By Phoebe Backler
Has your wanderlust returned with the spring? Come to northern New Hampshire for a true wilderness adventure! Only 3 hours north of Boston along I-93, Coos County, NH boasts exquisite mountains and rivers and historic Grand Hotels. While you are in the area, don’t miss…
- The Northern Forest Canoe Trail (NFCT), a 740-mile, internationally recognized inland paddling trail which traces historic travel routes from New York to Maine. The Trail traverses Coos County on 3 distinctive and beautiful rivers: the Connecticut, the Upper Amonoosuc and the Androscoggin. NFCT’s Travel Itineraries and Vacation Packages highlight some of the best ways to explore the area’s waterways (by canoe, kayak, whitewater raft and pontoon boat) as well as the visitor services available in the area. Many of the campgrounds listed are set up for RV’s.
- Before passing into Maine, the Northern Forest Canoe Trail crosses the Lake Umbagog National Wildlife Refuge, home to nesting bald eagles, loons and osprey. The refuge was ranked by the Boston Globe in 2009 as one of the top 10 paddling destinations in New England.
- The Connecticut River Byway snakes along one of the region’s mighty rivers once used to drive logs south to paper mills. North of Colebrook, NH the byway is known as Moose’s Alley; a prime stretch for observing grazing moose.
- If there are fishermen in your group, bring along a rod or two. The Connecticut Lakes are renowned for their landlocked salmon and lake trout. The Connecticut and Androscoggin rivers are also known far and wide by fishermen seeking wild brook, rainbow and brown trout.
- Heading east along Route 26 you will pass more excellent moose sighting spots, lovely waterfalls and the dramatic cliffs of Dixville Notch. The Notch is home to the Balsams Grand Resort Hotel, built in 1866 in an era when visitors traveled to the region by train and horseback to enjoy its natural splendor in luxury. Residents of Dixville Notch still vote in the Balsams’ Ballot Room; the first site in the nation to report primary voting results in Presidential Elections.
- Learn more about the region’s logging history in Berlin at the Northern Forest Heritage Park. This re-created, circa-1900 logging camp hosts several events including a Cultural Heritage Festival and River Day in June and a Lumberjack Competition and Festival in October. Narrated river boat trips on the Androscoggin River are operated seasonally.
Coos County’s spectacular wilderness adventures, quaint towns, and Grand Hotels are worthy of a visit from anywhere in the U.S.
About the Author
Phoebe Backler lives with her family in Milan, NH and has worked on economic development initiatives for the Northern Forest Canoe Trail since 2008.