Winter Waterfall Hikes Across NH
Looking for a way to combat winter cabin fever? Look no further. Home to over one hundred waterfalls, New Hampshire offers some of the best winter waterfall hikes in the northeast. So dig out your hat, mittens, and crampons, and scout out some of these frozen cascades to explore on your next day off. But before hitting the trail, make sure you are equipped with the proper clothing and gear needed to navigate winter weather conditions.
Not sure what you need for your next winter hiking expedition?
Just be sure to dress warmly with waterproof, insulated gear, hand warmers and foot warmers, and adequate footwear and traction devices. Depending on the snowpack, you should either bring micro-spikes, crampons, or snowshoes to traverse across snowy or icy terrain. To learn the distinctions between these three traction devices, check out the article linked here.
Winter Waterfall Hiking Destinations in NH
Arethusa Falls, Jackson, NH
With nearly a two-hundred-foot drop, Arethusa Falls is NH’s tallest “single-drop” waterfall. The hike to the frozen cascade is 1.5-miles long, totaling to a 3-mile round trip, perfect for any beginner hiker. Don’t be surprised if you see ice climbers ascending the frozen ice formations, as this location has become a favorite spot among many winter climbers. The estimated walking time is 1.5-3 hours total.
Sabbaday Falls, Kancamagus Highway, NH
If you’re looking for a short trek with a stellar view, this is the hike for you. Located near Bartlett, NH, Sabbaday Falls is a 0.7-mile out-and-back trail to a small network of waterfalls. The forty-foot drop flows into a lower gorge that can be seen best from stairs on the premises. You can access Sabbaday Falls via the trailhead for the Sabbaday Brook Trail, a White Mountain National Forest hike leading to the col between North and Middle Tripyramid.
Thompson Falls, Gorham, NH
Another quick out-and-back hike is Thompson Falls in Gorham. Situated at the base of Wildcat Mountain, this 1.5-mile hike offers countless breathtaking views along a riverbed flowing from the falls. Once you arrive at the base lodge, traverse across a small footbridge over Peabody River, and keep your eyes peeled for the Thompson Falls sign on the left. Thereafter, continue straight until you reach the viewing area.
Cloudland Falls, Lincoln, NH
Located on one of New England’s most popular mountains, this 1.5-mile hike up Falling Waters Trail will take you past Stair Falls at 0.8 miles, Swiftwater Falls at 1.0 mile, and finally up to Cloudland Falls at 1.5 miles. Make sure to pack your micro-spikes, as this trail’s incline grows steeper in pitch as the mileage increases. Starting east of the Franconia Notch Parkway, you can access Falling Waters Trail via Old Bridle Path. Follow Old Bridle Path for 0.2 miles and turn right to stay on Falling Waters Trail.
Diana’s Baths, Bartlett, NH
Named after the Roman goddess of the hunt, moon, and nature, Diana’s Baths offers its spectators incredible views of boulders, pools, and cascades year round. The seventy-five-foot drop over a sculptured rock formation is fed by Lucy Brook, which flows from Big Attitash Mountain. The parking lot access for Diana’s Baths is located on West Side Road, North Conway NH 03860.
The Basin, Franconia, NH
This whirlpool wetland is well worth a stop off I-93. A quick walk past a meandering brook will take you to the first of several viewing areas along the trail, being the enormous granite pothole, eroded from 15,000 years worth of Pemigewasset river run. From the parking lot off I-93, hikers begin on a relatively flat trail called Pemigewasset Recreational Trail, before turning right onto Cascade Brook Trail .25 miles in. When you arrive at the Basin, try to spot the water-eroded rock formation called the “Old Man’s Foot” located at the outlet of the stream bed.
Champney Falls, Albany, NH
Champney Falls is a series of cascades about seventy-feet long. The falls can be accessed via Champney Falls Trail, a 3.1-mile heavily trafficked out-and-back trail located near Albany, 10.5 miles west of Conway on the Kancamagus Highway. The estimated walking time to the falls and back is 2.5 hours long. Those who wish to climb beyond the falls can combine the Champney Falls Trail with the trail to the summit of Mount Chocorua.
Castle in the Clouds Brook Walk, Moultonborough, NH
The Brook Walk Trail at Castle in the Clouds is a 1.6-mile round trip hike leading past five waterfalls that culminate at the most iconic view, ”the forty-foot high Fall of Song. Unlike most hikes, Castle in the Clouds starts at the highest elevation point and descends as the trail continues. Visit this link to learn more about the hike and how to navigate to the trailhead: https://www.hikenewengland.com/CastleInTheClouds080127.php