New Hampshire has a lot to offer landscape and nature photographers, including rugged mountains, lakes, waterfalls, deep gorges, and an abundance of unspoiled nature that is waiting to be experienced. While there are countless photographic opportunities throughout the state, on this page we’ll highlight some of the best locations. The interactive map below shows the location of each spot mentioned on this page.
This page will continue to be a work in progress, so please feel free to leave a comment with your own suggestions of great places to photograph.
The White Mountains, part of the northern Appalachian Mountains, occupy a significant portion of New Hampshire and include some of the most noteworthy destinations for nature lovers and photographers. Much of the area is part of White Mountain National Forest, and there are also several state parks within the White Mountains. Below we’ll look at some specific points within the White Mountains that are great locations for photographers, and you may also want to try one of these scenic drives.
Mount Washington is located in the norther part of the White Mountain National Forest, and is in the Presidential Range of the White Mountains. Mount Washington is the highest peak in the northeastern U.S. and often experience extreme weather, including very high winds. It is a popular with hikers the Appalachian Trail crosses the summit), but you can also drive to the peak using the Mount Washington Auto Road, a 7+ mile road that starts east of the mountain at New Hampshire Route 16. Mount Washington makes an excellent subject for photos, or you can reach the summit and capture the surrounding area and other peaks.
Crawford Notch is located southwest of Mount Washington. It is a steep gorge of the Saco River that provides great views and beautiful scenery. Crawford Notch State Park includes almost 6,000 acres with hiking trails, mountain views, and waterfalls.
Located within Crawford Notch State Park. Arethusa Falls can be reached by a 1.5 mile hike. The hike is well worth the effort, as you will be rewarded with a view of the beautiful 140-foot waterfall. The trailhead is located on Route 302.
Bemis Brook Falls
Bemis Brook Falls is a series of small cascades that can be seen on the way to Arethusa Falls. While it is not a large waterfall, it is quite picturesque.
Franconia Ridge Trail and Franconia Notch State Park
The Franconia Ridge Trail is part of Franconia Notch State Park, which is located in the western side of White Mountain National Forest. Franconia Ridge Trail is a popular, but challenging, trail that provides stunning mountain views. Franconia Notch State Park has several noteworthy features that are mentioned below, and it is definitely a great place for photographers.
Falling Waters Trail
Falling Waters Trail is also within Franconia Notch State Park, and the Franconia Ridge Loop includes both the Franconia Ridge Trail and Falling Waters Trail. The Falling Waters Trail offers views of several waterfalls. The Franconia Ridge Loop is about 8 miles long.
The Pemigewasset River starts at Profile Lake within Franconia Notch State Park, and flows for about 60 miles. Within the park you can capture some beautiful photos of the river.
Located within Franconia Notch State Park, Flume Gorge is a 12-20 foot wide gorge with 70-90 feet walls. A boardwalk leads you through the gorge and a longer two-mile hike is also available.
Cannon Mountain is a popular skiing destination that is a part of Franconia Notch State Park. It was also formerly the home of Old Man of the Mountain, a rock formation that resembled a man’s profile. Unfortunately, it collapsed in 2003. However, Cannon Mountain still has plenty to offer. There are several trails for hiking, including the Rim Trail, which will give you some amazing views from the summit. Lonesome Lake sits at the south side of the mountain and there are also trails around the lake.
The Androscoggin River flows through parts of New Hampshire (including the White Mountains) and Maine.
Champney Falls is located at the southern end of White Mountain National Forest. To reach Champney Falls you will need to hike the Champney Falls Trail, which is about 3.5 miles each way. The amount of water flowing can vary greatly throughout the year.
Echo Lake State Park and Cathedral Ledge
Echo Lake State Park is located northeast of Champney Falls, within White Mountain National Forest. The park includes a trail that goes around the lake and provides an excellent view of Cathedral Ledge, a 700-foot ledge that is perfect for photographs.
Diana’s Baths is a series of small, but beautiful, waterfalls located just a few miles from Echo Lake State Park. The falls combine to drop about 75 feet, and they can be reached with a short hike of less than one mile.
Sabbaday Falls is located in southern White Mountain National Forest. The cascading falls combine to drop a total of about 45 feet. It is reachable with a short, easy hike.
Rocky Gorge Scenic Area
Located in the White Mountain Nation Forest and near Sabbaday Falls and Champney Falls, the Rocky Gorge Scenic Area is another great place to photograph waterfalls. You can catch a great view from a paved walkway.
King Ravine is located in the northern part of White Mountain National Forest. There are several challenging hikes within King Ravine, including the King Ravine Trail, leading to the summit of Mt. Adams. If you are up for the challenge the trail will give you great views of the steep ravine walls and mountains.
Carter Notch is located east of Mount Washington in the Carter-Moriah Range. It is bordered to the west by Wildcat Mountain and to the east by Carter Dome. The notch includes a few small bodies of water and a boulder field.
Mt. Hight is also part of the Carter-Moriah range and provides amazing views, including views of the Presidential Range. It is considered a subsummit of Carter Dome. Although it isn’t as high as Carter Dome it provides better views. Getting to the summit will require a hike, and you can get details about the hiking options from this page.
The Kancamagus Highway is a 34-mile scenic drive in northern New Hampshire that is know for beautiful fall foliage. It cuts through White Mountains National Forest and provides stunning views. There are no restaurants or gas stations along the route, but plenty is readily available at either end.
Lake Winnipesaukee and Mt. Major
Lake Winnipesaukee is the largest lake in New Hampshire and located south of the White Mountain National Forest. There are more than 250 islands on the lake and it has more than 280 miles of shoreline. Mount Major sits at the south end of the lake and provides an excellent vantage point for photos. There are several different trails available for hiking Mt. Major.
Jericho Mountain State Park is home to Jericho Lake. It is located north of the White Mountain National Forest and is still being developed as a new state park. There are some trails available, and more are planned for coming years.
Located in southeastern New Hampshire, Garwin Falls is about a 40-foot waterfall. It is best seen in May or June when the water level is high because there is a dam upstream that can limit the flow.
Portsmouth Harbor Lighthouse
Portsmouth Harbor Lighthouse is located in New Castle, northeastern New Hampshire. The Portsmouth Harbor Lighthouses dates all the way back to 1771.
Isles of Shoals
The Isles of Shoals are a group of small islands off the coast of the mainland that straddle the border of New Hampshire and Maine. Star Island is one of the larger of the islands, and you can take a ferry/cruise from Portsmouth to Star Island. The islands include a few photo-worthy lighthouses.
Want to learn more about neighboring states: Please see:
- The Best Places to Photograph in Maine
- The Best Places to Photograph in Vermont
- The Best Places to Photograph in Massachusetts