NH Family Hikes

Welton Falls

Length: 2.4 miles out-and-back

Difficulty (click for info): Easy

Elevation Gain: -300 feet

Rating (click for info): 5/10

Height: 30'

River: Fowler River

Driving Directions:
Parking and trailhead are at the end of Shem Valley Road in Alexandria, NH. To get there, take West Shore Road off Rt. 3A in Bristol, 2.1 miles north of Rt. 104. After 1.8 miles, bear left onto Cardigan Mountain Road. Cross the Alexandria town line in 0.5 miles, where it becomes Fowler River Road. Continue for another 0.7 miles, then turn left onto North Road. When North Road ends in 1.0 mile, turn right onto Washburn Road, and then bear right onto Mount Cardigan Road in another 0.2 miles. Drive for 3.1 miles, and turn right to stay on Mount Cardigan Road (Hutchins Hill Road continues straight). Keep going 0.5 miles and stay straight onto Shem Valley Road. The AMC Hut and a large parking area are at the end of this road (1.5 miles down).

About the Hike:
Welton Falls is a small waterfall, more impressive in the gorge that it flows through than in its size. Though not the shortest access, a fine brookside trek downstream to Welton Falls can be made from AMC's Cardigan Lodge. Follow the Manning Trail from the right side of the lodge, at the edge of the field. The trail first passes through a campsite area, then crosses a cross-country ski trail. It soon swings left and follows the stream from a distance for the rest of the way. In one interesting section, you can look down into a washed-out ravine to see the stream. After a mile, the trail crosses the river on small rocks. You will arrive at the top of the waterfall in 0.2 miles. As you approach the gorge, look for a side path on the left, which leads to a ledgy area just above the plummeting waters where you can look straight down on the falls. The waterfall runs through a huge gorge before falling 15 feet into a swirling pool. Continue down the trail for viewpoints of the falls from the side and from the river below.

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