Bemis Brook Falls, New Hampshire

Crawford Notch State Park contains a number of waterfalls in its boundaries. One of the main attractions is Arethusa Falls, a 160′ falls. Along the way to the main attraction, though, you can veer off and see two other smaller falls. I think it’s worth it, though depending on what path you take, there may be some regret, physically that is.

Taking the Bemis Brook Trail leads you to Bemis Brook Falls. This portion of the trail is very easy to hike, and it’s rather enjoyable. While Bemis Brook Falls is not particularly tall, it is beautiful nonetheless. The exposed layers of rock form stairs of sorts that the falls cascade down in two separate portions. Continuing upstream, you will come along Coliseum Falls, which is equally as interesting. If you do this part of the hike first, realize you will have to climb a surprisingly steep hill to connect back onto the main path. It’s by no means impossible, it just might leave you winded for a bit. If you head to Arethusa Falls first, and then connect to the Bemis Brook Trail, that might be less strenuous as you’ll be going downhill.

Directions:

  1. The parking area for the falls is found off of route 302 in Crawford Notch State Park, which is an impressive place to find waterfalls.
  2. About 1.5 miles south of Willey House, you’ll find the parking area for the falls. Heading south, the turn will be on your right. If I remember correctly, during the busy times of the year, there is a parking lot right off the road that looks very full, but you do not have to park there. Driving further down that road leads to a parking area that is much less busy, and much closer to the trail head.
  3. At the parking area, you’ll see a private house. Head to the left, and begin to follow the trail. You’ll cross railroad tracks, and then you’ll continue on the trail for a short distance.
  4. After a ways, veer to the left to follow the Bemis Brook Trail. This is where you’ll encounter Bemis Brook Falls and Coliseum Falls. This path is actually very easy.

Accessibility: 8/10 (easy/moderate)
Height: 30′
Length of Hike: 3 miles round-trip (to see all three falls)

Bemis Brook Falls in September 2010

Where in the World is Bemis Brook Falls?

Silver Cascade, New Hampshire

Silver Cascade in September 2010

Silver Cascade is a larger cascade in Crawford Notch State Park in New Hampshire. As you enter the park, it is one of the cascades you’ll see, along with Flume Cascade. While Silver Cascade is not one of my favorite waterfalls, it does have some positive attributes.

One of the nice things about Silver Cascade is how easy it is to visit. I am always disappointed when I see these sort of waterfalls on the side of the road, and yet I can’t stop and see them for one reason or another. So I really do like that there is a parking area designated for the falls. I like that in addition to being easy to visit, you can also explore around the falls. As can be seen in the photo, people are climbing up around the falls.

Directions:

  1. From the cross-section of US-3 and US-302 in New Hampshire, head southeast on US-302 to the entrance for Crawford Notch State Park. (The entrance isn’t really a formal entrance, but I think there is a sign.)
  2. After entering the park, look on the left of US-302, and you’ll see both Flume and Silver Cascades. They’re pretty difficult to miss, unless there’s some reason they’ve dried up!

Accessibility: 10/10 (easy)
Height: 250′
Length of Hike: roadside

Where in the World is Silver Cascade?

Upper Glen Ellis Falls, New Hampshire

Upper Glen Ellis Falls in Septemer 2010

This isn’t officially named Upper Glen Ellis Falls, and I have to admit many people wouldn’t even given a second thought  this falls, but I think it’s worth mentioning. Glen Ellis Falls has one impressive, main drop, but above and below, there are numerous other drops that are equally as pretty AND equally accessible. Above Glen Ellis Falls, there are at least two other visible drops, and this is just one of them. Other falls in the area have falls and rapids above and below them, but none seem to be as photogenic as those above and below Glen Ellis Falls.

Directions:

  1. I arrived at the falls from US-302. At the junction of US-302 and NH-16, head north (really the only option).
  2. After heading north on NH-16/Pinkham Notch Road for a ways, you’ll come to the parking area for the falls. If you’re heading north, it will be on the left side of the road, clearly marked with a sign for Glen Ellis Falls.
  3. The parking area had openings, which was surprising since it was Labor Day weekend, so you’ll probably be able to find spots most anytime. From there, head toward the trail to Glen Ellis Falls.
  4. You’ll pass under NH-16 through a tunnel, and then from there, follow the stairs down to the falls. There are a number of stairs.

Accessibility: 10/10 (without further exploration)
Height: 15′
Length of Hike: 0.6 miles round-trip

Where in the World is Upper Glen Ellis Falls?

Ripley Falls, New Hampshire

People often Ripley Falls as one of their favorite falls in the New England area. I guess I just wasn’t nearly as impressed… I actually wasn’t impressed with Ripley or Arethusa Falls, which is very close by. That may be partially due to the rather low flow at the falls when I visited. I’ve seen pictures at higher flow that look pretty, but at low flow, the water seems to get lost.

I visited over Labor Day weekend, so Crawford Notch State Park and the White Mountain National Forest were jumping with people. The roadside falls and Arethusa Falls seemed to be the busiest, while Ripley Falls was less hopping. That was a good thing. It was more peaceful at Ripley Falls, and there weren’t a number of people standing right in my view. Still, my top waterfall goes to Glen Ellis Falls.

Directions:

  1. Ripley Falls is found off of US-302 in Crawford Notch State Park. If you enter the park from the northern “entrance”, you’ll find these falls a little more than 3 miles after entering park.
  2. You’ll see a sign for Ripley Falls, and that’s your indication to turn. At first, you will see a parking lot, which was very full. Do not park here. Head further down the road to the parking for Ripley Falls, which actually had spots and lead much more quickly to the trail for the falls.

Accessibility: 8/10 (easy/moderate)
Height: 100′
Length of Hike: 1.2 miles round-trip

Ripley Falls in September 2010

Where in the World is Ripley Falls?