New England Waterfalls

Long-Distance Waterfall Hikes


Screw Auger Falls, Gulf Hagas, Maine Race Brook Falls, Massachusetts Dry River Falls, Massachusetts

Here are some of the best long-distance hikes in New England that lead to or past waterfalls. Most of these waterfalls are highly worthwhile destinations in their own right, but many will find them more enjoyable as part of a longer hike. The ratings reflected below represent the overall experience of the entire hike instead of the scenic value of the falls alone.

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MAINE
WATERFALL / DESTINATION NAME
OVERALL
HIKE RATING
TOTAL
DISTANCE
NOTES & HIGHLIGHTS
Grand Falls, Green Falls & Russell Pond 20 miles
round-trip
both of these falls are located deep within Baxter State Park; I recommend that you use the Russell Pond backpacking site as a base camp to visit both of these waterfalls; most hikers will start their hike at the Roaring Brook trailhead in the southern end of the state park, but this requires a water crossing that can occasionally be challenging; advance reservations are required and they can be very difficult to obtain as competition is heavy (it helps if you are a state of Maine resident)
Gulf Hagas 8.6 mile
loop
visiting all the falls within Gulf Hagas makes for an excellent long day hike; many waterfalls and swimming holes are seen along the way; a per-person access fee is charged as this is located on private logging roads; make sure to bring a map (maps are usually available for a few bucks where you pay the access fee); you should also consider taking a detour to also hike to Hay Brook Falls while in the area
Katahdin Stream Falls & Katahdin 11.0 miles
round-trip
it's 5.5 miles one-way on the final pitch of the Appalachian Trail (referred to as the "Hunt Trail" in this section) to the awesome summit of Katahdin in Baxter State Park; along the journey to the summit, you'll pass Katahdin Stream Falls about 1.6 miles from the trailhead; Katahdin is extremely difficult and should not be attempted in poor weather; a day-use parking permit is required (non-residents of Maine can reserve online on the Baxter State Park Authority website up to two weeks in advance)
Kees Falls & Caribou Mountain 7.0 mile
loop
this hike visits pretty 25-foot Kees Falls and then climbs to excellent views from ledges on Caribou Mountain; ascend via the Caribou Trail and descend via the Mud Brook Trail; access is via Evans Notch in the eastern White Mountains; this loop hike is one of the great lesser-known loop hikes of the White Mountains

MASSACHUSETTS
WATERFALL / DESTINATION NAME
OVERALL
HIKE RATING
TOTAL
DISTANCE
NOTES & HIGHLIGHTS
Doane's Falls, Spirit Falls, and Royalston Falls 22.0 mile
loop
the 22-mile Tully Trail visits three waterfalls; this is a wild trail that can sometimes be hard to follow in spots; the trail can also be partially flooded in spring and/or after heavy rains; each of these three waterfalls can be visited on their own as short day hikes, but this loop is still a fun option, especially if you enjoy backpacking (there's a free hut you can stay in near Royalston Falls)
Race Brook Falls & Mt. Race and/or Mt. Everett 7.0 miles
round-trip
this hike includes up to five waterfalls and great views from ledges on Mt. Race and Mt. Everett; backcountry camping is available at the nearby Race Brook and Laurel Ridge tentsites

