It just keeps getting better the further north you go. The White Mountains of New Hampshire are excellent for hiking and multiday treks, but on our road trip we went beyond the Whites to the Great North Woods. Here you’ll find lakes echoing with loons, quiet spots for canoeing, rivers for fly fishing, smaller mountains for hiking, and even get to spot a moose if you’re lucky.
Our first stop was Lake Francis, a few miles from the small town of Pittsburg, NH. We camped at Lake Francis State Park for two nights. If you’ve never heard it, the call of the loon is something prehistoric sounding. To spend the night camping close to the lake means you’ll hear the loons—definitely a reason to stop here for a few days. The lake is pristine, excellent for swimming and even better for taking a canoe out, which can be rented at the state park. The shore is surrounded by trees the whole way around and there’s very little sign of development anywhere.
Check out the video of Lake Francis I put together with the help of Runaway Juno :
Back Lake is another beautiful lake in the region, although it’s one surrounded by cabins and cottages. Here we stayed for two days at the Tall Timber Lodge—a nice, rustic accommodation for guests of all budgets. Most importantly for travel bloggers was the availability of wireless internet. At a location where most folks unwind—sit around camp fires, go fishing, take a paddle boat out—I pulled out my laptop and enjoyed the tranquil atmosphere and the views from the lakeside lodge while working. When I needed a break, I walked outside along the lake shore and visited the ducks. Attached to the lodge is the very popular Rainbow Grill, which serves outstanding food.
This is moose country—so much so they even call US Route 3 Moose Alley. Did we see a moose? No. We even went driving at dusk, the best time to look for moose. The Connecticut Lakes are between Lake Francis and the Canadian border. There are campgrounds up here and plenty of cabins and cottages to stay at. You can follow US Route 3 all the way to Canada. This was our route where we breezed through customs and entered Quebec. Moose Alley also has opportunities for long-distance hiking (162 miles) on the Cohos Trail or miles of snowmobiling trails in the winter.
I got the impression that New Hampshire’s Great North Woods and Moose Alley are both under-visited and underrated—a great place to leave the tourists of the White Mountains behind and get some peace and quiet and quality time in the outdoors.
*Special thanks to Runaway Juno and New Hampshire Tourism for their help with organizing our trip through northern New Hampshire.