes of past Olympic and world champions. You just might share a run or a bust with a future champ this winter- it's Cannon!
Snow Boarding 
Loon Mountain 
For those seeking the exceptional and exilerating half pipe, it's located 20 minutes South of Franconia Notch at 60 Loon Moumtain Road in Lincoln, NH, and just a two-hour drive from Boston,  Loon Mountain offers a world of winter excitement for guests visiting for the day or staying in one of the many hotels, inns, or condominiums around town.  With a wide variety of terrain, a slope-side spa, the Adventure Center, and countless other on and off-hill activities.  Its a place where everyone from the most avid snowboarder to those who have never stepped onto one can have fun among the 2, 100 Vertical Feet, 55 Trails, 12 Lifts and 336 Acres. 

Other snow boarding areas near by:

Bretton Woods-Bretton Woods NH - Distance: 30 minutes from Franconia

Burke Mountain-Burke VT - Distance: 45 minutes from Franconia

SNOWMOBILING Snowmobiling
With over 100 miles of trails located in and near Franconia Notch State Park, snowmobiling enthusiast can spend the day- or night- sledding on trails in and around the most beautiful scenery in New England. Northern New Hampshire's trail system is well maintained by local snowmobile clubs as well as New Hampshire Trails Bureau under the NH Division of Parks and Recreation. Many well-planned trail rides and weekends take ardent machine sledders across state lines into Vermont and Maine. The favorite trails since the first snowmachines were introduced to the North Country were carved through Pittsburg with easy access to Canada where this recreational sport thrives and Canadian hospitality welcomes snowmobilers from below the border. 

Franconia Notch Recreation Trail
This 9 mile paved bike path goes through Franconia State Park, Echo Lake, the Old Man of the Mountain, the Basin, and the Flume Gorge- one of the main attractions of the White Mountains.. This is a multi-use trail for snowshoeing, cross country skiing and snowmobiling. To access the path in the north, the parking lot and bike path starts at the lot on the right just after you enter Rte 3 north to Twin Mountain Exit 35 from I-93 north. To start the trail from the south, park at the Flume Gorge parking lot at Exit 34A off I-93, go all the way over to the left and you will see the start. The best way to enjoy this trail it to start at one end and leave your car at the other parking lot, north to south. The best way to do the trail round trip is to start at The Flume parking lot.

SNOWSHOEING Snow Shoeing
Snow too deep to hike? Step into a pair of snowshoes and enjoy a peaceful winter walk. Whether you travel gentle groomed trails or rugged mountain terrains, you are in for a treat. The spectacular winter wonderland of New Hampshire is at your doorstep. Snowshoeing is a great way to enjoy the winter scenery in New Hampshire. All is calm and peaceful until all of a sudden a partridge swoops out of its hiding place in a cloud of snow or a snowshoe hare darts out from the underbrush. You are in for a special treat if you come across a bedded herd of deer.
Snowshoes can be rented at many of the New Hampshire cross country centers and alpine areas. There is only one prerequisite for snowshoeing, go somewhere where no one else has been.

 
Explore Loon's network of cross-country trails on snowshoes. Rental equipment and appropriate usage instructions available at the Adventure Center. Guided Snowshoe Tours of the summit are available for weekends and holidays.  Tour includes gondola access to the summit where you'll enjoy two hours of wooded, off-piste snowshoeing with Loon's guides. The tour offers spectacular views of Mt. Washington as well as the surrounding valley and peaks. This tour is designed for the intermediate snowshoer with challenging terrain but rewarding views.  Participants have the option of riding the gondola back to the base, or snowshoeing to the base on our ski trails.  Guided Base Area Tours are also offered weekends and holidays. Explore the trails along the Pemigewasset River and discover winter's wonderland. This tour is designed for the infrequent snowshoer with gentle terrain at a casual pace.  Rental equiment is available; . Reservations are required; call 603-745-6281 ext. 5562 for time and rates.
 
