Artist’s Bluff Hike – NH White Mountains – Best Short Hike in Franconia Notch


Article Categories: Hiking

Artist’s Bluff is one of the most popular short and easy hikes in NH. Located in Franconia Notch, this out and back or loop hike features stunning views of the notch, Echo Lake, Cannon Mountain, and the surrounding peaks. This trail is a perfect quick family trek.

Distance: 1.5 miles (2.41 km)
Difficulty: Easy
Duration: 1-2 hours
Elevation Gain: 387 feet (118 meters)
Height: 2,340 feet (713.2 meters)
Pets Allowed? Yes

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Artist’s Bluff – Out and Back Route (Quickest Route) – 1 Mile Round Trip

Many hikers will just want to quickly do an out and back hike to Artist’s Bluff. This short trip has a few steep sections, but is still a great family friendly spot. There are some steep sections that parents may need to help smaller children navigate. If you have a little extra time, we recommend doing the full loop and summiting Bald Mountain as well.

This route, hikers will park at the parking area across Route 18 from the Peabody Base Area (directions below). They will hike shortly to a junction, left towards bald mountain, and to the right, directly to Artist’s Bluff.


Artist’s Bluff  & Bald Mountain Loop – 1.5 miles round trip – 387 feet of elevation gain

Most hikers will do the entire loop hike to vary the terrain and also summit the appropriately named Bald Mountain. This is considered an easy hike, but there are some steep sections.

Hikers can head to Artist’s Bluff first, or to Bald Mountain. The recommended path is to head counter clockwise, especially in winter to avoid the steepest icy sections on the way down.


Artist’s Bluff & Bald Mountain Hiking Trail Map

Artists Bluff Trail Map

Artists Bluff Trail Map


Hiking Artist’s Bluff in Winter

This is a very frequented winter hike due to ease of access and trail difficulty. In winter months, the steep sections can get icy, so we highly recommend utilizing microspikes for traction. Hikers often say counterclockwise is the better direction in winter.


Artist’s Bluff in the Fall

This is one of the best and most packed fall foliage spots. The trees in Franconia Notch get incredible colors, and reflections off of Echo lake can be stunning. The surrounding peaks tower over hikers on either side of the notch.



Artist’s Bluff is located in Franconia Notch. Directions to the trailhead are located below:


Bigger Hikes in Franconia Notch

Cannon Mountain
Mount Lafayette
Franconia Ridge
Mount Lincoln
Mount Flume
Mount Liberty


Weather Forecast

Bethlehem, NH

Scattered snow showers. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 24. Northwest wind around 25 mph, with gusts as high as 35 mph. Chance of precipitation is 30%. New snow accumulation of less than one inch possible.

Isolated snow showers before 7am. Mostly sunny, with a high near 35. Northwest wind 15 to 20 mph, with gusts as high as 35 mph. Chance of precipitation is 20%. New snow accumulation of less than one inch possible.

Saturday Night
Mostly clear, with a low around 30. West wind 10 to 15 mph.

Rain after 1pm. Partly sunny, with a high near 42. Southwest wind 5 to 10 mph. Chance of precipitation is 80%.

Sunday Night
Rain. Cloudy, with a low around 32. Southwest wind 5 to 10 mph. Chance of precipitation is 100%.

A chance of rain before 7am, then a chance of rain and snow showers. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 36. Chance of precipitation is 40%. New snow accumulation of less than half an inch possible.

Monday Night
A slight chance of snow showers before 7pm. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 21.

Max DesMarais
Max DesMarais

Max DesMarais is the founder of Hiking & Fishing. He has a passion for the outdoors and making outdoor education and adventure more accessible. Max is a published author for various outdoor and marketing websites. He is an experienced hiker, backpacker, fly fisherman, trail runner, and spends his free time in the outdoors. These adventures allow him to test gear, learn new skills, and experience new places so that he can educate others. You can read more about him here: hikingandfishing/about