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There’s something majestic and magical about waterfalls in NH. How else can you explain the shrouded mystery of a waterfall’s mist? Or the vibrant colors that arise from the surrounding grounds? Or the cool waters gathered in the crystal clear pools below?
Nature creates breathtaking scenes you can visit with short hikes and day trips to these amazing places. Today we’ll tell you all about the best waterfalls in New Hampshire.
How Many Waterfalls Are in New Hampshire?
New Hampshire has more than 100 waterfalls. That’s right! Whether you want a secluded, relaxing spot or an adventurous hike, you may find the perfect waterfall.
They have massive drops and river-carved chasms. They form raging rivers or babbling brooks. Go off-road or off the beaten path to find these waterfalls in NH.
When Is the Best Time to Visit New Hampshire?
New Hampshire is a beautiful state to visit any time of year, but each season has its unique charms.
Spring is the perfect time to see the stunning waterfalls, as the melting snow brings higher water levels and fuller falls. However, the warmer months are ideal for hiking and camping, but the fall foliage is simply breathtaking.
With sparkling snow and frozen waterfalls, winter brings its own kind of magic. No matter what time of year you visit, NH waterfalls impress.
Gorgeous Waterfalls in N.H. You Need to See
You’ll come across various waterfalls from every corner of the state.
You’ll find some after long strenuous hikes and others just outside a visitor’s center. Some have towering plunges of water, while others offer gentle horsetail cascades down rock slides.
Whatever waterfalls you choose to visit, you may feel like you’ve just witnessed something magical. And we’ve got 10 listed here to help start your adventures.
Location: Flume Gorge Visitor Center, 852 Daniel Webster Hwy, Lincoln, NH
The falls formed during a rainstorm in 1883, which washed away a massive boulder giving way to a stream of water.
Can You Swim?: Swimming at Avalanche Falls might be tempting simply because it’s a waterfall. However, you can’t swim here because of the strong currents and powerful falls.
Location: 3725 West Side Rd, Bartlett, NH
About: Diana’s Baths are a group of small waterfalls located in the White Mountains of NH, and you can easily access them with only a half-mile walk.
The waterfalls have many small, shallow pools at the base, and you can find historical remains of a water wheel.
Can You Swim?: Because of the many small waterfalls, you’ll also come across many small, shallow water holes.
And while these aren’t big enough for an actual swim, a quick dip in these natural pools can make a pleasant way to spend a summer’s day.
Location: Franconia Notch State Park lies along Interstate 93 in the northwest corner of the state.
About: The combination of plunges, gentle slides, and cascades makes for stunning natural beauty at Franconia Falls.
The main falls drop about 30 feet and originate from Franconia Brook. You can access the falls on a fairly easy 3-mile hike, with only about 300 feet of elevation gain.
Can You Swim?: And once you have arrived and have taken in the views, you may want to take a quick dip.
When it has low water levels, you can enjoy a few natural waterslides; use caution. However, these natural slides can become quite dangerous when it has a heavy water flow.
If you want a good swim, the best spot is about 400 feet from the main falls. You’ll find a large, deep watering hole from a three-foot cascading waterfall.
Pro Tip: New Hampshire is huge on camping opportunities! Check out Where to Find the Best New Hampshire Camping
Glen Ellis Falls
Location: White Mountain National Forest, Appalachian National Scenic Trail in Jackson, NH
About: As Ellis River flows across the forest floor, it reaches a plunge of 64 feet, creating one of the most gorgeous waterfalls in N.H. You’ll need to conquer a few steps to see the glory of this waterfall.
And remember, once you walk down the stairs, you have to hike back up them. But the deep green color of the pool and the misty spray of the drop make it worth every step.
Can You Swim?: Due to its rocky base and powerful plunge, you can’t swim at this waterfall in NH.
Traveler’s Tip: Get the inside scoop on Everything You Need to Know About Glen Ellis Falls.
Location: Saco Ranger, 33 Kancamagus Highway, Conway, NH
About: Sabbaday Falls formed over 10,000 years ago from a melting glacier carrying a torrent of sediments along the way.
