The Cataracts doesn’t seem to be as popular as the other waterfalls nearby, but there are a number of falls nearby. Dunn Falls is impressive and also accessed by the exact same major road (especially Lower Dunn Falls). The Cataracts is also in the far northeast region of Grafton Notch State Park, which includes other falls I did not visit.
Now, I had already visited Dunn Falls, which requires a longer hike, and I had taken a path that wore me out more than expected. I couldn’t pass up visiting The Cataracts, though, since it’s also found off E.B. Hill (or Andover Road). The parking areas are only about 3 or 4 miles from each other.
The hike itself to the top of the falls is not hard at all. It was very beautiful, and pretty enjoyable. There is just one issue. At the top of this falls, you really can’t get a very good view of the falls! It’s blocked by a bunch of trees! I could tell that it was a pretty impressive drop, though, so I decided to head back downhill and see if I could get a different view.
Now that decision had mixed results. To get this picture shown here, I started heading upstream near the bottom of the hill. (I’m guessing this was about 0.3 miles from the start?) At first it seems doable, until you get to some rather large rocks that are not easy to traverse. I had to grab onto large branches to essentially pull myself up the rocks. After that, you essentially rock (or boulder) hop for a ways. It could wear you down, but the reward is that you will see a beautiful waterfall, and probably be the only person standing there to get that view. (Very few people were there anyway.) I really wouldn’t suggest doing this unless you’re physically fit. The return is equally as complicated, and expect to get wet.
This is only one of the drops known as The Cataracts. There are others upstream (or downstream). I really didn’t search harder as I was pretty tired out by that point. Still check out this gem of a waterfall.
1) From the junction of ME-120 and ME-5 in Andover, head west on Newton Street (aka East B Hill Rd. or Upton Hill Rd.). It’s not very clearly marked.
2) Head about 5.5 miles out of Andover. Around there, you’ll see a sign for Cataracts Road, and a road heading uphill. A pretty long parking area is found on the right of the road.
3) After parking, head across the road and take the TRAIL, closely following the creek. I would suggest exploring the area for all of the different drops you might see.
Accessibility: 8/10 (to top of falls), 2/10 (to view in picture)
Where in the World is The Cataracts?: map