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Unleash Your Wanderlust: Top 15 Swim & Hike Waterfalls in NH

Dive into New Hampshire's hidden cascades—where every splash tells a story and every trail leads to awe. Ready for a waterfall adventure that'll drench your wanderlust?

Tobi Miles
May 22, 2022

If you are looking for an adventure, look no further than the waterfalls of New Hampshire. This guide will take you to some of the best waterfalls in the state, from easy hikes to more challenging adventures.

If you want to visit the tallest falls in the state, Arethusa Falls soars at 160 feet high. Or, if you need a spot for a picnic, check out the short hike to Crystal Cascade Falls.

Whether you are a beginner or an experienced outdoorsman, there's something for everyone in this guide. So grab your hiking boots and get ready to explore some of the most beautiful natural wonders in New England!

1. Arethusa Falls – Harts

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Arethusa Falls is a beautiful horsetail waterfall located in the Crawford Notch State Park. This stunning cascade is fed by Bemis Brook and is one of the tallest single cascades in New England, measuring 160 feet high.

The water flow is extremely powerful during the winter months, but the falls are just as lovely in the summertime. You'll see dozens of creeks and trickles running down the rocks in summer, creating a gorgeous scene.

The trail to reach Arethusa Falls is only 1.5 miles long, but it is rated as a moderate hike because it can be quite steep in places. However, when you reach the falls, you'll be rewarded with stunning views and the opportunity to take some incredible photos.

Please note that swimming is not allowed in Arethusa Falls. However, there are plenty of other great swimming holes nearby where you can cool off on a hot summer day.

2. Nancy Cascades – Livermore

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If you are looking for a tall waterfall to hike to in the White Mountain National Forest, look no further than Nancy Cascades. This waterfall is made up of upper and lower falls, with a total height of around 300 feet, making them some of the tallest in all of New England.

Although the hike to the lower falls is 2.4 miles and moderately challenging, it is well worth the effort as you'll be rewarded with a refreshing swim in a pool at the base of the falls.

The falls get their name from a serving woman named Nancy, who entered the area one cold winter searching for her lost fiancé. Unfortunately, she never found him, but the waterfall has remained a popular spot for hikers and nature lovers ever since.

If you are looking for a tall waterfall to add to your hiking list, be sure to check out Nancy Cascades in the White Mountain National Forest.

3. Sabbaday Falls

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Sabbaday Falls is one of the most beautiful and popular waterfalls in New Hampshire. The falls are located in White Mountain National Park, near the town of Waterville Valley.

The Sabbaday Falls trail is an easy, 0.6-mile out-and-back hike that leads to the falls. The trail is handicap accessible and has wooden steps that lead down to the bottom of the falls.

At the top of the falls, a scenic series of cascades form an incredible crystal-clear pool. Unfortunately, swimming is not allowed in the pool, but it is still a beautiful spot to take in the views.

If you are looking for a beautiful waterfall to visit in New Hampshire, be sure to check out Sabbaday Falls.

Related Read: Best Time to Visit New Hampshire

4. Glen Ellis Falls – Jackson

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Glen Ellis Falls is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Jackson, New Hampshire. The falls are located on the Ellis River and can be reached via a short and easy trail.

The 0.3-mile trail is well-maintained and only takes 10 minutes to walk. Dogs are welcome on the trail, as long as they are kept on a leash. There is a fee for parking at Glen Ellis Falls, but it is worth visiting and getting up early to beat the crowds!

Glen Ellis Falls is a great place to take a short hike, enjoy the scenery, and take some pictures. The falls are also a popular spot for picnics, so be sure to pack a lunch!

There are plenty of rocks to sit on and relax near the waterfall, making it the perfect spot to take a break from exploring Jackson.

Although the waterfall is magnificent and plunges into an emerald green pool, swimming is not allowed. Since swimming is not permitted at Glen Ellis Falls, visitors can cool off in the river below the falls instead.

The water is shallow, and there are plenty of rocks to sit on, so it is a great spot to relax and enjoy the scenery. Just be careful not to get too close to the edge of the waterfall!

5. Silver Cascade – Harts

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This magnificent waterfall is located in Harts Location, near the far east end of Crawford Notch State Park. It falls an estimated 1000 feet over a series of cascades, walls, and ledges, joining the Saco River near the highway.

You can view part of this waterfall from the roadside and parking area. For a closer look, you can clamber over the rocks to reach the lower parts of the cascade. Either way, it is an impressive sight!

