Arethusa Falls and Frankenstein Cliffs

Harts Location, New Hampshire 03812

Arethusa Falls and Frankenstein Cliffs

Arethusa Falls and Frankenstein Cliffs Professional Review and Guide

"Arethusa Falls is the tallest waterfall in New Hampshire, more than 200 feet high. The falls are an especially stunning sight early in the season. Frankenstein Cliff provides great views of Crawford Notch.

The Arethusa Falls is a pleasant walk along Bemis Brook, and with additional effort, several smaller waterfalls can also be visited. Given its stature as the tallest waterfall in New Hampshire, Arethusa Falls is a popular destination, so expect lots of company."

More Arethusa Falls and Frankenstein Cliffs Professional Reviews and Guides

"This enjoyable half-day adventure leads to the cool, refreshing mist at the base of New Hampshire’s highest falls and to the precarious edge of a 600-foot cliff with breathtaking views of the Saco River Valley.

Generally along easy to moderate terrain, the hike’s one steep section becomes a faded memory as wildflowers, moss-covered forests, and choruses of songbirds quickly instill more lasting memories. Complete this hike in conjunction with nearby trails to enjoy a full day of Crawford Notch State Park’s scenic and rugged beauty."

"Dropping more than 200 feet in a swath of lacy mist, the plunge of Bemis Rock creates New Hampshire's highest falls and a premier natural wonder. But seasoned hikers understand that there's more to Arethusa Falls than a first-class visual treat.

In the hot days of midsummer the sluicing cascades, broad rocks, and tiny pools that emerge from the base of the falls create a perfect spot for cooling your feet, splashing your children, or simply enjoying the pleasures of its backcountry sights and sounds."

"Take it to a vote: Who wants to visit the state’s highest waterfall? Now, who wants to climb to the top of some 600-foot cliffs? Guess what? On this hike, everyone wins! The trip to Frankenstein Cliff by way of Bemis Brook and Arethusa Falls will satisfy water lovers as well as view lovers.

The 2.4-mile round-trip hike to the spectacular falls, however, may be enough for adults hiking with preschoolers. The continuation of the loop hike to Frankenstein Cliff (named for a local artist, not the fellow with bolts in his neck) is demanding, and the cliffs are not appropriate for unchaperoned exploring. So, alter the route to suit your needs."

"A pleasant trek to the highest waterfall in New Hampshire, past a lookout to Mount Washington, and then across the top of a 600-foot cliff. Frankenstein Cliff towers 600 feet above the parking lot. But the cliffs are only half the show. Arethusa Falls is the highest waterfall in New Hampshire and a destination in its own right.

This is an excellent multi-faceted hike for families, not only to two iconic landmarks, but also with a nice view of Mount Washington and the chance to pass under the sky-high trestle built by the Maine Central Railroad, which is still used today as a sightseeing train called the Conway Scenic Railroad."

"At 200 feet high, Arethusa Falls is the tallest waterfall in New Hampshire, and in spring there is an impressive wall of water making the plunge down a wall of reddish-brown rock on Bemis Brook. The hike to the falls is relatively easy and suitable for most kids with some hiking experience who can go uphill at a moderate pace for more than a mile.

If you feel like doubling your effort, you can make this a loop hike by adding Frankenstein Cliff to your itinerary. The views from the cliff are excellent, but it is a down-sloping ledge with a very steep drop-off, so it is not appropriate for smaller children."

