Best of New Hampshire: Hiking to Waterfalls

If you are the type to chase waterfalls, head to New Hampshire immediately! They’re all over the place. Fantastic falls will surprise you by bursting on out of nowhere on the side of the highways and roads.

waterfallThere are so many easy hikes taking you to additional amazing waterfall sights, great for any level of hiker. While there are so many tempting mountains to climb in the area, the weather on our trip was not conducive to mountain climbing. Rain and fog would make trails dangerous, and include no views!

white mountains national forest 1 white mountains national forestSo we skipped hiking Mt. Washington [the highest peak in the northeast] as we had hoped to do and instead went for a whole lot of short easy trails we knew would give us a beautiful payoff. These trails were not a disappointment at all, but marvelously stunning and enjoyable. However…we’re coming for you next time, Mt. Washington! Onto our list of trails:

Franconia Notch State Park

The Basin [i-93 in Lincoln]

Polished picture perfect pothole – just moments from the highway. Take a few minutes to walk the under the tunnel onto the trail along with the crowds to see this natural wonder.

the basin franconia state park the basin franconia state park 1Witness the 10-foot waterfall splashing into turquoise pool surrounded by smooth granite rock.

Crawford Notch State Park

Ripley Falls [Route 302 in Crawford Notch]

Park and head up the trail, soon you will cross railroad tracks and be on your way into the woods. The hike is slightly steep, but short. A one-mile round trip out and back, full of rocks and roots. We saw this funny birch branch with a face like carving.

ripley falls white mountains national forestNatural or manmade? I’m not so sure. At the end feast your eyes on the breathtaking 100-foot waterfall.

ripley falls white mountains national forest 2We watched as people repelled down the falls, and saw a slug munching away on a shroom! ripley falls white mountains national forest 1 arethusa trail crawford notch 4Bonus points. We hiked back to the lot happily.

Arethusa Falls [Route 302 in Crawford Notch]

In Greek mythology, there was a beautiful nymph named Arethusa. She took a swim one day and the god of the river Alpheus fell in love with her. She wanting nothing to do with him fled, but could not escape him. Finally she asked for help, and the goddess Artemis changed her into a spring, and thus this waterfall found its name. This 2.8 roundtrip hike to Arethusa trails is pretty steep at times, but so worth the effort. Take the route following the Bemis Brook to liven up the trail through the woods. Following this brook you’ll see the dainty Fawn Pool,

arethusa trail crawford notch 1 arethusa trail crawford notch 2and the dashing Coliseum Falls.

arethusaAfter this lovely stroll you’ll be heading, up! Over rocks and roots and soon enough, but not without some exertion you will find yourself in front of the towering 140-foot falls are sublime, the second tallest in the state.

arethusa trail crawford notch 3After marveling take the Arethusa trail back through the woods and skip the Bemis trail for some different scenery and make a little loop.

White Mountains National Forest

Glen Ellis Falls [Route 16 in Pinkham Notch]

Even if you don’t consider yourself a hiker, you can definitely pull off this walk. Just .3 miles on a well maintained path and you’ll find yourself in a enchanting place. Then .3 back, it’s that easy. So park your car, walk through the tunnel under the highway and along the scenic natural path alongside the Ellis River.

Glen Ellis Falls 1The Ellis flows from nearby Mount Washington out to the Atlantic Ocean. Allow yourself to momentarily be mesmerized by the deep green pool and fast flowing water beside you.

Glen Ellis Falls 3 Glen Ellis Falls 4Keep strolling and soon the trees will thin out, the sky opens up, and you are almost there.

Glen Ellis Falls 5Walk down the stairs and you will be thrilled to see the aggressive 64-foot waterfall plunging into a dark blue pool.

Glen Ellis Falls 6What an incredible sight after a short pleasurable walk.

Just as our hiking day was done the clouds finally parted before dinnertime. We were dazzled and pulled off to a scenic view lot by the fanciful Omni Mount Washington Resort.

Mount Washington ResortStill the mountain was crowned with clouds, but that view was magical nonetheless…Until next time.

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