Waterfalls, North Conway & the Mount Washington Valley...
Just seeing falling water is never enough… admit it folks, you want to play in it! The Mt. Washington Valley (MWV) is located in the White Mountains, a unique and very special place. We are we lucky enough to have been carved out by glaciers long ago. The movement of that giant ice along our land scraped away lots of areas where water flows and now because of the glaciers, drops off the earth as waterfalls.
Yankee Magazine refers to MWV as “the ultimate rock concert” and understandably so! Living here we love to hate our granite when it percolates out of the ground and into our lawns and pastures but when it comes to waterfalls, they wouldn’t exist without it. So, pack a lunch, grab a map, don’t forget the water and head out for a day of adventure and fun!
My husband Russ and I are locals and explorers at heart. We don’t care if we’re on foot, bike or horseback. We have walked and ridden all over the Mt. Washington Valley and we’d like to tell you about our favorite places with falling water.
All the waterfalls in MWV are self guided, there are no tours so don’t forget a map! Parking for most waterfalls is not free! Keep a lookout for the pay boxes or be prepared for a National or State Forest parking ticket.
Our Personal Fav – Thompson Falls
Thompson Brook meanders along and provides a stunning display of falling water. The showstopper is the view of Mt. Washington from the highest ledge. The view is beautiful and provides a great photo op.
Enjoy a stroll from there along the brook ending with a spectacular crashing of water off the lowest, clam shaped outcropping of rock.
Park in Wildcat Ski Area’s parking lot and take the “Way of Wildcat Nature Trail. At the far end of the looped trail you’ll find a 0.7 mile path that leads to the falls.
Our Hidden Gem – Crystal Cascade
Tuckerman's Ravine is a favorite of most hikers but lots of them never go off course to enjoy these beautiful falls!
The water falls a total of about 100 feet, the first drop is a beautiful, 60 foot wall of water ending up in a shallow pool. The water travels to the second drop which is about 20 feet and ends up in the river. From there, the river takes a 90 degree turn and keeps going.
Consider putting this awesome display on your to-do list if you’re planning on hiking Tuckerman’s. You won’t regret the short walk off trail.
Start at the AMC Pinkham Notch Camp and take the path to the left of the trading post. It’s called the Tuckerman Ravine Trail. The falls are a short 0.3 mile walk.
Walk to – Flume Cascae & Silver Cascade
Please don’t just sit in your car to view these beautiful falls! Walk over and explore all that is wonderful about this display.
These falls plummet left, right and mostly down Mount Jackson and are well worth an afternoon picnic. They go from wildly cascading water in the spring to a ribbon of water in the heat of the summer. The water meanders under route 302 where it joins the Saco River and heads south.
The proximity of these falls and the great parking off 302 make this one of the most visited falls in New England and if you google it, you’ll find pictures a plenty online. If you ever vacationed in MWV as a child I bet there will be a photo of you in your family albums at these falls!
Flume Cascade which neighbors Silver Cascade is made up of smaller falls and also joins the Saco River under the highway.
Spring is a wonderful time to visit these two because the ice stays longer and provides some spectacular displays that stop once summer is in full swing. You are sure to run into a photographer or two in early spring.
You can get to the falls on 302 just south of Crawford Notch.
Sit or Soak – Jackson Falls
A short ride to Jackson will treat you with is great display of granite, pools and cascading water.
Again, don’t just sit in the car – get out and walk around, relax on a rock, eat your lunch or cool off in one of the pools of crystal clear water!
During spring the rushing water will provide you will great photos of nature or family. The water is too cool to soak in spring so our favorite time to visit is mid-summer.
There are a few picnic table for the less adventurous.
Arrive at the falls 3/10 of a mile up Carter Notch Road. There is parking for several cars roadside.
Beautiful But Crowded - Diana’s Baths
In the off-season Diana’s Baths are among the most beautiful and romantic places in MWV. During the heat of the summer the crowds drive most locals back home. Don’t expect to snap any photos without 20 others in the water with your loved ones.
There are three distinct drops in the falls. They form some deepish and beautiful pools to soak or play in. Keep your eye out for the remains of hydro facilities that used water to power the mill to grind grain!
There is a water supply above the falls where swimming is prohibited. There are signs posted on the trees as a warning.
It’s an easy half mile hike through the woods to get to the falls. The trail was upgraded about 10 years ago and is handicap friendly. There are composting toilets at the entrance.
The parking lot is on West Side Road about a ½ mile beyond the West Side Road/River Road split.