NH Family Hikes

Frankenstein Cliff

Length: 1.3 miles out-and-back

Difficulty (click for info): Hard

Elevation Gain: 1000 feet

Rating (click for info): 6/10

Elevation: 2150'

Prominence: none

Driving Directions:
Trailhead and parking area are on Arethusa Falls Road in Harts Location, NH. Arethusa Falls Road is just south of the Willey House on Rt. 302 and is well marked. There are two parking areas. The lower parking area is larger.

The Frankenstein Cliff Trail officially begins at the upper parking area (right side), but a connecting path from the lower parking area can also be used. Click here for a Google map.

About the Hike:
Travelers coming through Crawford Notch from the south are greeted by a monster: Frankenstein Cliff. This giant rock formation looms above the highway and seems to bear a profile of Frankenstein's Monster embedded in the rock. However, the cliffs were, in fact, named for a painter, Godfrey Frankenstein. From the open ledge at the top, you will have a grand view out the end of the notch. The trail starts at the same place as the trail to Arethusa Falls. In the beginning, it's very flat and easy. It travels on the side of a hill, below the tracks of the Conway Scenic Railroad. After just over half a mile, the path turns uphill and goes under the railroad tracks. It becomes very steep quickly, climbing over loose rock. The trail climbs to a huge rock face, then turns to ascend around it. During spring runoff, water will flow down this cliff. Soon, it flattens out again and switchbacks begin. After a last short climb, the trail emerges on the open ledge at the top of the cliff, 1.3 miles from the parking area.

The view from the cliff is very nice. To the left, you can see the Giant Stairs along with the tiny peak of Mt. Crawford. Seen through the end of the notch are Bartlett Haystack and Mt. Tremont. Far below, Rt. 302 and the Saco River wind out of the notch. You can also see the trailhead and your car (if you parked in the upper parking lot). Visible in the wilderness to the west is the upper half of Arethusa Falls. For additional views, continue 0.5 miles up the trail to a view of Mt. Washington, or turn right in 0.2 miles to visit Falcon Cliff. You can also continue all the way to the end of the trail and continue straight onto Arethusa-Ripley Falls Trail to make a nice five-mile loop with Arethusa Falls.

Printable directions page
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