This half-mile hike to an open ledge provides a dramatic view of Franconia Notch framed by the ski slopes of Cannon Mountain on the right, Eagle Cliff, Mount Lafayette and the other peaks of The Franconia Ridge on the left and Echo Lake below.
As its name suggests, Artists Bluff was a favorite spot among several influential painters in the late 1800s, including Edward Hill, artist-in-residence at the Profile House in Franconia Notch. The scene was a little different back then — the ski trails of Cannon Mountain had yet to be cut, the only buildings were those of the The Profile House, one of the earliest and most distinguished White Mountain resorts, and there was no Franconia Notch Parkway, only a carriage road and later The Profile and Franconia Notch Railroad which entered the Notch from the north to shuttle tourists to and from the resort. The forests of Franconia Notch, however, have not changed dramatically. Eighteenth century art from this vantage point brought the rugged beauty of Franconia Notch to a widespread and influential audience, helping to popularize the region and save its forests from sale to lumber companies in the 1920s.
To hike Artists Bluff, take exit 34C off I-93/US 3, a road known throughout the park as The Franconia Notch Parkway. The east trail head provides the most direct access to Artists Bluff and is located across the street from the Echo Lake Beach parking lot (fee may apply to park there in season). The path travels somewhat steeply over rock steps for a half mile to the lookout point. The west trail head is found on the edge of Cannon Mountain’s Peabody Slopes parking lot, just a little north on Rte 18. From either trail head you can complete a hiking loop that includes the summits of Bald Mountain and Artists Bluff, both with excellent views.
Directions to Next Site:
If you’re parked at Echo Lake Beach, you’re already at the next stop on the Weeks Act Legacy Trail. Take in the views of the Franconia Notch forests from Artists Bluff, then travel shore-side to discover the hero who lead the charge to save them.