Runtrails' Web Journal
Previous       2014 Journal Topics       Home       Next



"Arethusa means 'the waterer.' In Greek mythology, she was a nymph . . .     
who fled from her home in Arcadia beneath the sea and came up as a  
fresh water fountain on the island of  Ortygia in Syracuse, Sicily."

It was such a pretty day that I decided to take Cody with me on a three-mile hike to Arethusa Falls.

With an uninterrupted 200-foot drop, it's reported to be the tallest falls in NH, although there are others that cascade farther than that. It was very pretty and I enjoyed having it to myself for a few minutes.

I went outbound on the Bemis Brook Trail to the Arethusa Falls Trail and back entirely on the falls trail. I marked the trails on the map below, which I copied from the Crawford Notch State Park website:

There is a sign for the parking area along US 302 in Crawford Notch.

I initially parked in the large, lower lot that has a trailhead for Frankenstein Cliffs, then realized the Arethusa Falls trail begins farther up the paved road. I drove about a quarter mile uphill and parked near the railroad tracks:

The trailhead is on the other side of the tracks where the arrow points. There is a Crawford Notch State Park building hidden behind the trees but I didn't go into it.

This parking area has room for about a dozen vehicles. If it's full, you'll need to park in the larger lot closer to the road and hike up to the trailhead. Some hikers do a five-mile loop with the Frankenstein Cliffs Trail or go over to Ripley Falls.

Soon after the Arethusa Falls Trail begins, the Bemis Brook Trail goes off to the left:

I followed it for 1/2 mile, partly along the creek and partly above it:

There were some pretty falls, cascades, and pools of water for Cody to cool off in:

Fawn Pool lies below some cascades.

Bemis Falls

Coliseum Falls

The Bemis Brook Trail is rougher than the main Arethusa Falls Trail, which is rated "moderate" in the White Mountain Guide. I'd guess the Bemis Brook Trail is rated moderately strenuous (I don't have the guide any more).

The last 2/10th mile up to the main trail is extremely steep and rooty:

I would never go down that thing with my bum knees. Uphill was manageable by picking my footing very carefully and using my hands to pull myself up the roots and rocks.

I was happy to reach the falls trail again and I came down it the whole way back to the truck.


The falls trail gains and looses about 1,000 feet elevation with some undulations between 1,285 feet at the parking lot to 1,970 feet at the base of the falls. The high point was 2/10ths of a mile before the falls at 2,083 feet.

There are numerous rock and log steps, some bog boards, two decent wooden bridges over side streams, and lots of pretty trees along the trail.




I didn't see anyone until I was about 1/4 mile from the falls. The couple said only two people were at the falls.

When I got there I saw two teenage boys close to the base of the falls. I was about 75 feet away, not willing to do any bouldering in the water. I took off my pack and spent about 10 minutes at the falls. The young men left and I had the place to myself for five minutes.

I was just getting ready to leave when two women arrived.

Cody loved getting into the water below the falls and in Bemis Brook. Despite his advancing age (11) he did great navigating the rough trail and he got lots of attention. We saw only two other dogs on the trail.


We saw lots of people, though. I'm glad I went up to the falls when I did and that I went up the less-traveled Bemis Brook Trail.

In addition to the six people I mentioned that I saw at or near the falls, I saw an additional 45 people on my way back the 1.3-mile main trail. That's a lot! They ranged in age from a baby in a backpack to a man who looked about 75 years old.

I sure wouldn't have wanted to be at the falls with a bunch of other folks.

That's why I didn't go on a weekend day -- or take Casey. She's a Wild Child when there are a lot of people on the trail. Cody likes being petted but he is a Mellow Fellow.


On the way to the falls I noted several photos I wanted to take along US 302 on the way back north.

I took some pictures of the beautiful mountain scenery from the truck as I drove . . .



. . . and stopped several times -- at the lake across from the Willey House, at two nearby cascades,

Lower part of the Flume Cascade

Silver Cascade

at another lake near the Highland Center and Lodge,

and at a parking area with a scenic view of the large Washington Hotel below Mt. Washington:


The clouds were too low to see the summit of Mt. Washington but I enjoyed what I could see of the Presidential Ridge "behind" the elegant lodge. (Bet it costs a bunch to stay there for a week.)

There was a group of equestrians just beginning a ride near the road when I was taking photos:

I love all the great mountain views from the Crawford Notch area.

This is such a gorgeous region to visit! I hate leaving in a couple days but we are also looking forward to exploring the Maritimes . . .

Next entry:  Here we go -- the drive from Twin Mountain, NH to Calais, ME and over the border into New Brunswick, Canada

Happy trails,

"Runtrails & Company" - Sue Norwood, Jim O'Neil, Cody the ultra Lab, and Casey-pup

Previous       Next

2014 Sue Norwood and Jim O'Neil