Still Waters Run Deep Kayaking, Hiking & Snowshoe Tours
GUIDED TOURS - $55, that includes all the necessary equipment, a ride to and from the mountain, and a light lunch, snacks and waters. Hikes and snow shoe trips always start from the home base, located at 376 Coppermine Road, Monroe, NH. The trips are as close as right out the back door, or as far away as a 50 minute ride in the Still Waters Chevy Suburban. The snow shoe trail from the home base follows a beautiful brook ravine, where animal tracks and the sounds of the water are included in the natural beauty. There are places to sit and rest along the way. Many of the hikes and snow shoe adventures start out with a ride on the roads less traveled, to places less patronized. Sitting back and letting us show you the remoteness and beauty of these ponds and mountains is half the fun! The trips are geared toward the moderately athletic person, who does some type of regular exercise or daily walking. Rarely do we climb any mountains over 3,000. feet. If your life style does not allow you to get out and move in the fresh air, then before joining us, we suggest, with your doctors approval, that you work up to walking approximately 2 miles or 30 minutes per day. If you are using a treadmill, don't forget to add some hills to your routine! Looking forward to guiding your group or having you join one of ours!
 
The Rocks Estate
Located on Route 302, from Exit 40 off I-93 in Bethlehem, NH- The Rocks Estate houses several miles of trails. We encourage you to visit and hike one of our 4 trails, which are open 365 days per year, each day from dawn til dusk. The Forest Society welcomes foot traffic, snowshoeing, and cross-country skiing. We ask you refrain from using wheeled or motorized vehicles. For more information visit the kiosk located behind the barn.  603-444-6228.
 
Fox Hill Park- Franconia
Take Route 18 South toward Cannon Mountain, proceed to the first left after intersection of Routes 116 and 18- Dow Road. Cross the bridge, head straight and Fox Hill Park is on the left about ? mile. There are two trails there- the scenic trail and the Gale River Trail.

Franconia Notch Bicycle Path-Franconia Notch State Park
Distance: 9 miles, Rating:Beginner

This 9 mile paved bike path goes through Franconia State Park and passes Echo Lake, the Old Man of the Mountain, the Basin, and the Flume Gorge-is one of the main attractions of the White Mountains.. This is a multi use trail, snowshoeing, cross country skiing & snowmobiling. To access the path in the north the parking lot and bike path start is at the lot on the right just after you enter Rte 3 north to Twin Mountain Exit 35 from Rte 93 north. To start the trail from the south you can park at the Flume Gorge parking lot Exit 34A off Rte 93, go all the way over to the left and you will see the start. The best way to enjoy this trail is to start at one end and leave your car at the other parking lot, north to south. The best way to do the trail round trip is to start at The Flume parking lot. There are bike rental places in both Lincoln & Franconia.

SNOW TUBING Snow Tubing
Not all winter sports have to be expensive. Grab an inner tube and find a hill. You'd be amazed at the fun. Tubing has found its renaissance in the hills of the Franconia Notch region. Whether you trek up your snow covered obstacle on foot or indulge in a lift ride, you're in for a thrill. It's great fun for both children and adults- daytime or night. No experience necessary! Check your destination resort for availability and enjoy one of summer's favorite water sports gone winter!

 
Loon Mountain
Tubing is located at the Little Sister Chairlift on the east side of Loon Mountain, adjacent to the Octagon Lodge (20 minutes South of Franconia Notch at 60 Loon Moumtain Road in Lincoln, and just a two-hour drive from Boston).  Both lift-serviced and walk-up service are available. Tubes are rented by the hour. Please note: You must be 8 years old or older to use the chairlift for tubing. Only Loon-issued tubes will be allowed on hill. Tubing is continuous from day to night, offering 7 tubing sessions daily! All tubes are steerable and stoppable! Loon also offers a terrific Tot tubing area located at the base of Little Sister. This area is for anyone under 8 years of age.  Days of Operation:  Tubing is open daily from noon to 8:00pm, depending upon weather. Please call ahead 603-745-6281 x 5509.
 
 
 


Cannon Winter Callout

Loon Winter Callout

Ski Bretton Woods

Lupine Celebration

Franconia Notch Region Chamber
Franconia Notch Region Chamber