Hiking Artists Bluff in Franconia Notch
We hiked this lovely, relatively easy 1.5 mile loop with views of Franconia Notch, Franconia Ridge, and Cannon Mountain on an overcast winter day.
Hike Date: January 23, 2022
After hiking a physically demanding route up Mount Madison and Mount Adams the day before, we decided to take a shorter and more mild hike to Artists Bluff before leaving the White Mountains. There are two ways to get to Artists Bluff: you can take a 1.5 mile loop including Bald Mountain or go directly up to the viewpoint for a 0.5 mile out and back. We opted to take the 1.5 mile loop.
We parked at Cannon Mountain RV Park, right by Echo Lake Beach (this lot was mostly empty during winter, but expect more crowds during other seasons). We turned right out of the lot, walked a short bit along the road, and crossed the street to begin on the trail. Immediately, we turned left on the trail which skirted alongside the road a bit. Then, we passed another, much larger parking lot for Cannon Montain Resort, and turned right to start climbing. After a short bit of elevation gain, we came to a sign where you could turn left to take a quick spur trail to Bald Mountain or go right to stay on the loop to Artists Bluff. A hiker told us there was a nice view from Bald Mountain, so we decided to add it on. There were some scrambly spots to the peak where we got a beautiful view of the Cannon Mountain ski slopes and Franconia Ridge in the clouds.
We returned back to the juncture and walked along the undulating trail, passing a few viewpoint cutouts. Towards the end of the hike, we got to Artists Bluff viewpoint – an open ledge with a beautiful view of Franconia Notch, Franconia Ridge, Echo Lake, and the Cannon Mountain ski slopes.
The rest of the hike back down to the trailhead was a bit steeper than other sections, but very doable. Overall, this was a great short hike with high rewards in Franconia Notch. We imagine it would be super crowded during peak months!