The Best Places to See Moose in North Conway, New Hampshire
Although moose dwell throughout New Hampshire, the greatest populations live in the northern half of the state. North Conway perches on the edge of the White Mountains National Forest, providing an ideal hub for moose-watching in the forests and farmlands outside its boundaries.
Take Me to the River
The Saco River flowing through the western edge of North Conway provides ideal moose-watching terrain. Moose feed on aquatic plants early in the morning and at dusk, and the river has natural wooded areas that provide cover for the animal. Rent a canoe from one of the local outfitters and watch moose from the vantage point of the water.
Keep in mind that moose can easily swim six miles per hour — faster than the average person can paddle a canoe — so take care not to disturb them. Camp overnight at Saco River Campground where moose sometimes venture. You can stay with full amenities along river’s edge and enjoy a swimming pool, sport courts and hot showers.
Go For a Drive
It’s common to see moose grazing beside the roadway at dusk during summer months. Take a drive into the White Mountains National Forest to look for the animals from the comfort of your car. Look for cars on the side of the road where moose are grazing. A 90-mile loop through the forest is likely to produce sightings of the great beasts during a late summer afternoon or early evening.
The route heads northwest along Highway 302, skirting the base of Mt. Washington. Connect with Highway 3 and return by the Kancamagus Highway from the city of Lincoln. Along the way, Crawford Notch and Franconia Notch state parks have campgrounds where you can stay overnight in prime moose territory.
Moose on a Train
Relax and enjoy looking for wildlife as you chug through moose territory on the Conway Scenic Railroad. Trips depart from North Conway, with two valley trips operating throughout the year to Bartlett and Conway. The 11-mile round-trip to Conway winds along the Saco River, with dramatic crossings at Moat Brook and the Swift River. A 21-mile trip to Bartlett runs through forested land along the Saco, Ellis and East Branch rivers, where you may catch a glimpse of the animals in the distance.
A longer journey to Crawford Notch and Saco Lake runs from summer through autumn, when moose sightings are at their peak. All trips return to the station in the late afternoon, when moose begin browsing for their evening meal.
Moose After Dark
Moose may thrive in the area around Conway, but the best way to ensure you see one is to take a guided moose tour. Guides are up-to-date on the best moose hangouts in the North Conway area, making your chances of seeing one better than 95 percent.
Tour companies including Mt. Washington Valley Moose Tours and Gorham Moose Tours run night tours allowing you to see the animals illuminated by spotlights from the bus. When safe to do so, guides let passengers off the bus to take pictures of the animals.