Within the gorge, you’ll find two plunging waterfalls and a punchbowl fall at the top. You’ll come across several smaller waterfalls viewable from the many walking bridges along a short hike.
Can You Swim?: The punchbowl looks like a great place to swim; however, mere feet from the pool, the water drops 22 feet. Swimming is not allowed here nor at the base of the waterfalls.
Location: Just off of Hanson Farm Rd in Lincoln, Central NH
About: At Georgiana Falls, keep going past the main waterfall, so you don’t miss the serenity of the second one, a mere half-mile upstream.
The lower waterfall cascades 30 feet over a wide rocky ledge ending in a dark pool. Harvard Falls, the upper waterfall, plunges 60 feet within a fork from Harvard Brook.
Can You Swim?: Swimming is not recommended here, but you’ll find plenty of flat rocks for sunbathing and enjoying a picnic.
Keep in Mind: Mossbrae Falls is illegal to hike to, but that doesn’t stop people from doing it anyway! But is it worth the risk? Let’s dive in!
Location: 1 Carter Notch Rd., Jackson, NH
About: If you want the quiet beauty of small waterfalls cascading down several ridges of smooth, wide rocks, this one in NH is made for you.
While it does not offer the dramatic views of a cascading fall, it still has views of the surrounding forest as the water rolls off the rocks.
Regardless of the season here, Jackson Falls is a popular spot less than a mile from the small town of Jackson.
Can You Swim?: This is a popular spot to spend an entire summer’s day playing and swimming amongst the pools and waterfalls.
However, be cautious of slippery rocks and increased water flow in the spring. Other than that, bring a towel with you on this short hike.
Location: Crawford Notch State Park off Route 302, Harts Location, NH
About: Arethusa Falls has a height of 125 to over 200 feet tall, depending on who has measured it and when. Regardless of the height argument, we can all agree that it is majestic in both its beauty and size.
Bemis Brook cascades off the rocks above, making a fantastic view. Many people enjoy it in the summer and the winter for ice-climbing.
Once here, you can’t ignore the surrounding falls. Just head off on the spur trail, and you’ll come across several falls, one resulting in a pool, seemingly made just for swimming.
Can You Swim?: You can’t swim at Arethusa Falls. However, Fawn Pool is a great place to go for a dip, so don’t forget your bathing suit on this waterfall excursion in NH.
Location: Route 302, Hart’s Location, NH
About: Surrounded by vibrant greenery and culminating into a mysterious dark pool, this NH waterfall may be one of New England’s most sought-after waterfalls. This series of falls total 300 feet, making them some of the tallest waterfalls in the northeast.
The trail to the lower falls is just over 2 miles of continuous elevation gain, making you think about stopping before you hit the upper falls, but don’t.
The Nancy Pond Trail continues to climb, giving you more astounding views. And continue to Nancy pond if you don’t mind a bit of bushwacking and 600 feet of climbing a mile further, just past the upper falls.
Can You Swim?: It is possible to swim in the Lower Falls. As with any body of water, use caution. Especially here, since the water is so dark. You can’t see what may be lurking at the bottom.
Crystal Cascade Falls
Location: Pinkham Notch Visitor Center, 361 NH-16, Gorham, NH
About: Crystal Cascade Falls splits into two waterfalls with a 100-foot total drop. One is a horsetail waterfall around 70 feet, and the other lower portion has a 30-foot drop.
Due to nearby Mount Washington, many often overlook these waterfalls in NH. Combine that with easy trail access from the Pinkham Notch Visitor Center for a great waterfall to explore without the crowds.
Can You Swim?: Swimming is prohibited here.
Discover the Beauty of New Hampshire’s Stunning Waterfalls
Now that you’ve learned about some of New Hampshire’s magical waterfalls, we hope we have inspired you to start planning your trip here.
But be prepared. The waterfalls may be what got you here, but the magic of the entire state might just keep you here longer than you had planned.
Which of these amazing waterfalls in NH will you visit next?