|Falls on the Falling Waters Trail
Lincoln & Franconia,
(click for larger image)
|| New Hampshire
||Lincoln & Franconia
||White Mountain National Forest
||Plunges and cascades
||20 feet, 60 feet and 80 feet
||To Swiftwater Falls is 0.9 mile; to Cloudland Falls is 1.4 miles (see notes)
||To Swiftwater Falls, easy side of moderate; to Cloudland Falls, moderate side of difficult
||75 minutes to Cloudland Falls
||To Swiftwater Falls, +450 feet; to Cloudland Falls, +1000 feet
|BEST TIME TO VISIT:
||May to October
||Not Possible and/or Prohibited
||Page 43, F-12 (unmarked)
|INCLUDED IN BOOK:
||Yes (Included in 2nd Edition of book as a full chapter)
|COST TO VISIT:
The Falling Waters Trail is a popular 3.25 mile trail to the summit of Little Haystack Mountain. Along the way are several waterfalls, each with their own personality. Stairs Falls, where Dry Brook plunges down small granite steps into a shallow pool, is the first waterfall seen on this trip. Of the three waterfalls on the Falling Waters Trail, this waterfall is the least crowded, mainly because hikers must venture off the main trail to get a good grasp this waterfall, whereas the others can be seen directly from the trail.
Just a few hundred feet above Stairs Falls is Swiftwater Falls; a 60-foot tall mix of cascades and small plunges. The trail crosses in front of this waterfall, so if the crowds are thick on the day of your visit, it can be tough to spend quality time here.
The last waterfall, and by far the main attraction of this trail, is 80-foot Cloudland Falls, a picturesque fan-type horsetail. Like the other two waterfalls, this waterfall can be seen from the trail, but the best views are afforded by sidestepping off the main trail and getting closer to the falls. The fanning structure of this waterfall is the most impressive aspect of the falls, with the width at the top of the falls at about 2 feet, while the width at the bottom is about 25 feet during periods of high water.
Trail information for this particular waterfall is not posted online. Please see trail information in our published guidebook, New England Waterfalls: A Guide to More Than 400 Cascades And Waterfalls.
Directions for this particular waterfall are not posted online. Please see directions in our published guidebook, New England Waterfalls: A Guide to More Than 400 Cascades And Waterfalls.
SPECIAL NOTES / UPDATES SINCE THE 2ND EDITION:
If you are in good shape, the weather forecast is promising, and you have a full-day available, follow the rest of crowd on the Falling Waters Trail to the Franconia Ridge Trail and ultimately to the 5260-foot summit of Mt. Lafayette, for a total round clockwise loop trip of 8.8 miles. It is possible to do this loop counter-clockwise, but we have always enjoyed this method better. Make sure to assess your stamina before considering this optional hike.
This loop has sections of steep and often slippery trail, often for long stretches at a time, and can be snowy and icy until late spring. The winds along the ridge can be deadly and the weather forecast needs to absolutely be in your favor for you to partake on this rigorous hiking loop. With a hefty elevation gain of nearly 4000 feet, it will take the average hiker about six to eight hours to complete this exhausting endeavor.
Before tackling any hike of this caliber, make sure that you are properly prepared and have done additional research as to what lies ahead of you.
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