When visiting Silver Cascade, there are a few things to keep in mind. First, be sure to wear appropriate shoes and clothing. The rocks around this waterfall can be particularly slippery, so it is crucial to have proper footing.

Second, be aware of your surroundings and be careful not to get too close to the edge of the cascades. Finally, enjoy the beauty of this natural wonder!

Related Read: 20 Cabin & Treehouse Rentals in New Hampshire

6. Crystal Cascade Falls – Pinkham Grant

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One of the most beautiful forest environments can be found at Crystal Cascade Falls in Pinkham Grant, New Hampshire. Sourced by the Ellis River, these falls flow down 100 feet in two segments, with a shallow pool in the middle.

The trail is only 0.3 miles each way, making it an excellent spot for a quick hike or picnic. The area is rather popular with hikers climbing Mount Washington. However, not many leave the trail to see the falls. This is great for you because you are more likely to have this incredible waterfall to yourself!

If you are looking for a breathtaking waterfall to add to your list of must-see New Hampshire attractions, look no further than Crystal Cascade Falls. Are you feeling even more adventurous? If you are an experienced hiker, you can continue on to summit Mt. Washington.

Mt. Washington is the tallest mountain in the northeast, and climbing to the summit is a challenge that should not be underestimated. The trail from Crystal Cascade Falls to the summit is 3.7 miles long and gains approximately 4,000 feet of altitude. The weather on Mt. Washington can be very unpredictable, with 100-mph winds and snow possible even in the summer months.

If you are up for the challenge, continuing on to Mt. Washington is a great way to make your hike even more memorable. Otherwise, enjoy the peace and beauty of Crystal Cascade Falls!

7. Ripley Falls – Hart

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If you are looking for a short yet challenging hike with a stunning payoff, look no further than Ripley Falls in Hartland, New Hampshire. This 0.6-mile trail may be full of rocks and roots, but it is well worth it for the 100-foot waterfall at the end.

One of the best perks of the trail is the continuous sound of the waterfall cascading down Kendron Flume throughout your hike.

The trail is full of rocks and roots, but the falls are a fantastic sight and worth the effort. For more adventurous hikers, there is also the option to abseil down the face of the falls with local tour guides.

8. Cloudland Falls – Lincoln

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The Cloudland Falls hike is a must-do when visiting Lincoln, New Hampshire. This 1.5-mile out-and-back hike takes you to a series of beautiful waterfalls, including the 80-foot Cloudland Falls.

The hike starts at the Falling Waters Trailhead and follows the Little Haystack Mountain Trail to the top of Little Haystack Mountain. Along the way, you'll pass three waterfalls, including Cloudland Falls, which is the last and biggest waterfall on the trail.

The Cloudland Falls hike is a moderate hike with some uphill sections. However, the views of the waterfalls are well worth the effort! So be sure to add this hike to your Lincoln, New Hampshire itinerary.

9. Diana's Baths – Conway

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Diana's Baths is a beautiful waterfall located at the southeastern edge of Bartlett, New Hampshire. With a total drop of 80 feet, it is one of the tallest waterfalls in the state. The highest single plunge is 12 feet.

The falls are adorned with smooth rocks that the falling water has sculpted over the years. In summer, the waterfall is a popular spot for kids and adults to enjoy the tranquility of this pristine natural spot.

The well-maintained trail to reach the falls is only .6 miles (one-way) and is accessible for most fitness abilities.

The falls are named for Diana, the Roman goddess of hunting, and they certainly offer a stunning natural backdrop for any outdoor activity. Hiking, picnicking, and swimming are all popular activities at Diana's Baths, and the well-maintained trail makes it easy for everyone to enjoy.

Whether you are looking for a challenging hike or a relaxing swim, Diana's Baths is the perfect spot to enjoy the beauty of nature.

Related Read: 15 Best New Hampshire Hiking Trails

10. Jackson Falls – Jackson

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Falls is a waterfall located in Shawnee National Forest. It is 100 feet tall and made up of upper and lower falls. The upper falls are visible from the roadside, while the lower falls are a short walk away.

The falls are a popular spot for picnics and swimming. They are also a popular destination for photographers and nature lovers.

If you are looking for a waterfall to explore in Shawnee National Forest, Jackson Falls is a great option. It is easily accessible and provides a beautiful setting for a day of hiking, picnicking, or swimming.

