Trans-New Hampshire Overland Adventure Route
This route is not open once the snow falls! Most trails are dual use and turn to snowmobile trails in the winter.
Check out the incredible fall foliage along the Kancamagus, take photos of some waterfalls, drive up the Mt. Washington Auto Road, scope out a couple of old time covered bridges, enjoy local foods, take a chance at seeing some moose, and spend some time in the woods! You will start at the Canadian border in Pittsburg NH and wind your way down through the state, briefly entering Maine and Vermont along the route before ending at the NH seacoast. You will cover nearly 500 miles of New Hampshire’s best and most scenic roads and trails. From the expansive networks of remote dirt and logging roads up north to the scenic White Mountain National Forest roads to the tight trails and historic small towns of Southern NH, you will see it all. This is a stock friendly tour that will be difficult in some places. The trip is designed around a Jeep JK in stock form (on street tires) but check the trail ratings below for more detailed info. This will be a challenge for a completely stock vehicle but absolutely possible! Do not go alone, regardless of how built your vehicle is! A significant portion of the trip is on unmaintained and/or remote roads. Road and trail conditions can vary widely and can change quickly. This route is not an “off-roading” trip even though there is significant dirt travel and almost an entire day of 4WD use. This is an overland route developed with scenery and adventure in mind.
Dates Possible: From June 1st to first snowfall.
Peak Dates: Early summer or Fall foliage.
Start Location: Canada/New Hampshire border – Pittsburg, NH.
Recommended Start Time: 7-8am Friday
Finish Location: Seacoast, Rye NH.
Estimated Finish Time: 4pm Sunday
Trail Difficulty: Trail Ratings of – and possibly an occasional . 95% will be 2 and 3 level. Anything with a 4 can be bypassed. Don’t be scared off by it. This is a STOCK FRIENDLY trip, regardless of the trail ratings listed above. More information on trail ratings: http://forums.exploringnh.com/showthread.php?917-Trail-names-and-locations-Trail-rating-guide&p=16483#post16483
You will receive a link via email. This link will enable you to download a “zip” file with the GPX tracks of the route, a GPX file of waypoints like fuel, food, scenic stops, and an Information Packet that has all the information you should need.
NOTE: THIS ADVENTURE ROUTE IS BRAND NEW! After looking over the Information Packet and the waypoints, PLEASE EMAIL US if you have any questions or would like to see something added or if something isn’t clear!
1: The first day will start out with fast, smooth, and remote dirt roads. Around mid-afternoon you will be transitioning into paved scenic travel as you make your way towards Mt. Washington Auto Road. After Mt. Washington, spend some time checking out some waterfalls and scenic trails in the White Mountain National Forest before camping in Conway, NH.
2: The second day will be incredibly scenic roads all day. The first 3/4 of the day will be almost entirely paved roads as you make your way across the famous Kancamagus Highway and down towards Newport NH. Towards the end of the day you will hit your first few trails. It’s time to air down the tires and get in the woods.
3: The last day will be substantial off-road travel until you decide to make a break for the coast. The trails are all stock friendly but will be difficult in places. Some trails will also be narrow. There will be an essentially zero chance of body damage aside from light pin-striping from encroaching tree branches if you don’t drive like an idiot.
4: Camping/lodging is up to you. There are several additional campsites listed in the Information Packet and in the waypoints GPX file for each night’s stop as well as recommendations for discreet (free) camping locations and hotels/motels where available. All of the campgrounds are vetted by us and have been used by us extensively over the past several years. There is no legal way to have a campfire in NH outside of a campground so keep that in mind if you choose to discreet camp.
5: This route is very flexible and open. It works very well when followed completely but if you feel like spending a day renting kayaks or mountain biking, it is easy to turn this route into a week long adventure. You can easily change things up depending on your desires, weather, and time. There is a lot to do in the areas around the route.
6: There is limited hiking to get to some of the waterfalls. Research them before embarking. Most are fairly easy.
7: Fuel stops are listed in the waypoints file. As long as you can make 250 miles on a single tank of fuel under normal driving conditions, you can make this trip with the fuel stops listed. There will be a fuel stop on day 2 in Lincoln NH and another fuel stop after the last trail on day 3. If you can not make 250 miles per tank under normal driving, make a note of that and stop whenever an option for fuel presents itself.
Some expected costs:
1: Fuel – This trip can covers just over 450 miles of back roads. Be prepared to spend most of your time at lower speeds and at higher consumption figures when off-road or traveling through the mountains.
2: Food – There are a couple of grocery stores listed in the waypoints. There are no restaurant suggestions. It’s overlanding! Cook your meals at camp! 🙂
3: Lodging – There are lodging suggestions in the waypoint file and in the Information Packet. Call ahead to confirm pricing and availability.
4: Showers – Be prepared with quarters. There are some public showers along the route and most campgrounds charge for showers. Usually the fee is very minimal, $0.50 buys you 5 minutes at most places.
5: Various state parks – State parking areas and some scenic spots require paying a fee of $3/vehicle/day.
6: Mt. Washington Auto Rd – $29/vehicle+driver, $9/passenger.
1: There will be fuel stops along the way and you will have many opportunities to get food and supplies after the afternoon of day 1. Day 1 is the most isolated day and there is nothing available until late afternoon. The rest of the trip will have plenty of opportunities for food shopping as the day progresses. These stops are also good times for bathroom breaks.
2: Be prepared for weather! It may rain, it may snow, it may be hot and sunny. This is New England! Nights can be a little chilly and Mt. Washington has the potential to be pretty cold at the top. Bring appropriate clothing for all weather conditions you may encounter. Hot days, cool nights, rain, sunshine…be prepared!
3: There will be NO alcohol consumption until you are parked for the night! These are all public roads. Even though some of the trails are very isolated and feel private, it is illegal to have an open container in the vehicle. DO not make a bad name for overlanders.
Provided in the Information Packet is a list of recommended minimum equipment. For a more in depth list, visit our Overland Equipment Guide.
Photos of this route from past trips: