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Randolph, New Hampshire

RATING: 2.5 / 5.0 stars (Good) Hitchcock Falls, Howker Ridge Trail, New Hampshire
(see below for larger image and additional photographs)
STATE: New Hampshire
TOWN: Randolph
PARK: White Mountain National Forest
TYPE: Horsetails, cascades, fans, and small plunges
HEIGHT: Stairs Fall is 10 feet; Coosauk Fall is 15 feet; Hitchcock Fall is 30 feet
WATER SOURCE: Bumpus Brook
TRAIL LENGTH: To Stairs Fall, 0.6 mile one-way; to Coosauk Fall, 0.7 mile one-way; to Hitchcock Fall, 1.0 mile one-way
HIKING TIME: 45 minutes one-way to visit all three falls
ALTITUDE GAIN: Up 500 feet to visit all three falls
WHEN TO VISIT: May to early-July
SWIMMING: Not Possible and/or Prohibited
DELORME ATLAS: 2005: Page 48, I-7 (the falls are marked as 'Coosauk Falls' and 'Hitchcock Falls' on the NH atlas)
2015: Page 52, A-1 (the falls are not marked on the NH/VT atlas)
COST TO VISIT: Free (as of 2016)
LENS TO BRING: Standard (35-70mm)
Coosauk Fall: XX.XXXXX, -XX.XXXXX
Hitchcock Fall: XX.XXXXX, -XX.XXXXX
COMPASS: Stairs Fall: XX° excluding declination (the falls face XXX)
Coosauk Fall: XX° excluding declination (the falls face XXX)
Hitchcock Fall: XX° excluding declination (the falls face XXX)
INCLUDED IN BOOK?: Yes, the falls are included as a full chapter within the guidebook
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The brooks and streams draining water from the northern end of the Presidential Range Mountains are rich in cascades and falls. There are the Triple Falls on Town Line Brook, the waterfalls of Appalachia, as well as many unnamed cascades and falls. Three more waterfalls exist just east of Triple Falls (also off Dolly Copp Rd) along the Howker Ridge Trail. This includes Stairs Fall, Coosauk Fall and Hitchcock Fall, all of which are accessible via a mile long trail located in the small town of Randolph.

The steps of Stairs Fall are blatantly obvious, and increase the expansion of the fan as the water travels down it. Heavily shaded and located on the other side of the brook from the trail, Stairs Fall is unfortunately too hidden for a photograph or even a closer inspection.

Coosauk Fall is a 15-foot tall set of cascades and slides that dump into the Devil's Kitchen Gorge. There are old, bumpy paths leading into the gorge for closer views if you just so happen to see water flowing.

Hitchcock Fall is the concluding feature of the trip. Here waters pigtail past boulders in the streambed into clear, green-tinted pools. Located in a secluded ravine that probably sees only a handful of visitors each week, Hitchcock Fall is a place best suited for intimate exploration. Many angular boulders are scattered in and around the brook, creating many opportunities to survey the area. Out of the three falls on the trip, Hitchcock is my favorite stop, more for the thrill of being alone in a rocky playground than for the actual impressiveness of the waterfall.


From the parking area, follow the combined Howker Ridge Trail and Randolph Path through a field and into the forest. About 0.1 mile from the parking lot, take a left and continue on the Howker Ridge Trail. About a 0.1 mile further, cross an old logging road and continue straight. After a total of about 20 minutes, you will reach Stairs Fall, visible across the brook from the trail and currently marked by a small carved white wooden sign. Continue climbing upstream along the trail for another 0.1 mile and you will reach Coosauk Fall. A small, not immediately obvious, white sign will let you know that you have reached this waterfall.

Up to this point, the trail has been an easy-to-follow moderate uphill climb of 0.7 mile. For the rest of the way to Hitchcock Fall, however, things are not so simple. The trail is hardly ever used, very narrow in some stretches, steep, and often has muddy sections.

If you are seeking a waterfall offering the potential for hours of seclusion, Hitchcock Fall is one of your best bets. If you make the decision to continue to this final waterfall, fork left just past Coosauk Fall and continue climbing along the Howker Ridge Trail. About 0.1 mile beyond Coosauk Fall, fork left again as the Kelton Trail forks right. The falls are a few minutes ahead and are clearly identifiable from the trail.

Upstream of Hitchcock Fall is the lost waterfall of Muscanigra Fall. Years ago, a spur trail led to the base of this elusive falls. These days, there is no trail and the bushwhack is said to be very difficult.

It is also possible to connect Hitchcock Fall with the Appalachia Waterfalls. You will need a good trail map of the area to connect these two series of waterfalls.


From the junction of NH 16 and US-302 in the section of Bartlett known as Glen, take NH 16 north. Continue traveling on NH 16 north for 3.4 miles past the entrance to the Mt. Washington Rd and take a left onto Dolly Copp Rd. Follow Dolly Copp Rd for 0.5 mile, passing the entrance to the campground on the left, and you will reach a fork in the road. Take the left fork onto Pinkham B Rd. Follow Pinkham B Rd for 3.8 miles to a U.S. Forest Service parking area on the left. On Dolly Copp Rd, there is a large parking area for the Presidential Range Rail Trail before the trailhead parking area, so be sure to look for the U.S. Forest Service “Hiker” logo sign. The trailhead parking area is 0.1 mile south of US-2 on Dolly Copp Rd.

To get to Glen, take NH 16 north from Conway or US-302 east from the section of Carroll known as Twin Mountain.



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 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


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Hitchcock Falls, Howker Ridge Trail, New Hampshire
Hitchcock Fall, Howker Ridge Trail, New Hampshire

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The 3rd edition of the New England Waterfalls guidebook contains 552-pages of detailed information on hundreds of waterfalls throughout all corners of New England. This 3rd edition has been completely updated and it is the first to be printed in FULL COLOR! Click on the image below to explore some sample pages of the guidebook on

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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


In addition to the New England Waterfalls guidebook, there are several other guidebooks that can help you find waterfalls and swimming holes in this region:
  • Connecticut Waterfalls (1st Edition: 2014) = link
  • Hiking Waterfalls in New England: A Guide to the Region's Best Waterfall Hikes (2nd Edition: 2022) = link
  • Hiking Waterfalls Maine: A Guide to the State's Best Waterfall Hikes (1st Edition: 2020) = link
  • Vermont Waterfalls (1st Edition: 2015) = link
  • Waterfalls of the White Mountains: 30 Hikes to 100 Waterfalls (3rd Edition: 2019) = link


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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Feel free to ask a question, leave a comment, and/or provide an update relevant to this waterfall below.
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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 wary of slippery rocks. Never swim in pools above waterfalls. Use of this website and all of its information is at your own risk! will not be held liable for your actions. Be safe out there - and always use common sense!

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