Ripley Falls in Crawford Notch State park

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Picture this: a secluded oasis tucked away amidst lush greenery, where nature’s symphony plays harmoniously with every breath you take. Welcome to Ripley Falls, a secret haven lying off the beaten path in the White Mountains of New Hampshire.

A waterfall flowing down a rocky cliff.

While many tourists rush to visit popular waterfalls like Diana’s Baths or Arethusa Falls, those who seek solitude and serenity find solace at Ripley Falls. This cascading wonder stands tall at nearly 100 feet, casting a spellbinding aura on all who venture into its captivating realm.

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About Ripley Falls

Ripley Falls is a stunning 100-foot tall waterfall located in the heart of the White Mountains of New Hampshire. This waterfall has water from the Avalanche Brook flowing over a smooth rock wall that’s at a 60-degree angle. Due to the angle, the rushing water maintains contact with this rock face for most of the decent down the falls. Because of this, it is one of the steepest-angled slides in all of New England!

A man standing on a rock next to Ripley Falls, a cascading waterfall.

getting There

To get to this waterfall, head to Crawford Notch State Park. This state park is located on Route 302 between Bretton Woods and Bartlett, NH. This state park offers plenty of trails to explore the beauty that the White Mountains has to offer. There are a couple ways to get here.

The Direct Way

The easiest way to get here is to take Interstate 93 to Route 3 to Route 302. Alternately, you can take Interstate 91 to Interstate 93 to Route 302. If you’re coming from either of these ways, you’ll first go north of the falls and then go south on Route 302.

If you go this way, you’ll drive by some scenic views such as Omni Mount Washington Resort, The Willey House and Willey Pond, and the roadside waterfalls of Silver Cascade and Flume Cascade. Definitely be sure to check out these easy stops along the way!

A waterfall surrounded by rocky mountains and trees.
Silver Cascade is another waterfall that you can view on your way to Ripley Falls.

The Scenic Route

If you’re looking for a more scenic route to get there, you can get off of Interstate 93 in Lincoln, NH and take Route 112, better known as the Kancamagus Highway through the White Mountain National Forest. The scenic road is 35 miles and takes you from Lincoln to Conway, New Hampshire. There are plenty of scenic overlooks along the way and spots to walk around. One of my personal favorite spots along the highway is Sabbaday Falls.

Once you get to Conway, you’ll take Route 16 to Route 302 heading towards Bartlett. The parking lot where the Ripley Falls trailhead can be accessed is at the end of Wiley House Station Road. It’s in Harts Location. Be on the lookout for the Ripley Falls sign.

The parking area is not very large so if it’s full, you can park at the end of the road that intersects with Route 302 where you pulled in. This will make your hike a bit longer if you have to park by Route 302.

The Hike

This is a short hike being a one mile out and back. But, I’d definitely consider it a moderate hike. The hike has some inclines and some steep sections. Additionally, there are roots and rocks on the trail that can be a hazard. So I’d recommend wearing proper hiking boots. Additionally, be aware that some sections can be muddy and the rocky sections can be slippery.

In terms of what you can expect view-wise during the hike, it’s a beautiful wooded trail. You’ll also cross the train tracks that the Conway Scenic Railroad uses. There’s a fork in the trail and you’ll want to stay left to go to the waterfall. If you go right, you’ll be on the Ethan Pond Trail.

When you get to the waterfall, you’ll have to descend a steep rocky downhill to get a nice view from the base. If you’re feeling daring, you can stand in the brook on some rocks to get an even better view of the falls (which is what I did). Just be very careful as the rocks can be slippery. One slip and you’ll soak your feet.

A waterfall surrounded by rocks and trees.
Ripley Falls is a beautiful 100-foot waterfall in the White Mountains of New Hampshire.

If you’re looking for a longer hike, you can also hike to Arethusa Falls from here! If you were looking to do this, you’d need to cross the brook and go up the hill. You’ll see a sign that will point you to the Arethusa-Ripley Falls Trail. From there, it’ll be a 2.3 mile hike to Arethusa Falls.

A sign on a tree that says arthusa ripley trail.
The trails in this area are well marked with signs.

Make Sure You’re Prepared

  • Wear proper hiking shoes – the trail is rocky and steep with some muddy spots. I’d recommend a waterproof hiking shoe because you’ll probably want to cross the stream for different viewpoints. Also make sure you have shoes with good traction.
  • Download the map ahead of time – there’s absolutely no service in the area and while the trails are well marked, it doesn’t hurt to have a map as well just in case you want to explore some connecting trails!
  • Due to the fact that there’s no service, you might feel more comfortable having a satellite communicator just in case there is an emergency. It’s not a bad idea to have something to call for help.
  • Pack snacks and plenty of water just in case you do decide to explore some of the connecting trails in the area!

Reasons To Check Out This Waterfall

Ripley Falls is a great waterfall to hike to if you’re looking to do a short hike with some great rewards. This hidden gem offers not only a breathtaking hike through forests and rocky terrain, but also an unforgettable encounter with one of nature’s most awe-inspiring creations – a 100-foot-tall waterfall that will leave you speechless.

A waterfall in a wooded area.

FAQs

How long does it take to hike to Ripley Falls?

The 1 mile out and back hike takes about 40 minutes to complete, meaning getting to the falls takes about 20 minutes.

Where is the Ripley Falls Trail located?

The trail is located in Crawford Notch State Park. The trailhead can be accessed from the Willey Station Road Parking Lot. This lot is just off of Route 302, which takes you through the state park. You’ll see a sign for Ripley Falls at the end of the road you need to take to the lot.

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