The mountains and lakes on the Maine and New Hampshire border are some of the most delightful backdrops for this day trip. Many opportunities for sightseeing and outdoor recreation may be found on this approximately 170 mile loop.
Maine Lakes Region
Begin on Route 302 in downtown Naples on the scenic Causeway. Straddling Long Lake and Brandy Pond, the Causeway is a worthy destination all on its own. Restaurants, shops, the historic Songo River Queen paddle boats, and more, can all be found in this scenic downtown area. This is an excellent place to stock up for a picnic lunch since services on this journey are scattered.
From Naples, take Routes 35 and 5 North to Bethel, admiring glimpses of the lakes and mountains along the way. In Bethel, pick up Rt. 26 north toward Grafton Notch.
Grafton Notch to Umbagog Lake
Grafton Notch scenic byway begins just north of Newry and offers panoramic views and several excellent stops: Screw Auger Falls is just steps from the main road, while the short circle loop of Moose Cave trail takes you through wooded paths to the river and its cave namesake.
For those who have more time and a bit more endurance, Table Rock offers expansive views after a rather challenging climb. Picnicking is available at Spruce meadow.
Continue north on Rt. 26, crossing into New Hampshire, to Umbagog Lake where you may opt to visit Umbagog Lake State Park for kayak, canoe, or rowboat rentals, swimming, and picnicking.
Upper Androscoggin Valley to The White Mountain National Forest
Turn south on Rt. 16 and follow the Androscoggin River, with some striking river views. Soon you will enter the White Mountain National Forest, with the mighty Presidential range. The iconic Mount Washington Hotel makes a fascinating stop; take the free guided or self-guided tour.
Descend through Pinkham Notch where the mountains tower on either side. Many hiking options, including Cascade Falls and Mount Willard, make delightful side trips. Turn east on Rt. 302; Quaint Jackson, with its covered bridge and scenic river, makes an interesting detour.
North Conway, NH to Bridgton, ME
North Conway offers mountain vistas and many shopping, dining, and outdoor recreation options. Drive up to Cathedral Ledge for views of the Valley, take the mountain slide or other attractions at Cranmore Mountain Resort, or board the Conway Scenic Railway.
Leave North Conway by heading east on 302 back across the Maine border to Bridgton. This charming village boasts many antique shops, restaurants, and more scenic lake views. Follow Rt. 302 to Naples to complete your journey.
Back in Naples, get an ice cream cone and stroll the boardwalk admiring the lake and distant views of Mt. Washington and the Presidentials from earlier in your day. If you time it right, you’ll catch sunset over the lake where you can savor the memories of the day.
This is the perfect road trip to take while in Maine and can offer some of the best views. Whether you tour on the back of a motorbike or in the back of a minivan.