Difficulty: Very easy. At just over a mile in length to get to the falls, and with very little elevation gain, the Arethusa Falls trail is one that just about anyone can do. There was some icy parts, so bringing along some traction certainly helps.
Directions: The Arethusa Falls trailhead is located in the White Mountains National Forest of New Hampshire. Located in Hart’s Location, just off of Route 302, is situated on private land. The parking lot is about halfway between the southern edge of Grafton Notch and the town of Bartlett. It’s very well signed, and hard to miss.
Trail Report: Setting off at about 2:40pm from the trailhead, we left a pretty crowded parking lot for the trail. The track heads out around the landowner’s beautiful cabin, and up towards Bemis Brook. The trail branches off here with the option to go down towards the brook and follow it up, adding a half mile to the trip out. Colleen and I chose to skip the brook and head straight to the falls. The trail is pretty flat, but beautiful. The left side of the trail is a very steep drop down into the river valley below, and the brook can be heard constantly as it gradually gets louder the closer you get to the falls. You cross over two wooden bridges on the way out, before a little descent towards the falls.
Arethusa Falls is pretty awe-inspiring. It’s truly one of those beautiful sights that you wish more people could see, but still remain glad that it takes a little work to get there so it remains pure. Estimated at anywhere from 120 feet to 170, Arethusa Falls is generally considered the highest single drop in the state of New Hampshire. The actual height is a matter of spirited debate in the waterfall community (I eyeball it at around 140 feet) but regardless, it’s one of those White Mountain sights that can’t be missed.
We passed two or three groups of people on the way in and out, and a number of cars where still in the lot when we left. Overall it took two hours to get there and back, with over 40 minutes spent at the falls.
Personal Notes: Arethusa Falls is one of my favorite spots. It’s a stunning waterfall that seems to fall straight out of the sky. Sometimes out there, you can see ice climbers scaling the sides of the frozen falls which is pretty awesome. I found a way up the side of the falls and got out to the top, but I really wouldn’t recommend it if you don’t have the right gear.
Double side note, after we visited the falls, we made a trip over to the Ice Castles in Lincoln, New Hampshire as a surprise for Colleen’s birthday. It was a really cool attraction, even if it took slamming into a guardrail to get there. Don’t worry, the Blazer is fine, she’s a tough old bird.
Tune in next time for more trail logs!