A composite picture of the iconic “Old Man of the Mountain” state land mark. ~ Photo courtesy of Wikipedia
FRANCONIA, NH – The New Hampshire State Parks department has announced that they are launching a pilot shuttle service in Franconia Notch State Park. This service, which starts tomorrow (8/3/18), offers a safe and legal alternative to parking on Interstate 93 for people visiting the popular tourist attractions in the Notch. The shuttle service will run out of Cannon Mountain’s Peabody Base Lodge parking lot (Exit 34C) and run through Sunday October 14. Hikers can park for free in the lot and take the approximately 10-15 minute ride one-way to Lafayette Place. Then the shuttle will pick visitors up at the Falling Waters/Bridle Path and return them to the Peabody Base Lodge parking lot. The shuttle will run continuously from 8:30 AM to 8:00 PM Friday through Monday (rain or shine). The initial cost will be $5 per person and only cash will be accepted.
State Officials said that since it is a pilot program, dogs will initially be allowed and Lafayette Place and Falling Waters/Bridle Path trailheads will be the only stops other than the Peabody lot. State officials will evaluate the shuttle service pilot program, adjusting as needed and determining its overall feasibility.
Phil Bryce, director of NH State Park said “Although a shuttle service is not a normal park operation for us, we felt that we should step up and provide a safe and legal parking alternative for visitors hiking in the park and national forest.”
Increased visitation to the White Mountains Region, particularly at the Falling Waters/Old Bridle Path trailheads near Lafayette Place, has caused parking lots to fill quickly, resulting in illegal and unsafe parking along Interstate 93. For the past year, state agencies, the White Mountain National Forest and other partners have been working together to explore alternatives to parking on the highway. This included reaching out to the private sector to provide a shuttle service but no interest was shown.
For information on additional available hiker parking lots, parking lot capacity and trails accessed from parking lots, visit franconianotchstatepark.com.