Hike Report for Arethusa Falls

Arethusa Falls is located in New Hampshire, United States. It is located at the following coordinates: (44.1465, 71.3927).
This hike report was written by Douglas Twitchell, about a hike on Friday, September 9, 2005.
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Directions to Trailhead

Arethusa Falls is located in Crawford Notch State Park, near Bartlett, New Hampshire. It is located right off route 302 right by the southern end of the Crawford Notch State Park. There are two trails you can take to get to the falls. The first (the one we took) is the "Arethusa Falls Trail". The other is the "Frankenstein Cliffs" trail. Both trails are accessed from the parking area.

Hike Report

I hiked Arethusa Falls this summer with my brother and his wife. We were looking forward to this, our first hike of the summer, and were not daunted by the rainy weather. Unfortunately, rain means mud and slipperyness, so we decided not to hike the Frankenstein Cliff Trail...we weren't sure what that would be like. So we just went in and out on the Arethusa Falls Trail.

The hike up the Arethusa Falls Trail is an easy one. Not very steep, and only 1.2 miles. The downside is that you're mostly traveling through the woods, so you don't see very many grand views. Of course, on a rainy wet cloudy day, we wouldn't have seen much anyway. I expect all the views were along the Frankenstein Cliffs Trail.

We were quite interested by the names of the bridges along the trail; one bridge was named "The King's Highway Bridge" (or something like that...Jonathan said it was a Biblical reference) and the other was "The Bridge Of Khazad Dum". That's right. We crossed the Bridge of Khazad Dum. And there was neither a balrog chasing us, nor a wizard telling us we shall not pass!

We brought a lunch with us, but since it was raining when we got to the falls we just stopped long enough to take some pictures and then we turned around and hiked back, and had lunch in the car.

As you stand in the parking lot, you can see the cliffs looming overhead, and seeing that, I really want to go back on a sunny day and try the hike again, this time venturing over the cliffs!

If you hike the loop, doing both the Arethusa Falls Trail and the Frankenstein Cliffs Trail, you have a total hike length of about 5 miles. And it is estimated that it will take the average hiker about 3 hours. If you just do in-and-out on the shorter trail, it's only a couple hours.

One site I looked at said there was an elevation change of 1,250 feet. However, I do believe you only get that elevation change if you do the cliffs. The trail we hiked was far too shallow a slope to provide that kind of elevation gain.

Several sites claim that this is a very popular tourist attraction, and you should be prepared to share the falls and the trails with a LOT of people. However, since it was raining yesterday, we only saw a few hikers straggling along the trails, and none of us stayed very long at the falls.

The trail is very well worn (see previous paragraph about tourists!) so you never have any difficulty trying to figure out which direction to go. The trail is also very clearly marked with blue blazes.


This is really just a hike through the woods, with a gradual upgrade, making it nice for families to do. The trail brings you out at the bottom of the falls; before starting out I had it in my mind that we were going to hike to the top of the falls, which I'm sure would have been more challenging.


The hike is 1.2 miles in from the parking lot along the Arethusa Falls Trail. It took us about an hour to get in to the falls.


Images on this page are the property of Douglas Twitchell, and may not be used without permission of the owner.
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About the author
Most of my hiking happens in the North East region of the United States. I don't hike as much as I used to, now that we have a baby in the house, but I do love to get out and explore now and then! If I've provided incorrect info in any of my reports, please drop me a comment so I can fix it! (more...)
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