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Kancamagus Highway New Hampshire

Kangamangus Highway NH &

Kancamangus Highway NH (Common Misspellings)



If you like nature and the mountains, the Kancamagus Highway (aka: "The Kanc," or misspelled as Kangamangus Highway and Kangamagus Highway) is a must see! The Kancamagus Highway, constructed in 1959 is traveled by over a million people each year. The Kancamagus Highway cuts a 34 mile east-west channel through the 800,000-acre White Mountain National Forest from Lincoln NH to Conway NH. When the dense trees change their leaves from their summer greens to breathtaking shades of yellow and red in the Fall, they are illuminated against the colorful  mountains, making this a dramatic and enjoyable leaf-peeping route. Motorcyclists relish the twists and turns as the highway climbs to almost 3,000 feet at the peak of Mount Kancamagus. The easily accessible trailheads and parking areas are often sought by hikers. The smooth and rocky swimming holes, carved by erosion, lure families craving relief from the summer heat.


Our trip to the Kancamagus Highway in New Hampshire was great, even in not so good weather, the mountain views and the swimming in the Swift River was very nice. This is definitely something to do and even enjoy in the rain in New Hampshire. The day we went, there were thunderstorms in the area. As you can see in our photo gallery for this trip, the weather didn't slow us down a bit!


During our 4 trips on a single day down the Kancamagus Highway, we saw different things on each 32 Mile pass we made. On our first trip down the highway, we found a quiet secluded area and went swimming in the Swift River. We were able to walk about 1/2 mile in the river before we reached areas that were (for one reason or another) not passable. The mountain fed river was cold at first, but after a few minutes became refreshing. The air is much cleaner in this area, the smell of Christmas trees (Spruce trees) fills the air. During our walk down the river, we did find a fresh set of Moose tracks along the shoreline (photo in our photo gallery). We had apparently just missed seeing a Moose!

Along our way, a tour of the Russell Colbath House was found to be a very interesting way to break up the long drive on the Kancamagus Highway. Built by sawmill operator Thomas Russell in 1832, the small home was inherited in 1887 by his granddaughter, Ruth Priscilla, and her husband, Thomas Alden Colbath. As the story goes....In 1891, Thomas Colbath left the house one day, telling Ruth he would return "in a little while." She hung a lantern in the window for Thomas, but he never returned. The lantern was placed out every evening for thirty-nine years as she awaited his return, but she never saw Thomas Colbath ever again. Three years after her death, Thomas Colbath finally did show up. Thomas Colbath's claims to the house were denied.


During another one of our many trips down the Kancamagus Highway, we decided to take a brief hike of less than half a mile to view the narrow flume and series of cascades and waterfalls that make up Sabbaday Falls, one of the Kancamagus Highway's most popular attractions. The "Sabbaday Falls" name came from the Sabbath Day. There are also 2 other well-known waterfalls along the Kancamagus Highway, Lower Falls and Rocky Gorge.


Years ago, the Kancamagus Highway would be closed for the Winter. It now remains open year round except during extreme weather.


Kancamagus Highway Webcam


Directions to the Kancamagus Highway in NH
From Rt. 93: Take NH Rt. 93 to exit 32 (RT. 112 Lincoln - follow signs for Kancamagus Highway) Rt. 112 is the Kancamagus Highway. At the end of the exit
ramp take a left onto RT.112. Rt. 112 will take you to the scenic part (The Kancamagus. Hwy
GPS Location: N44.051356 | W71.657808
From Rt. 16: Take Rt. 16 into Conway, NH. follow Rt. 16 until you see the sign for the Kancamagus Highway. There is a set of lights at the intersection of the Kancamagus Highway and Rt. 16
GPS Location: N43.979464 | W71.134600



Click Here to see the pictures of this trip!



Fast Facts About This Trip:
The Good:
  • The trip doesn't cost much. Even if you park, the fee is only $3.00. Camping is only $20/day in the camping areas along the Kancamagus Highway.
  • Lots of great mountain views!
  • Great place to go on a hot day. The Swift river is crystal clear.
  • Bathrooms in the parks
The Bad:
  • The weather didn't cooperate for best mountain viewing the day we went to the Kancamagus Highway, but even in bad weather, it's a nice place to visit.
The Ugly:
  • The bugs do get bad at times.
Tips to Remember:
  • Bring a few bucks for parking (cash)
  • There are NO businesses on the scenic part of the Kancamagus Highway.
  • There are some bus companies that offer bus tours of the Kancamagus Highway for Fall Foliage tours
  • Get gas before you get on the Kanc
  • Bring food and drinks
  • Bring towels and bathing suits
  • Water shoes make it easier to walk in the river
  • Most cell phones do not work
  • Take note of the emergency phone numbers posted o the signs - 911 is NOT one of them!
  • Even though the rivers and stream look very clean, do not drink the water in the streams of rivers along the Kancamagus. Parasites have been found in the water in the past.
  • Bring your fishing pole. There are Trout in the rivers.
  • Bring bug repellant!


The Kancamagus Highway in NH is often misspelled. Common misspellings include: Kancamangus Highway, Kangamagus Highway, Kangamangus Hiway, Kancamagnus Highway and Cangamagus Highway.








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