Arethusa Falls and Frankenstein Cliffs Reviews

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7/9/2018
A nice, steady climb to beautiful cascading falls. Take care because, while this trail is rated as "moderate," the trail is full of rocks, roots, and ruts, and has a few pretty steep places. The reward after navigating the 1.5 mile is the gorgeous falls. It's an awesome spot to have lunch and enjoy the falls before making the trek back.
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9/28/2013
Moderate to easy hike with some big step downs so be cautious. Can be difficult for someone who has never hiked or is out of shape. The reward at the end is so worth it though. Such beautiful scenery for such an easy hike. Can get crowded on a warm summer day. Head towards the falls and turn left to hike up to the falls themselves. Be very careful and alert when doing this.
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7/18/2010
Hike to the falls is a good uphill with a rewarding downhill before reaching the falls. After hiking there the scenery is very rewarding and worth the tiring hike. I would imagine for avid hikers this trail is easy but as an office working who gets little daily exercise the trail was on the difficult side but well worth it. We went on a Sunday and the falls had a good amount of visitors, I imagine during the week the crowd is much smaller. There is plenty of parking space and a visitors center at the trail head. I would say this is definitely a waterfall to see if you are in the area and looking for some rewarding scenery.
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3/27/2010
My 4th time to the falls (2x just the falls/2x the falls + Frankenstein Cliff), but 1st time this early in the year. There was still some hard pack snow on the ground, but we started around 11am, it was bright and sunny, so the snow was a little softer than expected. Took the Bemis trail up...mistake! The trail isn't that steep, but at the end, where it merges with the main trail, is where you get all of your elevation. At this time of the year footing was treacherous. With all the rain the area received in the past week, the falls were flowing pretty well, with the sides still covered in ice. A great hike at any time of the year.
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7/5/2009
I am not a great hiker - I'm a flatlander from Iowa - but living in New Hampshire, my partner insisted we try. It's a steady incline but the elevation isn't bad - there are some big steps up and down so watch your knees, but we saw kids and people with tiny dogs doing it no problem - and the falls - WOW - the view was amazing and so so so worth it! I'd do it again. An inspiring hike.
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9/1/2008
Nice hike with beautiful waterfalls! We went up the Arethusa Falls trail but came back on the Bemis Brook trail. The Bemis Brook trail is very steep with lots of tree roots. A couple look out areas though that are worth checking out.
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8/31/2008
This is a greak short hike. I did the Arethusa falls trail round trip so the total was 2.8 miles. The hike to the falls is uphill the entire way, at a light to moderate incline. But the treasure at the end is worth it. A beautiful 200ft waterfall. 3 hours should be enough time to hike there and back, allow some time to explore the rocks at the base of the falls. Be sure to take off your shoes and walk in the cold Mt. water. We started out at 10am. by the time we got back both lots were full and people were parking out on the road. This trail is very busy, go early or on a weekday for the best experiance. I rated it 4 stars just for the falls. On this trail I past people from the ages of 6-70 years old, with babys in backbacks and dogs so it is a trail for the whole family.
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8/3/2008
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5/17/2008
This was a really fun hike. I took a group of 7 out this way for a first of the season trip and we all really enjoyed it. The walk along the base of the cliffs was easy going so it made for a nice warm up. Of course the warm up was needed because the route to the top of the cliffs is quite steep at times and moderately steep the rest of the time. On the upside, it's only a little over half a mile before you get to the easier terrain at the top. The first view is fantastic, out along the notch. The one thing I would say is that it feels like you should be done climbing when you get to the top of the cliffs, but you still have some climbing left, but nothing compared to coming up the cliffs. Once you get to the view of Washington (which is great by the way) it starts descending. At first the descent is gradual and meandering, but there is a section where it drops down fairly steeply. Again, the steep section does not last very long, and you are back on a meandering path. Several stream crossing and a beautiful cascade (that isn't even mentioned in the write up) later, you find yourself at Arethusa falls. If you haven't seen them before, they are spectacular. The hike out from here is farily easy going, but is a steady descent (my knees starting getting tired). All together it was a really enjoyable hike: the views and the falls are great, and the forest you traverse along the way is beautiful as well (I especially liked crossing between evergreen and deciduous forests, the variety is wonderful).
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5/13/2008
Trail is a pleasant walk into a very rewarding finish. The falls are beautiful.
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Arethusa Falls and Frankenstein Cliffs Photos

Trail Information

Harts Location
Nearby City
4.9
Distance
Loop/Lollipop
Trail Type
Moderate to Difficult
Skill Level
2.0–5.0 hours
Duration
Spring to Fall
Season
Waterfalls
Features
White Mountain National Forest
Local Contacts
USGS Topo: Stairs Mountain to Crawford Notch, NH
Local Maps