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Nancy Cascades

Length: 4.8 miles out-and-back

Difficulty (click for info): Easy

Elevation Gain: 1450 feet

Rating (click for info): 7/10

Height: 300'

River: Nancy Brook

Best Time to Visit:
The Nancy Cascades can be affected by low water, but brook crossings will be difficult if you visit when water is too high.

Driving Directions:
Parking area and trailhead are on Rt. 302 in Hart's Location, NH (cascades are in Livermore), 17.7 miles south of Rt. 3 and 11.3 miles west of Rt. 16.

About the Hike:
The hike to Nancy Cascades is part of the long Nancy Pond Trail. We highly recommend the full hike to Norcross Pond, but the trail to the first cascade is much easier than the full hike and the graceful fan of the first Nancy Cascade is a very worthwhile destination by itself. The Nancy Pond trail begins just south of Crawford Notch. From the pull-off, follow the Nancy Pond Trail into the forest, passing a kiosk. The trail begins as an easy dirt path which climbs at a moderate, constant grade. In 0.3 miles, trail crosses Halfway Brook. It continues climbing past this, passing an unofficial path and boundary markers on the right half a mile past the brook. It crosses Nancy Brook, the water source of the Nancy Cascades, in another 0.8 miles. The trail turns left on the other side as the abandoned Bemis Ridge Trail continues straight ahead. The trail climbs along the brook for about 0.3 miles, passing the remains of an old mill, until it suddenly turns away onto a relocated section of trail. There are many switchbacks here. After a short climb, the trail descends past boulders back to the brook in a half mile, passing some large boulders along the way. The trail crosses crosses Nancy Brook for a second time, now within viewing distance of the first cascade, then continues up along the other side, where a side path descends to the rocky brook at the pool below the cascade.

The first Nancy Cascade is the largest of the three (and the only one that is clearly visible from the trail and doesn't require serious climbing to see). It is a delicate, fanning waterfall, and is great to photograph. There are many rocks to sit on, so it's a nice place for a picnic. You can choose to stop here, or make the effort to see the other cascades. As the trail climbs very steeply, with switchbacks, up the hillside right across from the cliffs of the cascades, it passes the second cascade, more of a low-angle water slide, and the third cascade, which requires visitors to step a few yards off the trail and can easily be missed. If you do decide to climb to these additional waterfalls, consider the additional trip to Norcross Pond (see above link), as it does not require much more effort and is one of the most scenic ponds in the White Mountains.


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