FALLS ON THE SMARTS BROOK TRAIL


Center Sandwich, New Hampshire



RATING: 2.5 / 5.0 stars (Good) Falls on the Smarts Brook Trail, New Hampshire (see below for larger image and additional photographs)
STATE: New Hampshire
COUNTY: Carroll County
TOWN: Center Sandwich
PARK: White Mountain National Forest
PRIVATE PROPERTY: No
TYPE: Slide and horsetail
HEIGHT: 8 feet
WATER SOURCE: Smarts Brook
WATERSHED SIZE: Medium
TRAIL LENGTH: 1.1 miles one-way
TRAIL DIFFICULTY: Easy side of moderate
HIKING TIME: 40 minutes one-way
ALTITUDE GAIN: +200 feet, -15 feet
WHEN TO VISIT: May to October
SWIMMING: Excellent
DELORME ATLAS: Page 39, C-14 (the falls are not marked on the NH atlas/map)
HANDICAP ACCESS: No
DOGS ALLOWED: Yes
COST TO VISIT: Free (as of 2016)
LENS TO BRING: Wide-angle (14-35mm) and/or standard (35-70mm)
ALTERNATE NAMES: Smarts Brook Falls
GPS-TRAILHEAD: To be determined
GPS-WATERFALL: To be determined
COMPASS: XXX degrees (when N on the compass is pointed towards the falls)
INCLUDED IN BOOK?: Yes, the falls are included within the appendix of the guidebook
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THE FALLS

Looking for a gentle, family-friendly hike to a beautiful swimming hole near Waterville Valley? Well, here you go! After years of hearing about this popular swimming hole, I finally took a visit in the Fall of 2016. After a near-rainless summer, the 8-foot falls weren't flowing particularly well. But that's not the real reason I came here-the large, beautiful and deep pool was. There's room for a few dozen people in the pool, but watch out for the crazies using the rope swings that are usually found on site. It's tough to gauge water depth, but 7 or 8 feet would be my estimate.

There are a few dangers to be aware of here. You should avoid trying to ride down the waterfall. This isn't a natural waterslide you can run - there are many jagged rocks at the base of the falls. The smooth rock above the the falls is remarkably slippery, so use caution if you are hiking in or near the stream directly above the falls.

The whole area here is stunningly pretty, and I can't wait to come back on a warm summer day. I can already tell that this is easily one of the premier swimming holes in the western White Mountains.

TRAIL INFORMATION

From the parking area, take the trail that parallels the road. This is the Smarts Brook Trail. Do not take the Pine Flats Trail that immediately enters the woods from the parking feet. After about 100 feet on the Smarts Brook Trail, enter the woods on your left. Hike steeply for 785 feet and then turn left onto an old road. Continue hiking up this old road for about 0.15 mile and turn right to continue on the yellow-blazed Smarts Brook Trail (another blue-blazed trail continues straight here). From here, hike another 0.1 mile and take a left to continue on the Smarts Brook Trail as the Tri-Town Trail continues straight. In another 0.1 mile, a trail will enter on the left. Continue straight. About 0.8 mile from the trailhead, the brook will become visible on your left. Continue 0.3 mile further from this first view of the brook and you will see the large pool and the falls that feed it. It is a slight scramble down to the pool.

There is another shallow pool about 0.1 mile above the main falls for those seeking a bit more solitude. This pool is 2 or 3 feet deep and can fit 3 or 4 folks.

DIRECTIONS

From I-93 in Campton, take exit 28. Turn onto 49 east, heading towards Waterville Valley. Soon you will reach the junction of NH 49 and NH 175. Take a left to continue onto NH 49 east. From this junction, drive 4.0 miles on NH 49 east and the paved trailhead for Smarts Brook will be on your right. To get to Campton, take I-93 north from Plymouth or I-93 south from Lincoln.

UPDATES SINCE THE 2ND EDITION

NONE NOTED.

If you know of any updates to this waterfall, or notice any errors either on this website and/or within the New England Waterfalls guidebook, please send me an email at gparsons66@hotmail.com or leave a Facebook comment at the bottom of this page. Updates to all of the waterfalls in the latest edition of the guidebook can always be found here: book updates

OPTIONAL HIKES

None noted.

