Franconia is a town in the White Mountains of New Hampshire that is a favorite destination for outdoor folks of all types: hikers, bicyclists, campers, cross-country skiers, paddlers… the potential for fun in the fresh air is endless. By itself, Franconia hosts a lot of pup friendly trails, and there are many more in nearby communities.
One of the most popular hiking destinations is Bridal Veil Falls via the pooch-friendly Coppermine Trail. The Falls really do resemble a bridal veil, and they empty into a small pool that is shaded and lush. The sound of the water cascading down rocks is almost meditative in nature. The trail begins on Coppermine Road, and travels 5 miles with a slight, but steady ascent. On the way, there is a small footbridge that crosses Coppermine Brook for a change of scenery. The trail is easy and pleasant, and if you’re feeling like being challenged, you can pass the pool and Bridal Veil Falls, and climb on up to the upper waterfall, which is a bit bigger and faster. Be sure to keep Fido leashed for this hike.
Bridal Veil Falls became famous in the earlier part of the 20th Century when actress Bette Davis visited Franconia and took a solo walk on Coppermine Trail, eventually getting turned around and lost. A local man, Arthur Farnsworth, found her and led her out of the forest. They later fell in love and married. Barktiful story, no?
Come and make your own memories with your pup in Franconia!
Franconia is home to 3 dog-friendly town parks. Dow Park is 8 acres of open green space right on the Gale River, with a large gazebo, athletic fields and playground. Built to provide the residents of Franconia with outdoor space in the middle of town, this park is family -friendly. There is lots of open play space, which is also perfect for throwing down a blanket and sharing a picnic lunch with Fido with the White Mountains in the background. Fox Hill Park is 99 acres of woodlands containing 4 main trails for 3 miles of hiking, biking, cross-country skiing and snowshoeing. This park is also on the Gale River, and features an informative kiosk at the entrance and benches scattered throughout the park on the trails. The third park is 10 acres across from the elementary school and is dedicated to the town parks’ longtime custodian, Bill Splude. Called Splude’s Place, it is outfitted with paths and benches, play areas and picnic tables. Bring your fur-pup to one or all 3 of these parks and have a great time!
Lincoln is a town approximately 3 miles from Franconia, and it’s here that the dog-friendly White Mountain State Forest resides. Franconia Notch State Park is contained within the Forest, and this is a park that not only welcomes leashed pups, but also voice-controlled unleashed ones. Do be aware that dogs are not allowed in the campgrounds on site. The “Notch” is a mountain pass with its own parkway, which serves as trailhead access to several easy to moderate trails. Lonesome Lake Trail is a is a popular one for visitors who describe it as fairly easy with a challenging uphill climb at first, but a flat walk around the lake. The lake loop itself is the reward for the initial climb, with its gorgeous views and refreshing swimming and splashing. Pawrific!
Another quaint and lovely New England town within a few miles of Franconia is Lisbon, through which passes the pup-friendly Ammonoosuc Rail-Trail, at about the halfway mark. The Gale River passes through this former mill town as well. The Ammonoosuc Trail begins in Littleton, almost 3 miles north of Franconia, and heads southeast until it reaches Woodsville, with parking and trail access in Lisbon off Center Street. The trail surface is mostly paw-gentle sand/dirt and gravel, and will accommodate hiking, ATVs, mountain biking, and cross-country skiing in winter. It follows the course of the Ammonoosuc River, crossing it at one point on a covered bridge. The pawsome views of the river and its denizens will please both you and Fido!
The dog-friendly, 14-mile Ethan Pond Trail in Bartlett is an out-and-back rail-trail that features opportunities for bird- and other wildlife-watching and is accessible year-round. The end of the trail at Ethan Pond is a peaceful haven that is a reward for all skill levels. A little further south along Route 302 is the pup-friendly Dry River Campground, near the Dry River Trail. With 36 wilderness camping sites, the campground features overnight stays or day use for a small fee. Amenities include picnic tables, trails, restrooms and showers, along with a snack bar and gift shop. This is a great place to get away from it all with your leashed furry best buddy by your side! You’ll think it’s woofderful!
Less than 2 miles from Franconia lies the village of Sugar Hill, with its dog-friendly Inn at Sunset Hill. This lovely 28-room hotel reserves some of its rooms for humans accompanied by their furry besties, and the pups are welcome on the grounds as well as in the hotel’s restaurant. You will be served 2 meals a day: a hearty breakfast and a tavern-style dinner in the evening. Surrounded by the beauty of the White Mountains, and close to the shops and attractions of the area, the Inn at Sunset Hill is where you should head if you’re looking to be pampered a bit during your stay in New Hampshire. And Fido will love it, too! Arf!