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Arethusa Falls

Length: 3.1 miles out-and-back

Difficulty (click for info): Easy

Elevation Gain: 850 feet (+130 feet on return)

Rating (click for info): 8/10

Height: 160'

River: Bemis Brook

Driving Directions:
Trailhead and parking area are on Arethusa Falls Road in Harts Location, NH. Arethusa Falls Road leaves the west side of Rt. 302 14.5 miles southeast from its junction with Rt. 3. The road is well marked with state park signs. It is also 3.4 miles beyond the Willey House, travelling south, and just past the Dry River Campground. There are two parking areas a short distance up this road. The lower parking area is larger and serves as the overflow for the upper parking lot, which fills up rapidly. The Arethusa Falls Trail begins at the upper parking area. Click here for a Google map.

About the Hike:
Arethusa Falls is New Hampshire's tallest single drop waterfall, and also one of the most scenic. Located in the waterfall-rich Crawford Notch State Park, it is a very popular tourist attraction due to its lofty status the low effort required to hike the trail. It's an essential landmark every White Mountain visitor needs to see at least once, arguably right along with its near neighbor, Ripley Falls. Visit during off-days to minimize crowding. As you stand in its dominating presence, dwarfed by the immense sheet of crashing white, a sense of awe will overcome you. This hike incorporates the less-used Bemis Brook Trail loop otion to visit additional waterfalls which serve as an appetizer to the main attraction.

To begin the hike, make your way to the upper parking lot and locate the prominent trailhead for the Arethusa Falls Trail. Just 0.1 miles into the hike, Bemis Brook Trail forks left. Bear left to escape the crowds for half a mile on the Bemis Brook Trail for a scenic brook walk past two additional cascades. As you follow the trail along the brook, you will first come to Fawn Pool, a sunny pool below a long water slide. Next on the trail is Bemis Falls, a stout and voluminous plunge. The second waterfall is Coliseum Falls. This waterfall is more impressive, as it is has three separate drops. You can observe it as you stand on a rock ledge over the water. Two cascades rush in front of you, while the third is directly below. From here, the trail turns uphill and climbs very steeply until it reconnects with the main trail. Turn left to continue on the Arethusa Falls Trail. The trail then begins to climb slowly across the lower slopes of the mountains through the cheery forest. In half a mile, the trail swings left to cross small streams on two bridges and transport you back in the direction of the main brook. At a junction in another quarter mile, continue straight onto the spur to Arethusa Falls. Arethusa-Ripley Falls Trail goes right, toward Frankenstein Cliff Trail, making a loop over Frankenstein Cliff possible. From this junction, it is 0.2 miles more down to the falls.

The rushing cataract of Arethusa Falls is majestic. There are plenty of nice spots to sit and enjoy the waterfall, which runs out on a wide gravelly outwash in front of you. You can also walk right up to the base of the falls to watch it from below.


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