PHOTOGRAPHS

Falls on the Smarts Brook Trail, New Hampshire
Falls on the Smarts Brook Trail, New Hampshire

Falls on the Smarts Brook Trail, New Hampshire
Falls on the Smarts Brook Trail, New Hampshire

Falls on the Smarts Brook Trail, New Hampshire
the great swimming pool at Falls on the Smarts Brook Trail, New Hampshire

Falls on the Smarts Brook Trail, New Hampshire
Falls on the Smarts Brook Trail, New Hampshire

Falls on the Smarts Brook Trail, New Hampshire
Falls on the Smarts Brook Trail, New Hampshire

Falls on the Smarts Brook Trail, New Hampshire
Falls on the Smarts Brook Trail, New Hampshire

Falls on the Smarts Brook Trail, New Hampshire
Falls on the Smarts Brook Trail, New Hampshire

Falls on the Smarts Brook Trail, New Hampshire
two rope swings seen on a visit in 2016 at Falls on the Smarts Brook Trail, New Hampshire

INTERESTED IN VISITING MORE WATERFALLS IN NEW ENGLAND?

Our 376-page New England Waterfalls: 2nd Edition guidebook contains detailed information on over 400 waterfalls throughout New England. Click on the image below to read reviews and/or purchase the guidebook on Amazon.com.



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TIPS FOR VISITING WATERFALLS & SWIMMING HOLES

Here are some tips to help ensure that your trip to New England's waterfalls and swimming holes will be a safe and enjoyable one:
  • DON'T FORGET THE ESSENTIALS - When you visit waterfalls, you should consider bringing all of the following: (a) bug spray; (b) food/snacks; (c) water/sports drinks; (d) camera/smart-phone; (e) guidebook/trail map; (f) daypack/backpack; and (g) hiking shoes, hiking boots or watershoes. A full day hiking packing list can be found here.
  • CONSIDER BUYING WATER SHOES - You won't see too many people using them, but watershoes are fantastic pieces of equipment that can make your trip to waterfalls and swimming holes safer and more enjoyable. Merrill and Keen make some fantastic watershoes (here are some great ones from Merrill: womens / mens).
  • LEAVE NO TRACE - When you visit waterfalls and swimming holes, you'll often see some trash and sometimes you'll even find clothing left behind by others. It's really, really sad, and it irks the heck out of us. Won't you consider carrying out some of trash and clothing left by others when you leave? That would leave the spot more beautiful for the next person. Bring a trash bag and be a hero!
  • PRIVATE PROPERTY - Many waterfalls and swimming holes are located on private property and so we are truly fortunate that many landowners allow us to enjoy them. If you want to ensure that they stay open to the public, please do your best to leave no trace. If you see a sign that says 'Private Property', turn around and find another waterfall to visit or a different place to swim.
  • BRING A DSLR CAMERA AND TRIPOD WITH YOU - If you want to take high-quality photographs of waterfalls, your smart-phone just won't cut it. Get a DSLR camera, a tripod, and learn to master the art of waterfall photography.
  • SCOUT FIRST, SWIM SECOND - Never enter a swimming hole without first scouting it, even if you see somebody else swimming in it. Stop and access the risks based upon the depth of water, the power of the current, evidence of slippery rocks, and other safety factors.
  • CLIFF JUMPING - Cliff jumping is dangerous. Like, seriously dangerous. Understand the risks before you partake in this activity. Many have died from doing this in New England. Here is a list of all known deaths at waterfalls and swimming holes in New England.
  • PLEASE DON'T BUILD ROCK CAIRNS - Please do not build new rock cairns at waterfalls or swimming holes. Cairns are a strong reminder of human presence, and don't we all want to see waterfalls in their natural state and glory? Photographers get particularly annoyed at seeing cairns, so please resist the urge to build them.
  • DON'T RELY ON YOUR GPS TO GET YOU TO THE TRAILHEAD - Waterfalls don't have addresses, so relying on your GPS to get you to a trailhead is great way to get yourself lost. You need a guidebook, a road atlas, and/or a hiking map to visit the vast majority of waterfalls in New England. Also keep in mind that waterfalls are often located in wild areas, where smart-phone map apps and car GPS units may not work at all.
  • WATERFALLS IN SPRING - The best time to visit waterfalls is generally in the spring during the annual snowmelt (which is April to June). However, most waterfalls will often look great for several days after a significant rain storm.
  • HELP KEEP THE ULTRA-SECRET SWIMMING HOLES A SECRET (FOREVER) - If you find some ultra-secret swimming holes, please do your best to keep them a secret. Do not post their locations online or wildly share directions or photos with others. All of the swimming holes that are included in the guidebook and online through this website are the well-known swimming spots. There are many more holes that are much further off the beaten path, but they deserve a chance to stay wild and pristine.
  • DON'T SCRAMBLE UP WATERFALLS - So many people been seriously injured and killed in the waterfalls of New England. Many of these folks got too close to a waterfall and slipped and fell. Don't become a statistic: stay far back from the edge.
  • WEAR TRACTION IF YOU VISIT WATERFALLS IN WINTER - Visiting waterfalls in winter can be rewarding, but there is often a higher element of danger. You may need crampons, snowshoes, and/or some other form of traction (like Microspikes) in order to safely hike to waterfalls in winter.
  • SUPPORT NON-PROFIT ORGANIZATIONS THAT CONSERVE WATERFALLS & SWIMMING HOLES - There are some organizations in New England that work diligently to conserve and maintain waterfalls and swimming holes. Please consider supporting these organizations, either with their trail maintenance projects or with monetary donations. Here are three excellent organizations engaged in this extremely important mission: the Trustees of Reservations, the Vermont River Conservancy and the Nature Conservancy.

