Waterfall Wonders of the Granite State: New Hampshire’s Top 10

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Waterfall

The waterfall in New Hampshire’s White Mountains provide:

  • Picturesque picnic areas.
  • Swimming holes.
  • The payoff for a quick climb.
  • Even kid-friendly natural water parks.

Waterfalls have an almost hypnotic appeal due to the endless patterns. They create as they tumble and splash over ledges and stones. Sunbeams interact with the constantly moving water to capture light in various ways. Creating fleeting rainbows that appear and go instantly.

Some waterfalls, such as Beaver Brook and Jackson Falls, are visible from the road. Diana’s Bath and Sabbaday Falls need just a little stroll. There are a few of them that have swimming-friendly waterfalls.

At The Basin, you may picnic on the rocks under the Lower Falls of the Swift River and the Cascades. Most waterfalls in New Hampshire combine significant plunges and foamy cascades. However, some are long drops, and others are stair-step-like sequences of cascades. No two are even close to being the same; that is clear.

The Flume and Lost River, two of the waterfalls, are part of more prominent New Hampshire natural attractions, but apart from these, they are open to the public without charge.

Swimming immediately beneath or behind a waterfall is seldom safe unless for extremely shallow pools. Even a modest waterfall’s energy may sweep out a deep basin and produce an undertow powerful enough to submerge even experienced swimmers.

Our list of the top waterfalls in New Hampshire will help you plan your trips to the White Mountains and the Great North Woods.

The Flume:

Waterfall

A little stream passing through a fissure in the granite created The Flume, an 800-foot-long valley with 90-foot-tall vertical walls, over thousands of years in Franconia Notch.

The waterfall in New Hampshire is not the largest. But it has by far the most picturesque surroundings, plummeting in a sequence of falls and cascades. You may stroll beside the stream that scarcely appears large enough to have built this hole across the gorge.

The stream emerges from the hillside covered in trees above, meanders past water-smoothed ledges, and then plunges over the gorge’s brink. The waterfalls 40 feet free into the valley when it is high, in the spring, or after a downpour. When the water level is lower, it cascades down the stair-step granite formations in a succession of lesser falls.

To reach Liberty Gorge Cascades, which are longer than The Flume’s falls but less impressive, continue on the route after The Flume. The finest place to see the cascading falls is from a trail to the left, just before the bridge, where a covered footbridge crosses the top. As you walk to The Flume, you will encounter several enormous rocks known as glacial erratics that were deposited when the glaciers receded at the end of the last Ice Age.

2. Rocky Gorge and Lower Falls:

Waterfall

Along the Kancamagus Highway near Albany, a pair of waterfalls with the suitable names Swift River, Rocky Gorge, and Lower Falls may be found. They are the most picturesque and dramatic locations along a 12-mile length of rapids and waterfalls, despite neither having a very steep drop.

The best part is that Lower Falls has pools where you may swim and ledges where you can sunbathe. You won’t be the only one using this swimming hole on a bright day. These pools create shallow wading areas and larger basins of whirling water suitable for swimming. When the river rushes through a network of channels and water-worn collections in the granite riverbed. Although Rocky Gorge is not suitable for swimming. It is a stunning succession of falls surrounded by trees and with mountains in the background.

You’ll need a Federal Use Pass to stop anywhere along the Kancamagus Highway. Since it passes through the White Mountain National Forest. These are available at either end of the route, either at the Ranger station in Conway. Or at the White Mountains Attractions office near Interstate 93 in Lincoln.

3. Arethusa Falls:

Arethusa Falls

The highest waterfall in New Hampshire is Arethusa Falls, which has a 175-foot straight plunge. When water flows over a solid granite wall, it gets trapped in the shelves and crevices, creating a long, shimmering veil as it bounces.

Arethusa is Bemis Brook’s most stunning feature in the spring or after storms. When the water flows over the cliff in a raging torrent since Bemis Brook is not very large. The height and sheer plummet of the falls make them worth the walk, even after a dry summer.

Be cautious about wearing sturdy shoes (this is not a route for flip-flops) since the 1.3-mile track from Route 302 in Crawford Notch features a 750-foot elevation increase. Along the way are lesser prizes like Bemis Brook Falls and Coliseum Falls, which are around halfway to Arethusa. Two more kilometres of ardent hiking will bring you to Ripley Falls, a 100-foot fall over cliffs.

4. Crystal Cascade:

Crystal Cascade offers two different plunges in one fall. The largest is a wide curtain of water 60 feet high that crashes over a hard granite wall. While the smallest plunges 20 feet between the surrounding cliffs. The stream abruptly turns right angles near the bottom.

