Echo Lake, Franconia Notch

Franconia Notch State Park from Artists Bluff during the winter months in the White Mountains, New Hampshire. Echo Lake (center) is frozen over and Cannon Mountain is on the right.
Echo Lake from Artists Bluff – Franconia Notch, New Hampshire

Echo Lake, Franconia Notch – Many photographers who visit the New Hampshire White Mountains are interested in roadside attractions that can be easily reached. So today I am going to share a great location, Echo Lake, in the northern section of Franconia Notch State Park.

From a history point of view, Franconia Notch is amazing. One of the more interesting events that took place in Franconia Notch was on Echo Lake. According to the book “A History of Cannon Mountain: Trails, Tales and Ski Legends” By Meghan McCarthy McPhaulan an event called the “Road-E-O” car race was held on Echo Lake when it was frozen during the 1950s to raise funds for the Franconia Ski Club (FSC). The FSC was founded in 1933, and they are one of the reasons why Cannon Mountain is what it is today.

Franconia Notch State Park in Franconia, New Hampshire during the autumn months after a dusting of snow.
Echo Lake from Echo Lake Beach – Franconia Notch, New Hampshire

The view into Franconia Notch and of Cannon Mountain from the beach at Echo Lake is breathtaking (above). And on calm mornings, the reflection of the mountains in the lake makes for a perfect landscape scene. If you are a weather enthusiasts, this is a great location to watch the clouds blow over and through the Notch.

Franconia Notch State Park - Reflection of Eagle Cliff in Echo Lake in the White Mountains, New Hampshire during the autumn months.
Eagle Cliff from Echo Lake Beach – Franconia Notch, New Hampshire

Echo Lake has been a poplar tourist destination since the Profile House days. The Profile House was an 1800s grand hotel located just south of the lake in the area of the parking lot for the Cannon Mountain Ski Area and Tramway. The hotel existed for 70 years before burning down in 1923. It was even torn down and rebuilt during its existence. I wonder how the guests of the Profile House reacted when they saw Eagle Cliff for the fist time from Echo Lake (above).

Franconia Notch State Park - Cannon Mountain with Echo Lake in the foreground in the White Mountains, New Hampshire during the spring months.
Cannon Mountain from Echo Lake – Franconia Notch, New Hampshire

I find during the spring season when the ice has melted off the lake and the ski trails on Cannon Mountain are still snow covered the best time to capture the reflection of Cannon Mountain in Echo Lake. The Franconia Bike Path travels next to the lake and provides access to some great perspectives (above) of the ski slopes. Many feel that Cannon Mountain is the centerpiece of Franconia Notch State Park.

Franconia Notch State Park - Echo Lake during the spring months in the White Mountains, New Hampshire.
Franconia Notch from Echo Lake – Franconia Notch, New Hampshire

The open minded photographer can easily spend a day shooting around Echo Lake. And even if you are not interested in photography, it is still a great area to visit. With the use of the trail on the western side of the lake and the Franconia Bike Path, one can walk around the entire lake. The trail on the western side is right on the edge of the lake. And a section of it consists of granite blocks that are in the water (above).

Cannon Mountain from Eagle Cliff in the White Mountains of New Hampshire during the autumn months.
Echo Lake from Eagle Cliff – Franconia Notch, New Hampshire

If you are interested in an unique perspective of Echo Lake, hike to Artists Bluff, Bald Mountain, or Eagle Cliff. But be forewarned, the trails to these viewpoints can be tricky anytime of year. And during the winter months, they usually are very icy. And Eagle Cliff (above) should only be attempted by ones who are capable of hiking in steep terrain.

To license any of the above images for usage in publications, click on the image. And you can view more photos of the lake here.

Happy image making..


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Erin Paul is a professional photographer, writer, and author who specializes in environmental conservation and historic preservation photography in the New Hampshire White Mountains. His work is published worldwide, and credits include; Backpacker Magazine, Appalachian Trail Conservancy, the Appalachian Mountain Club, and The Wilderness Society.

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