Monday, October 19, 2020

Arethusa Falls - the highest waterfall in New Hampshire

"Arethusa Falls in the White Mountains is the highest waterfall in New Hampshire."

This remark was enough for me to want to hike to the Falls and to ask my son Tim and our friend Mark to join me.
There are a few options to hike to the Falls. The easiest is to hike from the Arethusa trailhead on Route 302, directly across the road from Dry River Campground, uphill over a steady plethora of rocks and roots for 1.5 miles, clearly marked with blue paint blazes.

The second option, which we took, is one-tenth of a mile from the trailhead, Arethusa Trail meets the junction of Bemis Brook Trail, where you bear left on a marked yellow paint blazed trail along the Bemis Brook, and you hike to the brook via short spurs to see Fawn Pool, Coliseum Falls, and Bemis Falls. Bemis Brook Trail is very scenic, but can be challenging with plenty of rocks and roots.

At six-tenths of a mile, the Bemis Brook Trail takes a right and goes sharply uphill where I had to use my hands and knees, with help from pull-me up-trees, to climb for less than a tenth of a mile to intersect back to join Arethusa Trail. Admittedly, I had heavy breathing as my body worked harder to get enough oxygen.

There on, Arethusa Trail is maintained with granite steps, two wooden footbridges over descending Bemis Brook, and walk-over wooden planks laid in muddy run-offs. At 1.3 miles, the steady uphill Arethusa Trail intersects the Arethusa-Ripley Falls Trail, but you continue left on Arethusa Falls Trail, climbing a steeper set of steps before descending to the Falls.

We relished the sights and sounds of the 200-foot waterfall. We returned 
directly to the trailhead on Arethusa Falls Trail. 
We could have taken Bemis Brook Trail on our way back down, but we wanted to take the most physically challenging Bemis Brook section at the beginning of the hike.

We savored the amazing New Hampshire foliage rainbow and sun soaked cornucopia of yellows, red, and orange-colored leaves.

The return hike was one hour.

On this mid-October weekday, we found the Trail somewhat busy, and I hear on weekends the Trail is enjoyed by families and leashed dogs.

Our overall time, with stops at the Bemis brook spurs, regular sips of water and energy bar stops, and time at the Falls was three hours.

Never say, "I wish I had hiked to Arethusa Falls.

The hike to Arethusa Falls was well-worth taking , and one can imagine that in the rainy season, the roar and spray of the waterfall would be even more awe-inspiring.

Click below and hike the Arethusa and Bemis Trails with Steve, Tim and Mark.


"Everyone must do something. I believe I will go outdoors with family and friends"

Steve’s books are available as hardcopy and e-Books at Kindle and hardcopy at Morgan Hill Bookstore, New London, NH, Colby-Sawyer College, New London, NH, and Dartmouth-Hitchcock Gift Shop, Lebanon, NH.

Outdoor Play has trip preparations, routes, and narratives of bucket list places to go. The book will motivate friends and family to make the outdoors a key component of their daily life. If you want 5 or more books signed, send Steve an email and we can work out the logistics.

Additional Sources of Books at:
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