NEW HAMPSHIRE
WATERFALL / DESTINATION NAME
OVERALL
HIKE RATING
TOTAL
DISTANCE
NOTES & HIGHLIGHTS
Ammonoosuc Ravine & Mt. Monroe and/or Mt. Washington 10.2 mile
loop
this loop is widely considered to be the easiest way to climb Mt. Washington, although it is still considered very difficult; along this trip, you'll see Gem Pool, the falls of Ammonoosuc Ravine (assuming you don't miss the short spur trail to see them), and also the AMC Lakes of the Clouds Hut; typically snow free from June through late September, although Mt. Washington can see snow any day of the year (snow in July/August is very rare)
Appalachia Waterfalls & Mt. Madison and/or Mt. Adams 9-14 miles, depending upon route there are more than a dozen different ways to climb Mt. Madison and/or Mt. Adams, and there are many different waterfalls depending upon which routes you select; I recommend taking the Brookside Trail on your return trip down Mt. Madison to visit several nice falls; there are also some nice falls off the Amphibrach Trail on the approach to or from Mt. Adams; consult a map to see all your options on climbing these two remarkable above-treeline mountains
Beaver Brook Cascades & Mt. Moosilauke 7.6 miles
round-trip
there are several tiers of towering waterfalls on the western side of Mt. Moosilauke; all of these falls are visited on the Appalachian Trail; the trail is steep is not recommended when wet; altogether, the falls drop more than 1,000 feet; a backpacking opportunity exists at Beaver Brook Shelter a short distance above the falls
Champney Falls & Mt. Chocorua 7.6 miles
round-trip
the easiest route up scenic Mt. Chocorua (Champney Falls Trail) includes a short spur loop trail that can take you past seasonal Champney Falls; if you hike in May, odds are the falls will be flowing well; bonus: try to find Pitcher Falls, which dumps into a pretty flume beside Champney Falls
Crystal Cascade & Mt. Washington 8.4 mile
loop
hikers that are ascending Mt. Washington via the famous Tuckerman Ravine Trail will pass this towering falls; to make a loop, descend the Lions Head Trail; hiking Mt. Washington requires good weather and proper gear (do not attempt before July unless you have extensive snow & ice experience); overnight accomodations are available at the backcountry Hermit Lake shelters, but competition is very high
Diana's Baths & North Moat Mountain 10.2 mile
semi-loop
this challenging day hike features one of the finest views in the White Mountains and the popular falls and shallow pools of Diana's Baths; take note that parking is extremely limited and you will likely need to arrive before 7:00 or 8:00am to secure a parking spot; return via Red Ridge
Dry River Falls 10.8 miles
round-trip
located within the Dry River Wilderness; several backcountry campsites are available if you want to camp; some of these campsites are very close to the falls
Emerald Pool & the Baldfaces 9.8 mile
loop
this is one of the finest loop hikes in all of New England; ascend South Baldface, cross the ridge to North Baldface, and then visit Emerald Pool on your way out; blueberries galore in early August; access via marked trailhead in Evans Notch
Falls on The Falling Waters Trail & Mt. Lincoln & Mt. Lafayette 8.9 mile
loop
this loop hike (commonly referred to as a the "Franconia Loop") visits three waterfalls and the spectacular summits of Mt. Lafayette and Mt. Lincoln; this loop is typically snow-free from early June through late September; as much of the hike is above-treeline, you must be prepared for the possibility of poor weather; lodging is available at the AMC Greenleaf Hut, which sits a mile or so below the summit of Mt. Lafayette (advance reservations required)
Great Falls & Flat Mountain Pond 9.5 mile
semi-loop
hike past two sets of small but attractive falls and pools en route to the beautiful backcountry Flat Mountain Pond; overnight shelter and tentsites available near the shores of the pond; hike up via the Bennett Street Trail and return via Flat Mountain Pond Trail
Nancy Cascades & Nancy Pond and/or Norcross Pond 8.6 miles
round-trip
this recently improved trail visits beautiful cascades and two remote ponds; an optional bushwhack can be taken up to the summit of Mt. Nancy; there are some backpacking sites near the ponds
Rattle River Falls & Mt. Moriah 11.6 miles
round-trip
hiking the Rattle River Trail (Appalachian Trail) is a an unorthodox but fun way to climb Mt. Moriah, one of NH's 4000-footers; if you have a second car, or you are willing to hitchhike, you can do a traverse of the mountain instead of hiking up and back down the same trail; there is an overnight shelter very close to the falls and pools
Thirteen Falls & Franconia Falls 16.8 miles
round-trip
this trip, which can be done as a long day hike but is best as an overnight backpacking, visits multiple scenic waterfalls; a wonderful tentsite can be found at the AMC-managed 13 Falls Campsite (fee charged); Thirteen Falls, with its five major sets of waterfalls, is one of the most remote destinations in New England; this trip makes for an excellent introduction to backpacking
Weetamoo Falls 11.5 miles
round-trip
Weetamoo Falls is deep in the Great Gulf on Mt. Washington; Sphinx Cascades are also nearby; very wild & remote adventure
Zealand Falls & Zealand Pond & Zeacliff 7.8 miles
round-trip
this hike visits several pretty ponds, a seasonal falls, and excellent views from Zeacliff; you can also hike to nearby Zealand Mountain, one of the 48 4,000-footers of New Hampshire
Zealand Falls & Thoreau Falls 10.0 miles
round-trip
this family-friendly day-hike visits both of these waterfalls; lodgingis available at the nearby AMC Zealand Falls Hut (advance reservations required); Zealand Falls is best seen in high water (May is usually best); scenic views can be seen from near the hut and also at Thoreau Falls

VERMONT
WATERFALL / DESTINATION NAME
OVERALL
HIKE RATING
TOTAL
DISTANCE
NOTES & HIGHLIGHTS
Hell Brook Cascades & Mt. Mansfield 4.1 mile
loop
while the Hell Brook Cascades aren't far from the road, the most fun can be had by using the Hell Brook Trail to also climb Mt. Mansfield; this is one of Vermont's most difficult trails, and you'll be doing a lot of hand-over-hand scrambling; after reaching the peak, you'll want to descend via the Long Trail (a short road walk will then be required at the end of the hike)
Lye Brook Falls 4.6 miles
round-trip
a 2.3 mile one-way hike in brings you to these towering falls, which are best seen in spring or after heavy rains; you cross an interesting avalanche path (from 2011) en route to the falls; the falls can also be seen on larger trips into the Lye Brook Wilderness (you could ultimately connect with Stratton Pond and/or Stratton Mountain as well)

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