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Senter Falls offers a photogenic collection of dozens of small cascades and horsetails through an extended gorge, along with three feature attractions: a 6-foot lower falls through a rugged gorge, an 8-foot middle horsetail, and a 4-foot upper cascade. The lower falls cascade through a tight and neat gorge, and there are some smaller cascades just below it that can help you to compose a nice photograph.
Photographers can have a blast shooting here as long as the water flow is substantial enough.
The more water the better, so try time your visit soon after recent heavy rains.
Senter Falls is part of the Alan & Edgar Rice Natural Area, a conservation property that is part of the Piscataquog Land Conservancy ('PLC'). The PLC does great work in helping to conserve properties throughout the Piscataquog, Souhegan and Nashua River watershed communities.
From the trailhead, enter the woods following a yellow-blazed trail. In 300 feet, cross a bridge over a brook (take note that this is not the brook that the falls are found on). After you cross the bridge, you have a choice to make. You can either take a 0.6 mile loop past all of the waterfalls found here, or you can hike 0.2 miles directly to the lowest of the falls and then hike 0.1 mile upstream to the middle and upper falls. On a visit in 2016, arrows were on place on trees to strongly encourage you to do the whole loop.
If you choose to do the whole 0.6 mile loop, which offers a pleasant but viewless and at times moderately steep hike over several small hills, follow the yellow-blazes as the trail heads uphill and to the left. You'll gain 200 feet of elevation on this trail, and about 0.3 mile from the parking area, you will reach the uppermost falls. From here, the falls are spread out over the next 0.1 mile as the trail descends along the edge of an extended gorge. About 200 feet below the lowermost falls, the trail will bear right and head back to the original bridge you crossed. Blazes are infrequent here, and since the woods are quite open, the trail may be hard to discern for a few moments. Once you reach the bridge, cross it and walk the short distance back uphill to the road.
If you would like to head directly to the falls, turn right after the bridge and carefully look for, and follow, blue-triangle markers to the falls. You'll reach the lowest falls on your right about 0.2 mile from the trailhead. Several more significant waterfalls are found above, so continue hiking upstream for 0.1 mile until you reach the obvious end of the gorge and the uppermost 4-foot tall falls.
Take note that the section of trail between the various falls can be narrow and slippery at times. There is potential for accidently slipping into the gorge, so watch your children and your own footing carefully here. There are some ropes in place that prevent you from getting too close to the edge in some of the more dangerous spots.
From the western junction of NH 13 and NH 101a in downtown Milford, take NH 13 north for 4.7 miles and turn left onto the Francestown Turnpike. Follow the Francestown Turnpike for 4.0 miles and turn left onto Lyndeborough Rd, which was missing a street sign on a visit in 2016. Take note that the Francestown Turnpike is called the "2nd NH Turnpike" on some maps. Follow Lyndeborough Rd for 0.4 miles and the conservation area sign will be on your right. Park off of the side of the road. You should also be aware that Lyndeborough Rd can be a bit rough in the spring and after heavy rains. Most vehicles should be able to make it to the parking area perfectly fine for the vast majority of days between May and October.
To get to Milton, take NH 101a west from Nashua.
UPDATES SINCE THE 2ND EDITION
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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
one of the lower falls at Senter Falls, New Hampshire
The middle falls of Senter Falls
the middle falls at Senter Falls, New Hampshire
one of the small upper cascades at Senter Falls, New Hampshire
one of the middle falls of Senter Falls
the uppermost falls of Senter Falls
INTERESTED IN VISITING MORE WATERFALLS IN NEW ENGLAND?
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.
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
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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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