Camping is allowed at Jackson Falls for up to 14 days if you just can’t get enough of this place!

11. Avalanche Falls – Franconia

Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Avalanche Falls is a beautiful 0.7-mile hike that unveils a stunning waterfall. The first half of the trail to the falls can be strenuous, but it is well worth it for the incredible views.

The falls are 45 feet high and extremely popular with hikers, so if you are looking for a more peaceful experience, try trekking a little further to the top of the waterfall.

Along the way, you will also see a number of other waterfalls, covered bridges, and the famous "Pool" – a 40-foot-deep, 150-foot-wide basin in the middle of the Pemigewasset River.

Unfortunately, dogs are not allowed on this trail. So leave your furry friend at home!

Avalanche Falls sits atop the Flume Gorge. The natural gorge sits at the base of Mount Liberty and covers 800 feet. In addition to visiting Avalanche Falls, hikers can take the 2-mile Flume Rim Path and see sites such as the Flume Covered Bridge, Table Rock, Liberty Gorge, Sentinel Pine Bridge and Pool, and Glacier Boulders.

Related Read: 17 Best Romantic Getaways in New Hampshire

12. Georgiana Falls – Lincoln

Credit: Gary Brownell / Flickr

If you are looking for a hidden gem in the Second Presidential State Forest, look no further than Georgiana Falls. This scenic spot can be reached by an unmarked trail and offers breathtaking views of both the lower and upper falls.

The lower falls are a 30-foot drop across a 20-foot-wide ledge with a beautiful pool at the base. It is the perfect spot for a picnic lunch while enjoying the scenery.

The upper falls, also known as Harvard Falls, are a mighty 60-foot plunge. They're well worth the extra walk to see and make for a great photo opportunity.

So whether you are looking for a short hike with a big payoff or just want to explore a little-known spot in the forest, be sure to check out the 1.3-mile hike to Georgiana Falls.

13. Garfield Falls – Pittsburg

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If you are looking for a beautiful and remote waterfall to explore, look no further than Garfield Falls. This 40-foot fall is mostly on private property, but public access is granted, making it the perfect spot for a picnic or day of swimming.

Simply take a 10-minute (0.25 mile) walk from the nearest parking area to reach the falls. Once you arrive, you will be able to appreciate the 35-foot drop into the gorge below.

So, next time you are looking for a hidden gem in Pittsburg, be sure to check out Garfield Falls!

14. Profile Falls – Bristol

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Nestled in the Smith River, Profile Falls is a 40-foot wide waterfall that offers a total drop of 40 feet. Profile Falls is one of the most popular attractions in Bristol, New Hampshire.

The trail leading to the falls is only two miles long but can be narrow and rocky in places, making it semi-difficult to access. Despite this, the large pool beneath the falls makes it a popular spot for swimming, especially on weekends.

When you first catch a glimpse of the falls, its size is sure to astound you – it may not be tall, but the volume of water is enormous.

The large pool beneath the falls is perfect for swimming on hot summer days, and the trail leading up to the falls is a great place to go for a hike or a bike ride.

There are also picnic tables and charcoal grills available, making Profile Falls the perfect spot for a summer day trip with the family.

Whether you are looking to cool off with a swim, get some exercise on the hiking trails, or just relax with a picnic, Profile Falls is the place for you.

15. Beede Falls – Sandwich

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Beede Falls is a local hidden gem located down a little-traveled dirt road in Sandwich, New Hampshire, within the Profile Falls Recreation Area.

The falls are easily accessible from the parking area via the Bearcamp River Trail and offer visitors a unique and rewarding experience. It is an easy 10-minute hike (.09 miles out-and-back) from the parking lot, and swimming and fishing are both permitted.

The falls themselves are created by the Bearcamp River sliding down a long sloped rock, with a slight drop at the end. The water then spreads out in a sheet over the stone before rushing down to a large pool at the base.

The soil under the pool is mainly sand, which makes for a great spot to relax and enjoy the natural beauty of the falls.

There are also plenty of picnic tables and grills if you want to make a day of it. The Beede Falls are at their best for visiting from May through October.

Ready to Visit Waterfalls in New Hampshire?

If you are looking for a breathtaking waterfall to explore, New Hampshire has plenty to offer. From the easy-to-access Jackson Falls to the hidden gem of Georgiana Falls, there is something for everyone.

So get out there and enjoy the natural wonders of New Hampshire!

Article updated:
January 5, 2024

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