9 places to see the best fall foliage in New Hampshire

Fall Foliage in New Hampshire
The high elevation of Sugar Hill, New Hampshire, in September 1998, means early fall color. Franconia Notch is in the background. –Tom Herde / Globe Staff

New Englanders don’t have to travel far to see beautiful fall foliage. Orange and gold is either taking over your backyard or a short day trip away. Here are some of New Hampshire’s best spots for leaf peeping, according to the state’s Office of Travel and Tourism.

Sugar Hill Fall Foliage
Sugar Hill. —Lorna Colquhoun

Sugar Hill

Known as the “newest town in New Hampshire” for being the state’s most recently founded town (1962), Sugar Hill overlooks the White Mountain National Forest in Grafton County. Visitors will find stunning views of the Presidential, Franconia, Kinsman, and Dalton ranges.

Stinson Lake Fall Foliage
Stinson Lake. —Lorna Colquhoun

Stinson Lake

This 342-acre lake, located in Rumney, is beautiful year-round, but especially when dusted with fall colors. It’s also the largest lake in the White Mountain National Forest.

Sharon Sunset in Fall
Sharon Ledges. —Green Lion Photography

Sharon Ledges

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The Sharon Ledges at Temple Mountain are known for their hiking trail, but also for their awe-inspiring sights during the peak of fall foliage. The ledges overlook the surrounding forest and Lilliputian homes below. The breathtaking summit welcomes visitors with panoramic views of mounts Watatic and Monadnock.

Mount Monadnock Fall Foliage
Mount Monadnock. —Green Lion Photography

Mount Monadnock

Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau wrote about this mountain often in their search to be closer to nature. The mountain, located in Jaffrey, was a beautiful place to them, even if it wasn’t fall, so bring a pen and paper with you just in case you get inspired by the changing leaves.

Jefferson Leaf Peeping
Jefferson. —Lorna Colquhoun

Jefferson

This town—with a population of just over 1,000—may be short on people, but it’s big on fall foliage. Enjoy the views set amid quiet farms and the White Mountain forests.

Foss Mountain looking at Silver Lake.
Foss Mountain looking at Silver Lake. —Courtesy of the New Hampshire Office of Tourism

Foss Mountain

See landscapes and leaves from all directions when you reach the northern peak of this mountain, in Eaton. It also features a long, open ridge, which is home to a quaint alpaca farm (603-447-6548 to set up a visit) that spins its own wool.

Toho Beach in Fall
Toho Beach at the Purity Spring Resort. —Dan Houde

Purity Spring Resort

For more than 100 years, this family-run business (1251 Eaton Rd., Route 153, Madison, New Hampshire; 603-367-8896) has been a destination for travelers looking to spend time in nature between the Lakes Region and the White Mountains. The resort’s pristine lake looks like a photo from a postcard when the leaves start to change. 

Eaton Fall Foliage
Eaton. —Wiseguy Creative

Eaton

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Check out some stunning foliage in this small, quiet town before heading to a delicious dinner at the popular Snowvillage Inn (136 Stewart Rd., Eaton Center, New Hampshire; 603-447-2818), which earned a 2016 Certificate of Excellence from Trip Advisor.

Bretton Woods Zipline in Fall
Bretton Woods Zipline. —Courtesy of the New Hampshire Office of Tourism

Bretton Woods

This area within the town of Carroll is best known for being home to the historic Mount Washington Resort (310 Mount Washington Hotel Rd., Bretton Woods, New Hampshire; 603-278-1000), one of the few surviving “grand hotels” along the White Mountains. Take a canopy tour from the resort for a bird’s-eye-view of fall’s stunning colors and the Bretton Woods ski area.

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