Hike New Hampshire
Trips in NH

Arethusa Falls

by Carrie and Dave

Hike Length: Dayhike

Trails: Frankenstein Cliff Trail

So, we wanted to go hiking on my birthday. I am a Novice hiker at best and this was to be David's first hike of the year so, needless to say, we wanted something fairly simple. Of course we asked the advice of all our hiker friends and ended up doing something COMPLETELY different.

Arethusa Falls - Click to Enlarge

We bought a map of some hiking trails in the White Mountains rated from easy to hard. Now, being that I am in semi-good shape and David is very fit maybe we could tackle something moderately difficult. Ultimately we/I decided on the Arethusa Falls / Frankenstein Cliff Trail. Approx. 3.5 mile loop easy-moderate difficulty.

Anyway, as most mornings are this summer, 6:00 am was fairly chilly but, the day promised to become much warmer. We arrived at the bottom most of the two trail parking lots at 9:00 am. This lot, however, put us at the end of the trail we had chosen so, we decided that me may as well do the loop in the opposite direction we had originally planned on. So, off we went. The hike started off nice and easy for my beginner legs. The Author - Click to Enlarge Then we came upon an old railroad trestle which was quite a fantastic site. It was at this point that I notice the signs saying the cliffs were off limits to rock-climbers due to Peregrine falcons nesting. I was very excited at the prospect of being able to see the falcons. I wasn't disappointed, we saw two flying around just above us, BEAUTIFUL!!! Anyway, we continued on. From here on the I realized that there was a reason we should have started on the end of the trail we had originally decided on. WE WERE CLIMBING STRAIGHT UP!!! Not a moderate incline, STRAIGHT UP, ABOUT 2000' STRAIGHT UP! Needless to say we made several short stops to try and lower our heart rates. Even David with his regular work-outs at the gym found himself 'sucking wind' so to speak! But, I just kept reminding myself that this is fun and a GREAT workout!

But, of course, the moment we reached the top all the 'hard work' more than paid off. The view from the top of the 2400' elevation is SPECTACULAR! (David's afraid of heights) :) We stopped here to take pictures and have something to eat, then continued on. The next stop a few hundred feet from the cliff is a nice view Mount Washington. Another photo op.

Of course, the hike down the Atheusa falls was fairly easy. Simple,in either direction, compared to what we just put ourselves through. It was on this back side we ran into other hikers. Atheusa Falls is a favorite spot for tourists we found. Understandably so, as they are quite beautiful. Definitely worth the trip! And, of course, the hike from the falls to the parking lot can even be traversed by three year olds! Very popular for a family outing.

Overall, the hike was more than worth it and I/we would certainly do it again, even backwards!!! :) If you are going to do it backward just be prepared! It's all more than worth it in the end.

Dave looking tough! - Click to EnlargeGood thing she has a muscle shirt on! - Click to EnlargeThe Falls - Click to Enlarge

Equipment: Boots, water, packs, sythetic clothing

Special Equipment: None

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Chris Oberg & Robert Havasy