NH Family Hikes

Ripley Falls

Length: 1.0 mile out-and-back

Difficulty (click for info): Easy

Elevation Gain: 320 feet (+40 feet on return)

Rating (click for info): 8/10

Height: 100'

River: Avalanche Brook

Driving Directions:
Trailhead and parking area are on Willey House Station Road in Harts Location, NH. This road leaves Rt. 302 12.2 miles southeast of Rt. 3 and 16.8 miles west and northwest of Rt. 16. Look for the entrance at a state park sign for Ripley Falls on the south side of the road, a mile south of the Willey House and just west of a bridge over Avalanche Brook. Drive 0.3 miles up the road to the lot at the end. If there is no parking here, it is an option to park at the base of the road and walk up. In winter, the road is not plowed and the only parking is at the base. Click here for a Google map.

About the Hike:
Waterfall-rich Crawford Notch is home to the two tallest waterfalls in the state, Arethusa Falls and Ripley Falls. Arethusa claims the greater share of the notoriety and visitors, but Ripley is a spectacular destination that still receives ample adoration. With the two being right down the road from each other, they can conveniently be visited as part of one trip. Its graceful majesty is accessible via a doable 15-20 minute jaunt into the woods. It's the kind of scenery that you'll remember clearly for a lifetime after seeing it for the first time. From the parking area, begin your hike on the Ethan Pond Trail. The trail nears Avalanche Brook, the source of the waterfall, then climbs to and crosses the tracks of the Conway Scenic Railroad, from which there is a slight view up to the looming summit of Mt. Willey. A moderate climb of 0.15 miles over rocky steps leads to the junction with Arethusa-Ripley Falls Trail. This trail joins the two great waterfalls of Crawford Notch so that they can be hiked together, but it is most convenient to visit them separately. Turn left to follow it. The trail slices across the hillside on a nearly flat course, climbing slightly. In the spring, this section can become very muddy, as many seasonal streams flow across it. After 0.35 miles, the trail drops steeply over roots and rocks to a pile of rocks beside the pool at the base of Ripley Falls. The trail crosses to the other side, but this is as far as you need to go to enjoy the awe-inspiring beauty. In its peak season, torrents of water drape across the angled cliffs to create a majestic sheet of foamy white. The mist of the waterfall usually rises and permeates the air in this secluded little hollow.

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