The Kanc

kanc

The Kancamagus (a.k.a. The Kanc) is a great scenic byway that runs from exit 32 on route 93 (Lincoln, NH) east to Route 16 in Albany, NH (just south of Conway).  This drive includes many stops that offer incredible views of the White Mountains as well as just as many places to stop for a hike (long and short) as well as stops for camping.

The drive itself (no traffic and no stops) will take about 45 minutes and I would like to point out that there are no stops for gas on the highway.  The last gas on the west side is in Lincoln and on the east side on route 16 about 1/2 a mile south of the Kanc.  There are also no stops for food on the highway (picnics are great – but remember most parks are carry in / carry out).

During the fall the highway can be VERY busy due to leaf peeping.  You can easily double the trip time even with no stops due to cars parked (commonly illegally on the side of the road where you aren’t supposed to park) as well as slow drivers who want to look while driving (very dangerous!!).  But, the views can be incredible during this time of year.

During the winter months while the highway itself is maintained, it can be very icy and erratic.  Use extreme caution when on the highway mainly due to sharp curves, a lot of inclines and declines, wildlife, and strong winds.  Only a few of the stops are plowed and maintained in the winder (and all of the restrooms are closed and locked).  Most of the stops will have some area plowed but usually enough for a couple of cars to park at the entrance – expect longer walks / hikes during this time.  Also, if there has been a storm I’d recommend giving the state at least 2-3 days after to let them get it cleared well.  A word of warning for winter drives, the Loon Mountain area (just east of Lincoln) can be VERY busy during this time.

The Kanc is a highway and is the main route from 93 to Conway (and the surrounding area – including Fryeburg, ME).  You will run into trucks (all sizes) on the highway and they will need extra room to stop – especially on declines.  If you miss your turn, don’t panic, just keep an eye out of side streets or other stops where you can safely turn into and turn around.  Turning around on the Kanc is NOT recommended (I do not know if it is legal or not).