Artists Bluff is a moderate, beginner and family-friendly hike in Franconia Notch State Park that rewards hikers with a gorgeous view. There are a few options for hiking here, including an out-and-back hike to either Artists Bluff or to Bald Mountain, or a loop to do both.
Starting from the parking area for Echo Lake Beach, a sign across the road marks the start of the shortest, easiest route to Artists Bluff. This trail is a good option if you just want to do Artists Bluff and return the way you came. While a short hike, it still goes uphill and has some rocky terrain, so very young children may need a hand in spots.
The loop option involves parking a little further up on Route 18 across from the Peabody Base Lodge. From here, a quarter-mile hike brings you to a junction where you can bear left to do a very short side trip to Bald Mountain, which lives up to its name with its open, rocky summit. Bearing right at the junction brings you along a ridge and has a section of steep descent, and it eventually leads to the overlook at Artists Bluff. Kids will enjoy scrambling around on the rocks, and this is a scenic place to have lunch or a snack. While this viewpoint overlooks Interstate 93, it also looks out at the ski slopes on Cannon Mountain as well as Echo Lake down below. This is a very popular hike in the fall to see the changing foliage. As you head down along the loop you’ll reach a junction; the path to the right continues in and out of the woods, parallels the road, and brings you back to the trailhead.