HELPFUL LINKS

Here are some helpful links to help you explore and enjoy more waterfalls and hikes throughout New England:
  • Waterfalls of Connecticut = link
  • Waterfalls of Maine = link
  • Waterfalls of Massachusetts = link
  • Waterfalls of New Hampshire = link
  • Waterfalls of Rhode Island = link
  • Waterfalls of Vermont = link
  • Best Waterfalls in New England = link
  • Best Swimming Holes in New England = link
  • Top 25 Day Hikes in New England = link
  • Top 25 Family-Friendly Day Hikes in New England = link
  • Waterfalls Near Boston, Massachusetts = link
  • Waterfalls Near Lincoln, New Hampshire = link
  • Waterfalls Near North Conway, New Hampshire = link
  • Waterfalls Near Stowe, Vermont = link
  • Waterfall Photography Tips = link

OTHER WATERFALL GUIDEBOOKS

In addition to the New England Waterfalls guidebook, there are several other guidebooks that can help you find waterfalls and swimming holes:
  • Vermont Waterfalls (1st Edition: 2015) = link
  • Hiking Waterfalls in New England: A Guide to the Region's Best Waterfall Hikes (1st Edition: 2015) = link
  • Waterfalls of the White Mountains: 30 Hikes to 100 Waterfalls (2nd Edition: 1999) = link
  • Connecticut Waterfalls (1st Edition: 2014) = link
  • Rodrick's Guide to Vermont Waterfalls, Cascades & Gorges (1st Edition: 2014) = link
       

WATERFALLS ON FACEBOOK

Join the growing communities of waterfall aficionados on Facebook! You can share your photographs, follow the adventures of other waterfall hunters, and find new places to explore:

  • Request to join the "New England Waterfalls" community > link
  • Request to join the "New Hampshire Waterfalls" community > link
  • Request to join the "Northeastern Waterfalls" community > link
  • Request to join the "Vermont Waterfalls" community > link
  • Request to join the "Waterfalls of the United States" community > link

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ASK A QUESTION / LEAVE A COMMENT / PROVIDE AN UPDATE:

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Waterfalls, swimming holes, and hiking can be extremely dangerous. Hundreds of people have been injured or killed in the waterfalls and swimming holes of New England over the years. Never swim in strong water currents. Don't jump into a swimming hole without scouting it first. Do not climb up or along the side of waterfalls. Be weary of slippery rocks. Never swim in pools above waterfalls. Use of this website and all of its information is at your own risk! Newenglandwaterfalls.com and the authors of the New England Waterfalls guidebook will not be held liable for your actions. Be safe out there - and always use common sense!