An Hour Hike to a Magnificent Waterfall
Road Trip Warriors, what is good!? I know I recently posted about my Franconia Ridge hike in the White Mountains of New Hampshire, but that was not the only adventure we went on! On Saturday (10/13/18), we were waiting out the dismal weather before we went on an adventure. Our initial plan was to hike Mount Washington, but it was so overcast that I decided it be best to do the Arethusa Falls Trail once the weather let up. My goal is to hike Mount Washington where I will be able to appreciate the views it offers, but I digress. Arethusa Falls was legendary and a great reward for only an hour hike.
Short Summary of Arethusa Falls
- Difficulty: Easy/Moderate
- Distance: Roughly 3 miles
- Average Hiking Time: 2 hours (if only doing Arethusa Falls)
Crawford Notch State Park
Arethusa Falls is located in Crawford Notch State Park and it is beautiful. On our way to the park we passed the Mount Washington Resort, and the Conway Scenic Notch Train Station. Given the chance, I would love to have a ride this beautiful train through the White Mountains. For more information on this train click on this link: Conway Scenic Railroad.
Within Crawford Notch State Park, you can also find the Willey House. It is a historic location where you can shop for souvenirs, get some food/coffee, and take in the scenery. A brief history on the Willey House:
- Built in the late 18th century or early 19th century
- In 1825, became the homestead of Samuel Willey, Jr. and his family where the house was operated as an inn to accommodate travelers passing through the mountains
- August, 1826, a violent storm hit the area. The family left the house to escape the storm, but they were buried when a landslide hit. Nine people perished in this landslide, including the Willey family. The house remained untouched from this landslide and has now become an area for picnicking, photography, and plentiful hiking in the area. Sources: newhampshire.com , robertballhughes.com
The trailhead is very easy to find as there is a large wooden sign that says “Arethusa Falls.” This sign will be easily visible while driving along route 302, otherwise known as Crawford Notch Road. This is the sign for those whom would like to know what it looks like.
The lot here is pretty large, but I would still get here earlier in the day as it seemed like a popular hike in the area. This makes sense as it is only a one hour hike to the tallest waterfall in New Hampshire. In the parking lot, there are cliffs that tower above. We had the luck of seeing the trees under the cliffs in various shades of color. It made for a picturesque view.
So, from the large lot where you pull in, there is a paved road that you will walk up. You will walk across the train tracks and the trail will be on your left. Take advantage of the train tracks because it can make for some great photographs.
Once you are on the trail itself, it is VERY easy to follow. This is due to the blue markers on the trees and the fact that many people hike this daily. There is also pretty prevalent signage along the way.
While trekking, you’ll notice that there is not much elevation gain or loss and you will cross two bridges along the way.
After these two bridges, there will be one more sign stating that Arethusa Falls is only .2 miles away. The trail drops down to the base of Arethusa Falls and this part can get pretty crowded. Be sure to be courteous and safe.
Arethusa Falls is the tallest waterfall in the state of New Hampshire. The water cascades down a large stone face and it is absolutely beautiful. The water falls 160 feet (some websites say 140 feet, others say 200 feet) making the waterfall that much more dramatic. There was plenty of room to walk around despite the crowd, and my brother and I eventually found a spot to sit and eat. We even had the opportunity to take pictures of the falls with no one else in the background!
We saw numerous dogs on this trail. There is absolutely no difficult spot for a dog and it seemed that they enjoyed the waterfall. The one dog we watched seemed to be more interested in chasing a squirrel than anything.
My brother and I saw people of all ages hiking this trail. As mentioned, it is only an hour hike to the falls. The total mileage for the hike in its entirety (there and back) is roughly 3 miles. My brother and I did it in about two hours and that was with stopping at the falls to eat and take pictures.
I am not going to put a long list here since this is a relatively short and safe hike. Just make sure you are dressed for the weather, bring some snacks and enough water. Carrying a first-aid kit doesn’t hurt either if you have children with you that may get a scrape. It ended up raining on us so it is always good to have a rain jacket as well even if the chance of rain is slim.
I hope all you Road Trip Warriors enjoyed this post about Arethusa Falls. She truly is a beauty in the White Mountains. I will always encourage outdoor activities because of the great exercise and the fun stories that come from it. Please remember “Leave No Trace” principles and encourage environmental protection. Keep on exploring, hiking, and rippin peaks!