This unusual river bend has been designed with spectators in mind, giving them the ideal vantage position to witness the falls directly. About a third of a mile, a 15-minute walk, and a sharp but brief climb make up the ascent to this location. The AMC Pinkham Notch Visitors Center, a fantastic spot to learn more about the White Mountains, is where the path starts.

5. Lost River Gorge:

Lost River Gorge

Like the rest of New Hampshire’s rock-strewn and rugged landscape, Lost River Gorge was formed near the end of the last Ice Age when enormous granite slabs were dislodged and fell in the water pouring out of the melting ice. The river finally became hidden as it rushed down the narrow valley, digging a bed under it and releasing additional rocks.

Following the river, you may ascend wooden stairways next to cascades and waterfalls that plummet into deep pools with a basin-like shape. The continual whirling seas packed with sand and stones from above cut and blasted these enormous pits.

In specific locations, you may climb into the confined tunnels and passages of the boulder caves. That the river has carved down under the surface. Anyone with claustrophobia should avoid going through “the lemon squeezer,” the narrowest of these tubes.

At the peak, a boardwalk crosses a suspension bridge and enters a field of glacial boulders. With so many caverns and fissures to explore, families love this site in particular.

6. Glen Ellis Falls:

Glen Ellis Falls

The Ellis River seems to erupt from above, spilling out of a rocky spout before plummeting down a 60-foot precipice, narrowed and accelerated by a thin tunnel at the beginning of the falls. It crashes to the ground in a foam storm into a deep pool ringed by huge rocks that glaciers from the mountainsides above tore away from.

From a platform, visitors may enjoy a fantastic sight of Glen Ellis Falls before descending the wooden steps for a close-up look at the falls. The Ellis River, which feeds the falls, originates from the glacial cirques and ravines that make up Mount Washington’s eastern slope, the tallest mountain in the northeast. This waterfall is renowned for its consistent flow because of its stable spring-fed sources.

While ascending Pinkham Notch, Glen Ellis Falls parking is well indicated, and an underpass leads to the falls.

7. Sabbaday Falls:

From the Kancamagus Highway, a flat route of approximately a third of a mile leads to one of the state’s most beautiful waterfalls. The first visible thing is a flume, where water rushes through a 10-foot gap between moss-covered rock walls. The whirling water and the debris it carries create a pothole below the Flume.

The whole waterfall may be seen above, where you can ascend via woodland steps by following the rim. Sabbaday Falls is a fascinating example of how waterfalls alter and develop throughout time. You can observe potholes created by the rushing water at the top of the falls. When erosion erodes their downstream rims, they initially cut into the ledges before eventually breaking through and allowing the falls to move farther upstream.

The trailhead for the roadside picnic spot is there, and like other rest areas along the Kancamagus. It requires a Federal Use Pass to visit.

8. The Basin and Cascades:

Glen Ellis Falls

One of the few on our list that is wheelchair accessible, the little waterfall cascading into The Basin adds charm to the location’s appeal.

Tourists are drawn to The Basin because of its undulating form, which was sculpted by the whirling waters of a much bigger cascade of glacial meltwater. Even though it is not as noteworthy as a waterfall. More than 30 feet in diameter and more than 15 feet deep. Enormous hands have sculpted the circular hole in the granite.

Follow the route a little distance into the woods to the Cascades for an enormous waterfall (and a lovely picnic area). Cascade Brook offers kids room to splash safely by descending over a lengthy series of flat ledges, leaving the shaded borders dry for picnics.

9. Beaver Brook Falls:

Beaver Brook Falls is one of the few waterfalls in the state that may be seen from the side of the road (Silver Cascade in Crawford Notch is another). It is also one of the few not located in the White Mountains.

Despite being in the Great North Woods Region, north of Colebrook, the waterfall is a roadside surprise, a 35-foot sheet of water bursting out of nowhere from the forest.

A cascade sequence splashes from pool to pool under the higher falls’ abrupt plummet. A picnic spot is located at the base of the waterfall.

Signs warn you of the moose’s presence as you pass through this sparsely inhabited northern area. These are intended to serve as a warning to be on the lookout for them on the road. Since they are enormous creatures without fear of cars. The signs also inform you that you can see these spectacular creatures in marshy areas next to the road, which would be a memorable experience.

10. Diana’s Bath:

Diana's Bath

One of the state’s most beautiful and intriguing waterfalls may be found in Diana’s Bath. Thanks to several interconnected water features. The first is an eight-foot fall that emerges from a bedrock tunnel . And cascades 15 feet down a sloping granite surface.

A 20-foot-tall granite face roughly 20 feet broad has several little waterfalls. These fall onto shelves, creating little divots at every level. Through these basins, water constantly descends, eventually reaching the story below.

These shelves grow flatter and closer together as you go higher, but the basins get more apparent. It has the appearance of a free-form fountain.

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