- Difficulty: Moderate
- Length: 1.4 Mile loop
- Time to Hike: 1.5 -2 hours
- Pet Friendly: Yes
- Best time to Visit: Fall
One of the most popular scenic trails in the White Mountain National Forest is Artist’s Bluff. It is a 1.4-mile loop with a few steep sections. It is a fairly short, easy hike and once you reach the bluff, you will be rewarded with breathtaking views overlooking the mountains and Echo lake. The views from Artist’s Bluff are incredibly beautiful during the autumn when the foliage colours are changing. Many photographers consider Artist’s Bluff to be the best Fall foliage view. The trails may get crowded in October, especially on weekends.
As you start from the parking lot, a quarter-mile into the trail, you will see a sign pointing left for Bald Mountain and right for Artist’s Bluff. The path to the summit of Bald Mountain is short but steep. If you are not into scrambling up steep boulders, you can skip Bald Mountain and head right toward Artist’s Bluff. Look for RED blazes on Artist’s Bluff trail to find your way.
The trail has a few loose rock sections, steep stone stairs, and switchbacks, but nothing too challenging. There are several lookout points to enjoy the surrounding mountains. The Bluff is located at the end of the trail, a wide-open area where you can relax and take in the views. The Bluff offers you picturesque views overlooking Echo Lake, Cannon Mountain, and Franconia Notch. The view from the bluff is just like the name of the trail, a piece of artwork from an artist. We went to Artist’s Bluff in mid-September and early October. In just two weeks, the colours of the mountains changed drastically from a wild profusion of green to layers of green, yellow, and red.
The Artist’s Bluff trail is considered one of the best hikes in Franconia Notch State Park. The views you see are worth the effort of hiking the trail.