Spring is here : the snow is melting, feeding the 100+ waterfalls in our Valley, giving us an exceptional display of nature’s power, especially in May and June. There are over 100 waterfalls in the White Mountains of New Hampshire, some requiring a hike, and some are easily seen from the road. And while touring some of the waterfalls, you can also take a look to some of our historic covered bridges.
Here is a proposed circuit that you can do in one day and a half, providing you start early, right after our hearty breakfast. You can do part of the circuit during your day in the White Mountains, and a part of it on your way back home, rather you are driving towards the South or North. We will provide you with a detailed map upon your arrival :
Diana’s Bath : the access trail head is from West Side Road, and it’s just a 5 minute drive from us. Follow a well-marked trails to take a very easy .5 mile hike leading to a collection of small falls and pools, offering the perfect place to relax and cool off. In summer, lots of people and locals cool off and bath in the series of natural pools. In Spring, it’s a spectacular display of several waterfalls and melting ice and the perfect place to relax and… propose! This is an easy evening walk, that you can do on the day you check-in with us, after a long day on the road and before going out for dinner.
To avoid the downtown traffic, take West Side Road, in direction to the Kancamagus Highway. You’ll be able to see beautiful farms and meadows as well as the Swift River Covered Bridge (built in 1991) and the Saco River Covered Bridge (built in 1890). At the intersection with Route 16, take a right onto Route 16 South, and turn right on Rte 112, the Kancamagus Highway, when you exit Conway.
Six miles west of Conway, just off the Kancamagus Highway, there is the Albany Covered Bridge (built in 1858).
Continue on the Kancagamus Highway, and about 7-9 miles west of Conway, stop to admire on your right the Rocky Gorge and Lower Falls. These falls are 2 miles apart. Rocky Gorge is a 15-foot plunge and is set on an open, sunny and very scenic river. There is a bridge where you can take beautiful pics of the falls. Lower Falls is a very popular summer attraction as people can swim upstream and downstream. There are also picnic tables and bathroom facilities.
Continue a few miles on the Kancamagus Highway and park on the left of the road, at the trail head of Sabbaday Falls, a 45′ drop. It is one of the most popular waterfalls in New Hampshire, for its history and beauty and is a very easy 0.33 mile hike (it’s handicapped accessible). Many people propose and get married there.
Drive all the way to Lincoln while admiring the scenery of the “Kanc”, one of the most scenic roads of New Hampshire, then take the Interstate 93 North and stop in Franconia Notch Park . Park at the well-marked lot for the Basin, and follow signs for the Basin until you see the sign for Rocky Glen Falls. This is a mile-long stretch of a brook, dropping a total of six hundred vertical feet, with many waterfalls. It’s an easy 5 minute hike to the Basin, a 25 minutes easy-moderate hike to Kinsman Falls and a 45 minutes moderate hike to Rocky Glen Falls.
Continue on Interstate 93 North and take the Exit 35, to Route 3, then take Route 302 East at Twin Mountain for 3.6 miles. Take a left onto Old Cherry Mountain Road, and an immediate left onto Lower Falls Road. Drive 0.2 miles to the end of the road and park on the right. The Lower Ammonoosuc Falls is an easy 0.25 mile hike and are an 8 foot total drop. This is one of the premier natural swimming pools in New Hampshire (a bit cold in Spring!).
Go back onto 302 East. Pass Bretton Woods and the Mt Washington Hotel. Flume and Silver Cascades, just below Crawford Notch Depot, can be seen from the car, on your left.
If you wish to end up your day with a longer hike, or start the next day by a hike, you should stop at the Arethusa Falls trail head, about 1.5 miles south of Willey House, in Crawford Notch State Park. Park on the short side road below the railroad tracks. The trail starts to the left of the private road above the tracks. This is an easy to moderate 1.3 mile hike to the 176 feet falls, the highest single waterfall in New Hampshire (2 miles if you take the trail to Bemis Brook Falls, Coliseum Falls and Fawn Pool). It usually takes us about 2 hours to hike the round trip, so make sure you don’t start it too late in the day.
If you choose not to hike up Arthusa Falls, continue on Route 302 East. Arriving in Glen, stop at the Bartlett Covered Bridge on your left, built in 1857 and housing the unusual “Covered Bridge Gift Shop”.
Continue on Route 302 East and take a left onto Route 16 North at the traffic light, towards Jackson Village. Turn right and drive across the Honeymoon Covered Bridge, built in 1939. In Jackson Village, take a right onto Carter Notch Road, about 3/10 of a mile from Route 16A. The Jackson Falls are right in the middle of the Village and easily accessible.
Go back on Route 16 North and the Glen Ellis Falls are 0.7 miles South of Pinkham Notch. It is also the parking area for the Glen Boulder and Wildcat Ridge Trails. A tunnel takes you to the other side of the highway where you turn right to reach the falls. It is an easy 0.2 mile walk to the best waterfalls of New Hampshire. You arrive at the top of the 64 feet Glen Ellis falls. Take the granite steps down to get to the base of the falls.
Take Route 16 North again and park at the AMC Pinkham Notch Camp and take the path on the left of the Trading Post – the Tuckerman Ravine trail. The Crystal Lake falls are a 0.3-mile, uphill walk. For the adventurous at heart, keep going up the Tuckerman Ravine Trail, and watch the spectacle of skiers in Tuckerman Ravine on a sunny day in May.
Continue on Route 16 North and park at the Wildcat Mountain’s parking lot to go see the Thompson’s Falls. Take the “Way of Wildcat” Nature trail from the parking lot. It is an easy 0.7 mile hike to the falls that are actually a series of falls along Thompson Brook with wonderful views of Mt Washington.
These are just of the few easy-to-reach waterfalls, and you might want to see them all over 2 full days in order to really enjoy the White Mountains of New Hampshire. And while driving along the famous White Mountains Trail (Kancagamus highway, Interstate 93 and Route 302) you might be lucky enough to spot a moose or two!