Geography of Grafton County, New Hampshire

Grafton County, located in the western part of the U.S. state of New Hampshire, is a region known for its diverse geography, stunning natural landscapes, and rich history. Encompassing an area of approximately 1,750 square miles, Grafton County is situated in the heart of the White Mountains and is characterized by its mix of mountainous terrain, fertile valleys, and picturesque lakes and rivers. In this comprehensive overview, we’ll explore the geography, climate, rivers, lakes, and other significant features of Grafton County. Check homethodology to learn more about the state of New Hampshire.


Grafton County is bordered by Coos County to the north, Carroll County to the south, Belknap County to the southeast, Sullivan County to the southwest, and the state of Vermont to the west. The county’s geography is defined by the rugged peaks of the White Mountains, including several of the state’s highest summits, as well as the rolling hills and fertile valleys of the Connecticut River watershed. The county seat is the town of North Haverhill.


The climate of Grafton County varies greatly depending on elevation and proximity to mountain ranges. Generally, the county experiences a humid continental climate, with four distinct seasons characterized by warm summers, cold winters, and moderate precipitation throughout the year. However, higher elevations in the mountains may experience cooler temperatures and more precipitation, while lower elevations in the valleys may experience milder conditions.

Summers in Grafton County are typically warm and humid, with average high temperatures in the 70s°F to 80s°F range and occasional thunderstorms bringing rainfall. Winters are cold, with average low temperatures in the single digits to teens°F range and frequent snowfall, particularly in the higher elevations. Spring and fall are transitional seasons, with mild temperatures and variable weather patterns.


Grafton County is home to several mountain ranges, including the White Mountains, the Franconia Range, and the Presidential Range. These mountains provide stunning scenery, recreational opportunities, and habitat for a variety of wildlife. Some of the notable mountains in Grafton County include:

  1. Mount Lafayette: Mount Lafayette is the highest peak in the Franconia Range, with an elevation of over 5,000 feet. The mountain is popular for hiking, backpacking, and rock climbing, as well as backcountry skiing and snowshoeing in the winter months.
  2. Mount Moosilauke: Mount Moosilauke is the westernmost peak in the White Mountains and is known for its panoramic views of the surrounding landscape. The mountain is popular for hiking, with several trails leading to the summit, as well as camping and picnicking in the surrounding area.


Grafton County is intersected by several rivers and streams that flow through its landscape, providing habitat for wildlife and opportunities for outdoor recreation. These rivers and streams also play a vital role in the region’s economy, providing water for agriculture, industry, and municipal use. Some of the notable rivers in Grafton County include:

  1. Connecticut River: The Connecticut River forms part of the western boundary of Grafton County, separating it from the state of Vermont. The river is one of the longest in New England and provides opportunities for boating, fishing, and wildlife viewing.
  2. Pemigewasset River: The Pemigewasset River flows through the central part of Grafton County, originating in the White Mountains and flowing southward to the Merrimack River. The river is popular for fishing, canoeing, and kayaking, as well as hiking along its scenic banks.


Grafton County is home to several lakes and reservoirs that offer recreational opportunities for residents and visitors. These lakes vary in size and depth and provide habitat for fish and other wildlife. Some of the notable lakes in Grafton County include:

  1. Newfound Lake: Newfound Lake is located in the western part of Grafton County and is one of the deepest lakes in New Hampshire. The lake is popular for fishing, boating, swimming, and picnicking, as well as camping at nearby state parks and campgrounds.
  2. Squam Lake: Squam Lake is located in the southeastern part of Grafton County and is known for its pristine waters and scenic beauty. The lake is popular for boating, fishing, and wildlife viewing, as well as hiking in the surrounding conservation areas.

Parks and Recreation Areas:

Grafton County is home to several parks, wilderness areas, and recreational facilities that showcase the region’s natural beauty and provide opportunities for outdoor recreation and leisure. These parks offer hiking trails, camping facilities, picnic areas, and other amenities for visitors to enjoy. Some of the notable parks and recreation areas in Grafton County include:

  1. White Mountain National Forest: The White Mountain National Forest encompasses over 800,000 acres of protected land in Grafton County and offers a variety of outdoor activities, including hiking, camping, fishing, and wildlife viewing. The forest is also home to several scenic drives and historic sites.
  2. Franconia Notch State Park: Franconia Notch State Park is located in the western part of Grafton County and is known for its dramatic mountain scenery, waterfalls, and hiking trails. The park offers opportunities for hiking, rock climbing, skiing, and snowshoeing, as well as camping and picnicking.


In conclusion, Grafton County, New Hampshire, is a region of diverse geography, stunning natural beauty, and abundant outdoor recreational opportunities. From its majestic mountains and scenic rivers to its pristine lakes and wilderness areas, the county offers a variety of landscapes and activities for residents and visitors to enjoy. Whether you’re hiking in the White Mountain National Forest, fishing on Newfound Lake, or exploring Franconia Notch State Park, Grafton County has something for everyone to experience and appreciate in the great outdoors.